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UPC barcodes for packaging

In the United States. UPC-A type barcodes are the most commonly used barcodes on product packaging. They uniquely identify a single retail product online and in retail stores around the world. Below is a simple guide to help you create barcodes for packaging design.


The number in a UPC-A barcode is typically 12 digits long.


To create a UPC for product packaging, you will need 2 things - the barcode number and a barcode creator.

The barcode number starts with the UPC Company Prefix that was assigned to the product's company when they became a member of GS1 US. The UPC Company Prefix could be between six and twelve digits long. The next one to five digits are the item reference numbers that are assigned to the unique product variations. The product's company creates these on their own.

The 12th digit is called the check digit, which is calculated automatically in the barcode software and is based on the other numbers in the code.


I recommend downloading Barcode Producer to create your codes. Barcode Producer generates barcodes for retail, labels, books, packages, tags, and more on your Mac or PC. You can design, customize, and send vector EPS barcodes graphics to your desktop, your printer, or direct to apps like Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop.




As a designer, what is the benefit of creating your own barcodes?

You can get creative. Inventive versions transform humble SKUs from the usual black-and-white rectangle to graphics that range from cityscapes to waves, and can relate to the product it identifies. Without impeding on the necessary numbers of course.


creative barcodes

These are just a few examples of how you can get creative with the barcode.