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How to Print Barcodes 101

printing barcodes

If you are like most savy business people, you are continually on the lookout for new and better technologies to make your operation more efficient and profitable.

Among these technologies are barcodes, which can be a great business resource. In order to maximize the benefits of barcodes, however, it is important that you understand the proper ways to implement them in your enterprise.

This article will serve as an introduction to creating and printing barcodes. Let’s dive in!

How do Barcodes Work?

Before you can create the graphic part of your barcodes, you must first understand the codes behind them, or literally the coding behind the codes. Also called SKUs , product codes, or item numbers, these are what your final barcodes will stand for. They could also be thought of as the naming convention behind your barcodes. This is the information that barcodes can help you to keep track of.

Creating Your Barcode

Creating your barcode is a simple, but important process. Here are 5 key steps to building the perfect barcodes for your specific applications.

1. Choose the Suitable Type of Barcode

First, what kind of barcode do you want on your product? There are different types of barcodes, each able to accept different types of characters. these different types of barcodes can alter or validate your naming convention. You should decide what kind of barcode is best suited to your use.

2. Decide What Information to Include

Next, you should determine what information is most important to tell your products apart. This might include such factors as the shape, size, color, material, type/category/department, warranty, vendor/manufacturer, quantity, etc. It is important to remember at this point that there is very little that can’t be coded in a barcode, but you must make sure that the information that you want to include is what will best identify the product.

It is also important that you consider the future of your product line at this point. Don’t settle on a barcode that you will quickly outgrow. For example, if you decide that you have a given number of colors of your product, your barcode will quickly become obsolete when you expand to include more colors.

3. Create a Formula

Now, create a formula that is easy to understand by anyone in your organization. It should follow a standard format, such as size, shape, and color. this way it is easy to read the meaning of the code and tell your products apart. Further, to keep the same format, you will be allowing your offerings to grow without interfering with the convention.

It is important to remember to use letters and numbers that are easy to read and are not easy to misread. Consider the use of capital Is and L, for example. When they are used close together, they can be easily confused. Another example is the use of Zs and 7s. Also, it is helpful to abbreviate whenever possible.

Regardless of the convention that you use, make sure you keep a record of it so you won’t forget it.

4. Generate Your Barcode

It is now time to generate your actual barcode. That is easily done in one of two ways, whether by using an individual barcode generator or with a mass barcode generator. If you only want to generate one barcode, an individual barcode generator can be found in many places on the internet.

If, on the other hand, you want to mass produce barcodes, it is usually easier to use a commercial company that has experience in these types of print jobs. This experience will minimize the chances that you will create errors that will confuse the entire effort.

5. Other Considerations – Logistics

Once you have your barcode graphic, there are several steps involved in the next operation. First, depending on the size of your operation and the extent of your product line. It is at this stage that you should decide whether printing the barcode on your packaging or on your individual products would be most appropriate for your use. 

You may also want to consider whether to use screen printing or digital printing to create your barcodes.

It is important to remember that your barcodes will be read by both people and scanners. This can be confusing when barcodes were designed for use by machines, but cannot be read by humans. Now it is time for you to approach your printer about finishing the job.

Contact a Professional Printer for Long-lasting Barcodes

If you need barcode printing done right, you can contact our certified printing experts at Hallmark Nameplate. We have been printing barcodes, graphic overlays, and more for 35+ years for a variety of industries.

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