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Vanity Barcodes

by First name Last name on 02/09/2010 | 3 Minute Read

Editorial photograph

Vanity Barcodes is the newly launched website featuring product barcodes in creative illustrations and silhouettes created by our own Yael Miller (The Dieline's senior editor and owner of Miller Creative and Reuben Miller (over at Share Some Candy inspiration blog). The idea behind Vanity Barcodes is adding some excitement and fun to a relatively under-served area of packaging design - the barcode.

What Are Barcodes?

Barcodes are unique ID numbers with accompanying bar sequence, allowing products to be scanned at POS (point-of-sale) in retail stores around the world. Product data is associated with each unique barcode number. In the US, the UPC-A format is most popular. Europe and Asia prefer the EAN-13 format, among other barcode formats.

Bending the Rules.

Barcodes must follow very specific guidelines in order to scan properly at POS. Since packaged goods are affected by various conditions, including print quality and surface distortion, a barcode needs to meet some benchmark standards in order to have the best possible chance of scanning properly at a retail checkout. The challenge with creating decorative "Vanity" barcodes are the requirements that must be met so there is no reduction in scan compliance, yet still be visually appealing. A significant amount of research went into developing a system for creating Vanity barcodes that scan as well as ordinary codes.

Spreading the Fun.

"I've been designing packaging for retail products (especially food) for several years. It's been something I've been wanting to do for years - inject some fun into the space-hogging barcodes required on most packaged goods. In the last couple years I've been able to get some of my clients to go for it on their packaging.", says Yael.   There has been very limited access to these types of designs, which until now have only been available for a much higher cost plus licensing fees. Yael also believed the quality of the designs could be vastly improved. "As a designer by trade, I wanted to create designs that I would be proud putting on my own packaging designs. We think we've raised the bar on quality and creativity [with Vanity Barcodes], while keep prices accessible to the average business owner."

There is tremendous branding value in a Vanity Barcode. The subtle brand reference engages consumers and sends additional layers of meaningful brand messaging that is otherwise difficult to achieve with copywriting or visuals. The unexpectedness and humor of Vanity barcodes are powerful assets that create loyalty among customers in an ever-crowded competitive environment.

The Vanity Barcodes website features a small, but fast-growing library of stock designs to choose from. If a company wants to purchase a design, they send an order form. They customize the design to the company's unique barcode sequence and sends the design files with an instruction guide.

They also have a custom-branded service for those who want full ownership of their barcode design. "As a designer specializing in branding and packaging design, I'm excited to work with companies who want to integrate a custom 'ownable' barcode design into their brand messaging.  It's not necessarily as obvious as a logo or mascot. The beauty is often in a subtle brand reference, which opens up all kinds of possibilities to communicate with a brand's core consumer in a more personal way, and engage new customers." says Yael Miller.

To see more clever barcodes, and order your own, visit Vanity Barcodes!