Archive for Design

Labeling Packaging and Containers

According to the FDA, there are two ways to label packages and containers for food and drug items.

The first way is to place all required label statements on the front label panel. The front label panel is also called the Principal Display Panel or PDP. The second way is to place certain specified label statements on the PDP and other labeling on the Information Panel. The information panel must be immediately to the right of the PDP so the consumer can see the information panel facing the product.

Place the statement of identity, or name of the food, and the net quantity statement, or amount of product, on the PDP and on the alternate PDP.

The information panel label must contain certain label statements including the name and address of the manufacturer, packer or distributor, the ingredient list, nutrition labeling and any required allergy labeling.

When designing the information panel labeling, use a print or type size that is prominent, conspicuous and easy to read. Use letters that are at least one-sixteenth (1/16) inch in height based on the lower case letter “o”. The letters must not be more than three times as high as they are wide, and the lettering must contrast sufficiently with the background so as to be easy to read. Do not crowd required labeling with artwork or non-required labeling.

Intervening materials are items that are not required by the FDA and these items are not permitted to be placed between the required labeling on the information panel. A UPC Barcode is not considered a part of the FDA required labeling. A UPC Barcode is not regulated by any government agency and is merely a convenience or requirement of retail stores to help convey pricing and manage inventory.

For more information about UPC barcodes and to buy a barcode, contact Nationwide Barcode.

For more information about labeling requirements, go to the FDA website.

If you need labels, contact Pacific Barcode. Pacific Barcode is a preferred vendor of Nationwide Barcode.

Combining EAN and UPC Barcodes for packaging design

This article is part II about UPC and EAN barcodes being the same.  We’ll recap quickly and then move on…

UPC barcodes are 12 digit barcodes and are used exclusively in the United States and Canada. You can convert a UPC barcode to an EAN, but you cannot go the other way. This is because the Country Code for both the U.S. and Canada is zero.  EANs are 13 digit codes and unlike UPCs contain a country code.

The entire article is here:

When you purchase barcodes from Nationwide Barcode, you receive a few things including a spreadsheet of numbers and barcode graphics.UPC-A and EAN-13 graphic overlay

The spreadsheet will have a list of both the UPC number and the EAN equivalent (or variant).

Since the mathematical computation for determining the check digit is exactly the same for both the UPC and the EAN, the additional number for the EAN is a zero which doesn’t doesn’t affect the barcode’s check digit, you can see in the illustration above that the only difference is the extra number below the EAN barcode graphic.

The leading zeros are nulls, meaning that they don’t get recognized, 01234 turns into 1234, 001234 turns into 1234, etc.

Here is our solution for the addition of a barcode if you are planning on selling in different parts of the world.

UPC and EAN barcodes for packaging

Simply use the UPC barcode graphic and below typeset your EAN number.

Since the graphic for both EAN and UPC are the same and the only difference is the addition of a leading 13th digit (zero), this will solve the issue of having to repackage or relabel for countries that exclusively use EAN barcodes.

Leading Digits – UPC-A Barcodes

The first digit of a UPC-A Barcode is number system character. The following table shows you what different number system characters mean

0:      Standard UPC number
1:      Reserved
2:      Random weight items (fruits, meat, vegetables, etc.
3:      Pharmaceuticals
4:      In store marketing for retailers (a store can set up unique barcodes for themselves, but no other store will be able to read them)
5:      Coupons
6, 7,8   Standard UPC number
9:      Reserved

1D Barcode Formats

There are many different types of One Dimensional Barcodes. This tutorial will show you many of the 1D Barcode Formats and will help you understand the differences. A 1D barcode or One Dimensional Barcode is called this because of how the barcode is read. A 1D barcode is read from side to side.

If have barcode numbers and you need help generating them, please go to this page – barcode graphics –  or contact us by phone or email.



Codabar Bar code
Originally developed by Pitney Bowes, the Codabar Barcode is used primarily by US Blood Banks, Photo Labs and Overnight Delivery Services. Codabar  can encode the numbers 0 through 9, the start/stop characters A, B, C, D, E, *, N or T. and the six symbols (-:.$/+).

