A blurred young woman in a yellow vest scanning a huge barcode in front of her.

Barcode Labels for Custom Label Projects


Barcode labels are a must for any product packing to be sold commercially. Do you remember a time when there was no UPC label on a product you purchased? It may not be easy to remember, as companies have utilized Universal Product Codes for some 57 years. It can be interesting to learn a bit about the history as well as why it is so important to implement on your product’s label.

The first time that a product had a UPC scanned was in 1974, on a package of Wrigley gum in a small-town supermarket located in Troy, Ohio. Since the use of these codes began, they have become instrumental in increasing the benefits for both consumers and retail outlets. They make the shopping process and checkout process for the customer faster and more accurate. In addition to this, they make inventory control easier for companies.

Using UPCs just makes sense from all standpoints, especially when you consider other technologies that have found benefits for barcode labels. For example, consumers can now use their cell phones to take pictures of the bar code labels, download it to an application on their phone, and find out which location offers the best price on that item. These little lines are more than just little lines!

How to Get a Barcode

When you work with the Denver printing company Columbine Label, the company will help you through each step of the process. However, you need to get the process underway. To get started, you can visit GS1 US online. This is the organization that is universally recognized as the place to go to get your bar code established. There are two parts to this code.

  • There is the machine-readable barcode – the black lines that run vertically on the product’s custom label.
  • The second portion is the human-readable portion, which is a 12-digit number that runs along the bottom of the bar code labels.

Once you apply for a bar code, the UCC will then issue you the first six to ten digits of your bar code, which depends on the number of products you plan to code. It is then up to you, or the manufacturers of the product, to assign a specific number to the individual items that you need to label. The last number in the code is the check digit which tells the scanner if the item scanned correctly or not.

Barcode labels are important parts of the creation of your custom product label. Once you do the steps to register your product for a bar code, the code can easily be integrated into a custom label design. Columbine Labels ensures that your bar code is accurate when printing and that it integrates beautifully with the branding and marketing aspects of the label’s design.

Another consideration to keep in mind when placing your barcode on label or packaging designs, ensure the code is produced in the proper color and size to eliminate issues on the retail end.  Columbine Label can provide recommendations to ensure proper readability and scan rate.

Located in metro Denver, Columbine Labels works with a broad base of customers across North America to print visually unique labels to help their products stand out.

What elements would you like to see added to your product label?

Time and again, customers tell us they love our

  • Consistent color management
  • On-time delivery
  • Expertise and “can do” customer service

Contact us