Barcode Labels: What You Need to Know

The science behind barcode labels.

Barcode labels may seem rather insignificant and to a graphic designer rather dull. However barcode labels play an incredibly important role in identifying and sorting products and produce. Wholesalers and retailers rely heavily on barcode labels and expect them to be correct. These barcodes are received from the Global Standards Organisation or GS1. It is therefore vital to manufacture barcode labels correctly and which adhere to GS1 standards.

Barcode Labels


The GS1 Standards System

To begin with let’s understand what the GS1 standards system is:

According to Definition: “The GS1 system provides for the use of unambiguous numbers to identify goods, services, assets, and locations worldwide. These numbers can be represented in barcodes to enable their electronic reading wherever required in business processes. The system is designed to overcome the limitations of using company, organisation, or sector specific coding systems, and to make trading much more efficient and responsive to customers.”

Within this system, there are four barcode types that are acceptable and these are:

  1. EAN/UPC family
    These are immediately recognisable 1D barcodes used in retail all over the world.
  2. DataBar family
    These are compact 1D barcodes that can hold further product attributes such as the weight of fresh produce.
  3. One-dimensional (1D) barcodes used solely in general distribution and logistics
    These are adaptable 1D barcodes used to represent ID keys and attributes in a distribution setting.
  4. Two-dimensional (2D) barcodes
    These are compact, high-capacity 2D symbols suitable for representing all GS1 keys and attributes.

           Click here to download the full GS1 specifications guide on barcode labels.


Questions to ask your Barcode Label Manufacturer

As can be seen from the above it is critically important that your barcode labels are printed correctly and according to GS1 standards. If you choose a barcode label manufacturer that does not understand these standards or has not had experience in your particular industry standards it could lead to retailers not accepting your product and therefore huge losses for your business. So here are a few questions you can ask barcode label manufacturers to make sure they will do the job of printing your labels correctly.

  1. Does your business follow the specifications according to GS1 standards?
  2. How many years experience do you have in printing barcode labels according to GS1 standards?
  3. Which industries have you printed barcode labels for?
  4. Do you have testimonials from previous clients? (preferably within the same industry)


A reputable barcode label manufacturer should happily supply you with this information. So make sure you find out all the details before investing heavily in barcode labels that don’t comply with GS1 Standards.

It’s important to partner with a label manufacturer that has the experience and expertise needed to produce the best barcode labels. Rebsons Labels has over 60 years’ experience in printing labels and is fully compliant with GS1 standards. Contact Rebsons Labels today for your Barcode label needs.

If you’re interested in this article, you may also be interested in our article on Food Packaging Labels as well as Labelling your unique container.

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