 CODE 11 Barcode
Code 11 Barcode

Code 11 is a barcode symbology developed by Intermec in 1977. It is used primarily in telecommunications. The symbol can encode any length string consisting of the digits 0-9 and the dash character (-). One or more modulo-11 check digit(s) can be included.

CODE 128 Barcode
Code 128 Barcode

Code 128 is a very high-density barcode symbology. (A special version of it called GS1-128 is used extensively world wide in shipping and packaging industries.) It is used for alphanumeric or numeric-only barcodes. It can encode all 128 characters of ASCII and, by use of an extension character (FNC4), the Latin-1 characters defined in ISO/IEC 8859-1.

CODE 2 OF 5 – Interleaved
ITF or Interleaved two of five Barcode.
Interleaved 2 of 5 is a continuous two-width barcode symbology encoding digits. It is used commercially on 135 film and on cartons of some products, while the products inside are labeled with UPC or EAN.

CODE 39 Barcode

Code 39 Barcode
Code 39 (also known as Alpha39, Code 3 of 9, Code 3/9, Type 39, USS Code 39, or USD-3) is a variable length, discrete barcode symbology.

The Code 39 specification defines 43 characters, consisting of uppercase letters (A through Z), numeric digits (0 through 9) and a number of special characters (-, ., $, /, +, %, and space). An additional character (denoted ‘*’) is used for both start and stop delimiters.

One advantage of Code 39 is that since there is no need to generate a check digit, it can easily be integrated into existing printing system by adding a barcode font to the system or printer and then printing the raw data in that font.

Code 93 Barcode

Code 93 Barcode

Code 93 is a barcode symbology designed in 1982 by Intermec to provide a higher density and data security enhancement to Code 39. It is an alphanumeric, variable length symbology. Code 93 is used primarily by Canada Post to encode supplementary delivery information. Every symbol includes two check characters.

Code 93 is designed to encode 26 upper case letters, 10 digits and 7 special characters:

A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z

0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

-, ., $, /, +, %, SPACE.

Each Code 93 character is divided into nine modules and always has three bars and three spaces, thus the name. Each bar and space is from 1 to 4 modules wide.

In addition to 43 characters, Code 93 defines 5 special characters (including a start/stop character), which can be combined with other characters to unambiguously represent all 128 ASCII characters.

EAN 13 Barcode

EAN 13 Barcode

An EAN-13 barcode (originally European Article Number, but now renamed International Article Number) is a 13 digit (12 data and 1 check-digit) barcoding standard which is a superset of the original 12-digit Universal Product Code (UPC) system developed in the United States.[1] The EAN-13 barcode is defined by the standards organization GS1.

If you need an EAN 13 barcode, you can purchase these from our site:

EAN+ 2 Digit Barcode

EAN Barcode with 2 digit extension
This is a variant of the EAN barcode. This can be used for magazines where the last two numbers represent the volume or month of issue.

EAN 13 + 5 Digit Barcode

This is a variant of the EAN barcode. Often used for Greeting Cards and other items when the manufacturer or distributor is responsible for inventory tracking

EAN 8 Barcode

From wikipedia: An EAN-8 is a barcode and is derived from the longer European Article Number (EAN-13) code. It was introduced for use on small packages where an EAN-13 barcode would be too large; for example on cigarettes, pencils (though it is rarely used for pencils), and chewing gum packets.

EAN-8 barcodes may be used to encode GTIN-8s which are another set of product identifiers from the GS1 System. It begins with a 2- or 3-digit GS1 prefix (which is assigned to each national GS1 authority) 5- or 4-digit item reference element depending on the length of the GS1 prefix), and a checksum digit.


ISBN Barcode using EAN symbology

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a unique numeric commercial book identifier based upon the 9-digit Standard Book Numbering (SBN) code created by Gordon Foster, Emeritus Professor of Statistics at Trinity College, Dublin,for the booksellers and stationers W.H. Smith and others in 1966. (Wikipedia).

An ISBN barcode uses an EAN symbology.

 ISBN with 5 digit Add On.

