Bar codes seem pretty plain, perhaps with the exception of 2D bar codes, which are slightly more interesting due to their resemblance of very small Lego blocks. Yet the traditional 1D bar codes can actually be altered to create something very unique and serve as a hallmark for any given company. While the actual bar code maintains the different bars of varying thickness in them, the edges can be altered and shaped to add a decorative touch to it. The best – and most important – thing about these creative 1D bar codes is that they are fully functional and can still be scanned with a bar code scanner.
An example of a creative 1D bar code can be seen on a package of Willy Wonka candy (manufactured by Nestle). The bar code closely resemble the hair of the title character in the famous children's book by Roald Dahl. The vertical lines of the bar code end in the ubiquitous curls, while the top of each bar is perfectly angled at 90 degrees, overlapping each other.
But Willy Wonka bar codes are not the only creative 1D bar codes seen on the market. Amazon Kindle has a unique bar code that looks like a rolling hill along the top edge, complete with a tree and a silhouette of a person reading a Kindle book. These is something inspiring about this bar code that encourages one to find a comfortable tree , sit up against it, and read a Kindle.
A Japanese company called Design Bar Code has been creating unique 1D bar codes since 2005 that are eye catching. These creative bar codes are works of art, with manga character features, animal shapes, and streams of rain falling from a cloud. Even the Hello Kitty character can be seen surfing on a wave formed by the top edge of the bar code that looks like it was copied from Hokusai's famous painting, “The Great Wave.” Coming from a nation that also gave the world the QR code, creative 1D bar codes continue to gain popularity as more American companies design bar codes that distinguish their name from everyone else.
While creative 1D bar codes are more popular in Japan than America at the present, there is a company called Vanity Bar Codes oferring bar codes that are unique and intended for use on retail packaging. Vanity Bar Codes even adds touches of color on a number of their designs. Flowers, jelly beans, and a school bus are just a few of the colorful bar codes one can order through the Lakewood, New Jersey based company.
As creative 1D bar codes increase in use among American companies, they have the potential to become collectible. Creative bar codes require designers who are visionary, who can take a traditional 1D bar code and transform it into a unique design while keeping it scannable. Creative 1D bar codes are a marketing technique that will no doubt encourage consumers to notice them and identify them with a particular company.
Photo credits: From a bag of Willy Wonka Exceptionals Triple Dazzle Caramel candy. Jellybean bar code courtesy of Vanity Bar Codes.