My hubby is a packaging design/engineer-type, and so some of the packaging vernacular has rubbed off on me over the years. We don’t say “cardboard” at our house; it’s corrugated. And our kids were raised knowing that the word “styrofoam” was not nearly as cool as polystyrene. But you know what’s even cooler? Designer barcodes!
Companies like Vanity Barcodes are joining in the revelry, making these scannable designs quite the buzz. Not so much at the point of purchase, because most of us don’t notice barcodes at the store. But at home around the breakfast table or as we’re tearing open a bag of marshmallows for the s’mores, we’re discovering the whimsical fun that packaging people are having with their brands and their barcodes.
Package designers are always looking at new ways to attract attention to their clients’ products. One new way is to take a fresh look at something that usually interferes with good Package design – the UPC barcode. While barcode manipulation is not strictly new, it has normally been the realm of smaller companies and overseas designers.
Part of the hesitation until now has been the fear that if a tweaked barcode is unable to be scanned retailers might have their businesses impacted by time consuming manual entry or manufacturers might need to issue costly product recalls followed by an even costlier product reprint. Indeed there are some strict rules that ensure a barcode is fully functional: The barcode needs to be at least a half inch high, blank space is needed on either side and certain colors like red, orange and yellow can’t be used. But outside of that, everything is pretty much fair game.
So now that vanity barcodes have had their bugs shaken out, they are now drawing attention from larger more recognizable brands like Kellogg and Nestle. While some of these are for looks only, many of them are already in use. [WSJ via NotCot]
Some Examples of Vanity Barcodes
- Not only does Verdi top their olives barcode with an olive tree, they also have a scannable mobile phone code for their website
- This cityscape barcode from Dane Reade isn’t usable – but it isn’t meant to be. It’s simply a unique design element.