Most ISBN graphics also include a 5 digit add on. The first barcode is the ISBN barcode (using an EAN symbology) and the second barcode to the right indicates the price of the book. The first number, 5, represents a dollar sign ($). The next four numbers are the price of the book.  In this exanple 51295 means that the book sells for $12.95. Since there are only 4 numbers after the 5, books that sell for more than $99.99 will be represented by 5999.

ISMN Barcode

The International Standard Music Number (ISMN) is a unique number for the identification of all notated music publications from all over the world, whether available for sale, hire or gratis–whether a part, a score, or an element in a multi-media kit.
The ISMN is designed to rationalize the processing and handling of notated music and the respective bibliographical data for publishing houses, the music trade and libraries.
As of 1 January 2008 the ISMN consists of 13 digits starting with 979-0
Existing 10-digit ISMNs are prefixed by 979-
The leading M- of the 10-digit ISMNs will be replaced by 0- (zero)
The resulting 13-digit number will be identical with the EAN-13 number that is currently encoded in the bar code
ISO Standard 10957 gives the basic rules of the ISMN system.
The thirteen-digit number allows a billion items each to carry a different number.

For Information about ISMN numbers go to:

ISSN Barcode

Used mainly throughout Europe, The ISSN (International Standard Serial Number)  identifies periodical publications as such, including electronic serials.

The ISSN is a numeric code which is used as an identifier: it has no signification in itself and does not contain in itself any information referring to the origin or contents of the publication.

The ISSN takes the form of the acronym ISSN followed by two groups of four digits, separated by a hyphen. The eighth character is a control digit calculated according to a modulo 11 algorithm on the basis of the 7 preceding digits; this eighth control character may be an “X” if the result of the computing is equal to “10”, in order to avoid any ambiguity.
The first 3 digits

 ITF 14 (GTIN 14)

The ITF14 is a 14 digit barcode used to mark the master shipping containers of products with a UPC identifier. It is based on the I2of5 barcode. ITF14 barcodes usually contain a top and bottom bar (sometimes rectangle) called the Bearers bar. These bars make sure that the barcode is read completely. The first number is typically an arbitrary number between 0 and 7, the next number is a zero, the following 11 numbers are the first 11 numbers on a UPC barcode and the last number is a check digit.


LOGMARS (Logistics Applications of Automated Marking and Reading Symbols) is a special application of Code 39 used by the U.S. Department of Defense and is governed by Military Standard MIL-STD-1189B.

MSI Barcodes

MSI (also known as Modified Plessey) is a barcode symbology developed by the MSI Data Corporation, based on the original Plessey Code symbology. It is a continuous symbology that is not self-checking. MSI is used primarily for inventory control, marking storage containers and shelves in warehouse environments.

Pharmacode Barcode

Pharmacode, also known as Pharmaceutical Binary Code, is a barcode standard, used in the pharmaceutical industry as a packing control system. It is designed to be readable despite printing errors. It can be printed in multiple colors as a check to ensure that the remainder of the packaging (which the pharmaceutical company must print to protect itself from legal liability) is correctly printed.

SSCC18 Barcode also known as UCC 128

This Symbology is also known as UPC-128 Shipping Container Code, Code 128 UPC Shipping Container Code, Serial Shipping Container Code, UCC-128, EAN-18, NVE (Nummer der Versandeinheit)

This is a special version of UCC/EAN-128, with Application Identifier (AI) = 00. It is used to identify shipping containers by a serial number.

SSCC18 Barcodes can be configured 3 different ways, no bearer bars, bearer bars top and bottom or bearer bars on all 4 sides.

UPC A (UPC 12)

UPC-A Barcodes are used for marking products sold in stores throughout the USA and Canada. The barcode is comprised of three groupongs of numbers, the manufacturer ID (the company who owns the barcode prefix) which is 6, 7, 8 or 9 digits in length, the balance of numbers totalling 11 digits and the final 12th number (Check Digit or Checksum).

UPC A with 2 Digit Extension

Often used for Magazines – the second barcode indicates month or edition.

