Barcode Labels: Do I need a barcode? How do I get a barcode?

Posted on by kginter

Are you a business owner about to launch a new product and wondering if you need a barcode on your label? Or maybe you’re a business owner who already has a product and you’re considering adding a barcode to your label. You might be unsure about whether or not you really need a barcode or not. Well, we’re here to help save you from headaches and stress. Let’s breakdown the needs and uses for barcodes!

 

How to Get a Barcode on Your Retail Product Label

Although there is no law that you must have a barcode, most retailers and distributors will require you to have one for inventory and sales records purposes.

If you are planning to sell your products in a retail market, you should register your product with GS1. GS1 is a global keeper of barcodes. You will be assigned and registered to your own unique barcode that identifies your company as the maker of the product. GS1 will provide you with a unique 12 digit UPC (Universal Product Code) or EAN company identification number that you will enter into a UPC-A or and EAN-12 barcode on your products label. By having a registered barcode, your retail product can be scanned and the information embedded in the code will be in the system ready to go.

Of course, barcodes are just one component of a retail label. If you have a small business in the USA, you might be interested in reading these tips regarding the FDA labeling exemptions for food products.

Keeping Better Inventory and Reducing Errors with Barcode Labels 

Barcodes can also help you to keep a better inventory of your own products, especially if your product line is large and diverse. You can create special barcodes to best fit your numbering and inventory system.  By printing a label with a barcode on it, you can simply scan your barcode rather than rely on someone taking a physical inventory. This not only saves time and money, but it also tremendously reduces the risk of human error.

Having the wrong information in your supply chain or business operation can wreak havoc. These errors can account for business being lost and for higher operating expenses. Your information is one of your most valuable assets and you want to be sure it is being taken care of in a reliable way – this is where barcode labeling shines.

A great example of this is labeling a medical device or labeling a pharmaceutical product with a barcode. Many times these very products have many different variations. Or even if you’re a coffee roaster, if you have 50 different roasts or flavors, it may be hard to keep them all straight. A barcode label can be affixed to the finished product while it is in inventory, so that when the time comes for the item to be picked for shipping, the barcode can be scanned. This will help you to ensure that the right inventory is being picked and shipped to the correct customer.

Avoiding Fraud with Barcode Labels 

Piracy and counterfeiting have become more and more common around the world, and such scams can affect your business or industry economically. Most commonly counterfeited are wine labels, fashion labels, and pharmaceutical drug labels.

Counterfeiting is growing so fast that it is hard to control. The United States in particular is hit hard by counterfeiting since it is the world’s largest consumer market. In 2007 alone, 750,000 US jobs were lost due to counterfeiting. Counterfeiters are becoming very smart about what they are doing and one of the best solutions for preventing counterfeit items from making their way into our retail environment is by using barcode labels.

You can use your labels and packaging to fight back against counterfeiting. If you have a product that is at high risk of being duplicated, you can create your own barcode that contains specific information so that it can be scanned to ensure that it is a genuine product. Having a barcode to scan assures retailers that your product is legitimate and safe. These codes can prevent counterfeit pharmaceutical products, wine, baby formula, and even fraudulent unsafe software from getting into consumer hands.

Generating Traffic to Social Platforms: QR Codes 

The QR Code is a much newer type of barcode that has become popular over the last few years. QR Codes are 2D codes that are able to hold larger amounts of information than simple 1D codes such as the UPC barcode. Marketers have taken advantage of the ability to print labels with QR codes and now use QR codes to link consumers to websites such as their brand’s website, social media pages, and even contest pages. With the evolution of the cell phone, consumers are able to scan these codes with their mobile device and browse these websites from their phones.

The QR Code makes for a seamless connection between the brand and the consumer because it keeps them constantly connected. You’ll find beverage companies and food companies printing QR Codes on their labels to entice consumers with recipes, coupons, and deals. Printing labels with QR codes is a great tool to take into consideration!

How Do I Start Printing My Own Barcode Labels?

If you want to start printing your own barcode labels, QuickLabel has several options for you. For simple black and white barcode printing, we have the Pronto! barcode label printer family. This printer is perfect for a table or desktop in your office or shipping room. The Pronto! has the ability to print even the smallest sized barcodes (as small as size 4 pt. type) with crisp, clear resolution. The Pronto! also makes barcode label graphics in near-lithographic print quality with consistent, solid fills and clean lines and curves. Some use the Pronto! 486 to make small-size identification labels, rating plate labels, and PC board labels. Others print single-color primary display labels for their products, making labels with logos and illustrations that help promote their brands on the retail shelf.

If you want to color code your barcode labels, our Vivo! Touch color label printer can do the job. The Vivo! Touch color label printer is able to digitally print color labels with color codes at the same time as it prints text, barcodes, color graphics, batch codes, lot codes, date codes, expiration dates, and any other label content. The Vivo! Touch can print color labels in high volumes in no time, perfect for companies with diverse product lines that need color coding for variation. A color coded label performs an important function as a “secondary indicator” of product identification information such as size, flavor, item number, and more. The FDA has recognized color coded labels as a supportive labeling feature for pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

For more information on our line of label printers, stop by our website for more information or ask us for an onsite label printer demonstration!

