First, if you wonder what GS1 barcodes can do for you, watch this youtube video:

But if you know the importance of barcodes and you want to know how you can easily barcode your products, read this 10 step guide on the GS1 website.

10 steps to barcode your product

In this process, you should consider many standards and guidelines for assigning numbers, selecting print method, selecting the primary scan environment, choosing the right barcode symbol, picking a barcode size and scale, choosing barcode colors correctly, selecting the barcode direction (Ladder or Fence), considering quiet zones and etc.

Another important thing that you better know about barcodes on your product packaging is that you should put only 1 linear barcode on the packaging of your retail items and that is the EAN-13 barcode which carries your product GTIN.

Why some companies use 2 linear barcodes on their products?

There might be many reasons for that but in the case which I am going to mention, the problem occurs when in some countries, there are national coding systems for product identification or classification along with GS1 standards and ID keys.

For example, in Iran, we use GTIN for identifying retail items in point of sale while we have our national products and services identification and classification code which is called IRANCODE and it is used by some governmental organizations for their procurement reasons.

And since we have not taught those companies well, they do not know that there’s no need to encode the 16 digits national code in a GS1-128 barcode and print it on their product. My former colleagues in GS1 Iran should tell those companies to remove that second barcode and only print the numeral code (human readable interpretation) if they need to.

Misuse of a GS1-128 symbol (on the left) because that 16 digits code won’t be scanned anywhere.
Misuse of a GS1-128 symbol (on the top) because that 16 digits code won’t be scanned anywhere.

Do Not put more than 1 linear barcode on your retail item packaging.

If you need to have another symbol on your product packaging for traceability reasons or other reasons, use a 2D QR-Code.

Why do I suggest that?

One of the main reasons for inventing barcodes was to make point of sale procedures faster and imagine what happens if the cashier is confused which of the two or more barcodes he or she should scan! This might waste some seconds for each product in a line that tens of people are waiting with baskets containing tens of items and believe me when I say that no one likes such a thing.

So, Instead of using a GS1-128 barcode which contains any kind of supplementary data beside an EAN-13 barcode which contains your product GTIN, use a 2D Qr-code for your secondary level data. Moreover, you can store more amount of static data in a Qr-Code symbol in comparison with a GS1-128 symbol.

A 2D symbol can store almost 100 times more amount of data in comparison with a linear symbol. Picture Source: waspbarcode

Bellow, you can see some good examples of putting 2 different types of barcodes together (1D and 2D mixup):

What do you think about this? Have you ever seen such misuse of barcodes in your country?

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