UPC-A Barcode with 5 Digit Extension

Often used for Greeting Cards where the publisher takes responsibility for inventory management and stocking of product.


Barcode Fonts

The following is a list of companies where you can purchase or download barcode fonts.
  • Aeromium Barcode Fonts – Develops and publishes barcode fonts package that creates Code39, Code128, UPCEAN and I2of5 barcodes.
  • Azalea Software Inc. – Publishes bar code software that creates Code 39, PDF 417, Code 128, UPC, EAN, Interleaved 2 of 5, and other barcode symbols. Bar code fonts work under Microsoft Windows, Macintosh, UNIX, and other platforms.
  • BarFonts – Collection of PostScript Type 1 fonts for printing bar codes, available under the GNU General Public License. The fonts consist of bars only, there is no human readable text along with the bars.
  • Barcode Writer – Open source PostScript barcode writer.
  • BarcodeSoft Fonts – Publishes barcode fonts and MICR fonts for cheque printing.
  • – Bar code fonts including Code 39, Code 128, EAN and UPC. High density barcode fonts such as PDF417 and DataMatrix are also available. Free downloads.
  • Carolina Barcode – Code 2 of 5 Primer and Extended Code 3 of 9 fonts for Macintosh or TrueType format. Demo available.
  • ConnectCode Barcode Fonts – Develops and markets barcode fonts that supports the I2of5, UPCEAN, Code128, Code39 and UCCEAN barcodes.
  • Elfring Soft Fonts, Inc. – Developer of a wide range of barcode TrueType and LaserJet fonts for use under DOS, Windows and Unix. Trial packages available for download.
  • Free Code 39 font – Free Code 39 true type bar code font. This font supports the 43 characters of the Code 39 symbology.
  • FreeFloat Barcode Package – Barcode package includes the following symbologies Code 39, Code 128 (UCC/EAN-128), Standard 2 of 5, Interleaved 2 of 5, and Codabar.
  • I Shot the Serif – Free 3 of 9 – Completely free Code 39 font includes all ASCII characters.
  • IDAutomation TrueType Fonts – An easy to use package of TrueType Barcode, MICR and OCR fonts.
  • Kanecal – Offers symbols used in drafting/blueprint callouts. Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GD&T) symbols (with Feature Control Frames) plus Statistical Process Control (SPC) symbols. Barcodes for government shipments and Quality symbol fonts.
  • PrecisionID Inc. – A global supplier of barcode software and fonts including Code 128, Code 39, Interleaved 2 of 5, EAN, UPC, ASP, PDF417, Data Matrix and more

Are UPC Barcodes the “Mark of the Beast”?



The short answer is “no”

The longer answer follows:

Revelation 13: (17) so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name. (18) This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.

Barcodes are all database driven. The barcode only represents a series of numbers containing a prefix, item numbers and a check digit.

The numbers corresponding to the barcode are scanned or entered into a database exactly as indicated below the barcode (the human readable numbers). Along with the barcode number, the information relating to the product including ‘regular’ and ‘sale’ price is also entered. When an item is scanned, the information is pulled from the database and the customer is charged the proper amount of money, at the same time, inventory is adjusted downward.

There are the three sets of guard bars, two bars on the far left, the far right and in the middle. Since these guard bars appear three times in a barcode, and look similar to the number 6, some people have claimed that the pattern 6-6-6 was embedded in every barcode.

According to Mr. Laurer, the inventor of the UPC/EAN barcode, “There is nothing sinister about this nor does it have anything to do with the Bible’s mark of the beast. Each character is a fixed length, 7 modules and composed of two spaces and two bars. From the outer ends toward the center, the character starts with a space and therefore a single bar is required to ‘close’ the character. The other bar is used to allow the level setting (gain) circuitry to adjust to the contrast of the particular symbol. The center pattern is narrow space, narrow bar, narrow space, narrow bar. This pattern is 4 modules wide and distinguishes it from the a 7 module character thus giving direction and end information to the logic. The assignment of digits to specific patterns was arbitrary.’

Barcodes are one of the things that helped bridge the gap between physical products and automated inventory tracking.

Sources:  and common sense.