Barcode Reader Design Contest

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Ever look at those bar code scanners at the checkout and wonder why they come in 50 shades of gray … white, off-white, putty and black?

The Bar Code Media Group wants to change all that by giving designers a chance to create an eye-catching bar code scanner. It has launched a contest on 99Designs, welcoming anyone to design a more appealing bar code scanner.  The contest ends on Wednesday, August 29, 10:37 a.m.

“We’ve been looking at plain vanilla bar code scanners for the past 30 years,” said Craig Aberle, Publisher of Bar Code Media Group. “When I look at them, one word comes to mind … BORING.”

A self-described “bar code evangelist”, Aberle said that if he finds bar code scanners boring, then imagine how they look to the consumer. He suggests that they be designed in hot colors like red, yellow or hot pink.  Or that they be decorative – the more imaginative, the better.

If consumers are jazzing up their tablets and cell phones to reflect their personalities, Aberle says that bar code scanners could just as easily reflect the personality of the retail establishment. A music store could have a Lady Gaga bar code scanner. A toy or game store could have a Star Wars bar code reader that looks like a Jedi light saber and even hums when you scan your video game.

He takes the idea one step further. What if the retail establishment could program its scanners with 50 varieties of buzzes or ring tones instead of those annoying beeps? What if record labels paid vendors to use a riff from a hot new song, and reprogrammed the scanner every month with another riff?  The record label would sell more songs, and the store would make more sales.

If the consumer finds the experience of self-checkout, or even the manned checkout, fun and memorable, that same consumer might give the store more business and tell friends about it – all because that POS scanner suddenly got cool!

That’s where you come in – no holds barred on new bar code scanner designs. The winner and finalists will have their designs published in The Bar Code News, both the daily digital publication as well as the print edition, which both reach a broad swath of the bar code community. The designers’ contact information will be included. The winner receives a $300 prize from the Bar Code Media Group.   The contest is open to anyone, anywhere in the world! 

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