9 steps to barcode your product

9 steps to barcode your product

1. Order a GS1 Company Prefix from our web shop

In order for your company to be able to code products, cases and pallets with barcodes, you need to order a GS1 Company Prefix. With the Company Prefix you will be able to create GTIN- or SSCC-numbers, that can be made to barcodes.


2. Assign numbers

After receiving a GS1 Company Prefix, your company is ready to begin assigning identification numbers to your trade items. In GS1 Rekisteri you can create and keep track of the identification numbers used, see the number of codes available to the company, and check which product each product number (GTIN code) or party identifier (GLN number) belongs to.

3. Select a barcode printing process

If you need a large number of labels with the same barcode, or if you want the barcode printed directly on the package, we recommend contacting a printing house or an advertising agency.

4. Select a "primary" scanning environment

The specifications for barcode type, size, placement, and quality all depend on where the barcode will be scanned. Scanning point can be

  • retail point-of-sale
  • warehouses and distribution
  • hospitals and pharmacies

5. Select an identification type

  • If you need to barcode a trade item that will be scanned at the retail point-of-sale EAN-13 or EAN-8 barcode is recommended. EAN-8 barcode is meant for very small products, that do not fit the EAN-13 barcode.
  • If you are printing a barcode with variable information like serial numbers, expiry dates, or measures, then you will use GS1-128, GS1 DataBar, GS1 Datamatrix or EPC-identifiers.
  • If the scanning is done outdoors, or in a dirty environment, the GS1 Datamatrix or EPC-identifiers are suitable since they are very sturdy.
  • If you need to barcode an outer case to be scanned in a logistics environment, and you want to print directly on corrugated carton, ITF-14 may be the choice for you. ITF-14 can not be read at the cash desk, so it is not suitable for consumer packages.

6. Pick a barcode size

After the correct barcode symbol is specified together with the information to encode in it, the design stage begins. The size of the symbol within the design will depend on the symbol specified, where the symbol will be used, and how the symbol will be printed.

EAN-13 -barcode minimum size is 29,83 mm x 18,28 mm and maximum size is 74,58 mm x 45,7 mm

EAN-8 -barcode minimum size is  on 21,38 mm x 14,58 mm and maximum size is 53,46 mm x 36,46 mm.

7. Format the barcode text

The text beneath a barcode, called Human Readable Interpretation (HRI), is important because if the barcode is damaged or of poor quality to begin with, then the text is used as a back-up.

  • The human-readable text must be clearly readable and proportional to the symbol size
  • With EAN-13 the text is placed below the barcode. With ITF-14 and GS1-128 the text can be placed also above the symbol.
  •  Some barcodes enable the use of Application Identifiers (AI). In the text the identifiers are always in parenthesis. The brackets are never coded into the barcode.

8. Choose a barcode colour

The optimum colour combination for a barcode symbol is black bars with a white background. If you want to use other colors, it is important to choose colors that work so that the barcode can be read without problems.


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9. Choose the barcode placement

The barcode should be placed on the package so that it is easy to read. Avoid printing it e.g., in corners, over a carton edge, beneath a carton fold, beneath a package flap, or so that it is covered by another packaging layer. Many printing processes require barcodes to be printed in a specific orientation to the feed direction of the web or sheet, consult the packaging planner and printing agency to ensure the best printing quality and readability.