Posted in Packaging, QuickLabel products | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

QuickLabel Asks: What Is Your Favorite Wine Label?

Posted on by kginter

We’re always talking about attractive labels and packaging in our blogs, tweets, and social media conversations. Well, there is nowhere I’m as mesmerized by an attractive label than in the wine aisle. In fact, I find that I have a tendency to buy wine based on how much I like the label – with apologies to our winery friends, I’m sure I’m not the only one who does that! So I decided it would be fun to reach out to customers, social media friends (tweeps as I like to call them!), and bloggers alike to ask what their favorite wine label is and why. Now I’m sharing their top picks with you!

 

Seth Poole from International Wines shared with us his favorite label that International Wine designs and prints using our Vivo! label printer. The label is by Ordinary Wine Co. and the wine name is Boneshaker Red. Seth explains that this label is his favorite because he is a cyclist and he can relate to the label design, “The ‘Ordinary’ bike is historic because it was one of the first designs used in late 1800s. I like the graphic simplicity of the label as well as the unusual color.” Seth is right, this simple color and imagery makes this label simply unique.

 

Laura Standley, our friend at L.D. Davis Adhesives, sent us her favorite wine label from Pugliese Vineyards in Long Island, NY. Although with this particular example they do not use an actual label, we can understand why! Pugliese Vineyards hand paints their wine bottles and the result is absolutely stunning! Laura explained, I learned about Pugliese Vinyards in Long Island after my boyfriend visited there and brought back a bottle of the Sangiovese and a sparkling white wine.  The bottle of sparkling white was hand-painted by one of the owners of the winery.  She does beautiful work and all of the other labels are modeled after her hand-painted ones.  I love the ‘label’ because it shows that they care very much about their presentation and are willing to take the time to make the bottles as attractive as their contents … hand-painting if necessary.”

 

Our favorite Diva, JoAnn Hines the Packaging Diva, told us about her favorite wine label design: “Big Ass Wine” from Adler Fels Winery. JoAnn is a packaging expert whose life is inspired by packaging and this wine in particular struck a chord with her. “I’m so sick of skinny people as role models. I’m not fat but I’m not skinny either. Did you know the average size woman wears a 14-16? When I saw this label I fell in love. Ever hear the term “Reubenesque?” Well this is it! Up until the 1800s that was the ideal body image. Hopefully we can change that back! Here’s to big (not giant) ass women! Happy Packaging!” We absolutely love her passion! Cheers JoAnn!

 

Christine from Recipe Marketing Firm sent us a label with a unique die-cut. I love how original this label shape is and so does Christine –  it’s exactly the reason it caught her eye. “EOS Estate Winery’s Petite Syrah is one of my favorites.  I love that the label is composed of five equal rectangles equally spaced apart.  It is different than your traditional wine label, which made it stand out to me.  They do this with a couple other bottles as well.  The picture stands out and lets the world know that this is a Central Coast wine. Plus, the wine is great too!”

Another contributor, Casey Campbell of Whiz Bang Ideas, also submitted the same EOS Estate Winery label to us as his favorite. Casey explains, “I love this label because it shows where the wine is grown and allows me to connect with the land. Also, it provides a higher quality picture than most other labels. Instead of looking hand drawn it looks like it is almost a photo. To me it helps create a sense of quality.”

Isn’t it funny how two people can love the same label for completely different reasons? It seems to me that EOS Estate Winery has done a superb job with this label and is drawing in an audience.

 

The lovely Roxanne Roark from Combotronics, Inc. shared her favorite wine label, one that she found while shopping for herself! You go girl! Her favorite label can be found on bottles of Charles Smith’s Kung Fu Girl Riesling. Roxanne explains, “While shopping for a gift for myself (hehe), I came upon this bottle of Kung Fu Girl Riesling and thought ‘Oh, how unique!’ It caught my eye because it was so different from the normal, shiny or “sophisticated” labels I was used to browsing through. Now, when I go to the store, I look around trying to find new ones from the same wine maker! Great idea and low tech for the win.” Not only do we agree with Roxanne on how cool this label is from a design standpoint, it also has a nice little QR code on the back label which we featured in our QR Codes Blog!

 

QuickLabel Marketing Director, April, wanted to share her favorite wine with you all as well! Her favorite wine label is this Halloween Hallowine produced by our friends at Door Peninsula Winery in Sturgeon Bay, Washington.  April explains,“I was tickled to see the use of ghoulish font on a wine label. That’s something you don’t see everyday! I think the autumnal pumpkin vine and corn stalk imagery works perfectly on this spiced apple wine, one of my favorites. Also, Halloween is my favorite holiday and I love to see my favorite brands get into the seasonal spirit!”  Thanks April! After reading that I just almost forgot it was January! I am definitely keeping my eyes peeled for this wine next Halloween!

 

Last but not least, my favorite wine “label” is a lot like the choice of Laura from L.D. Davis Adhesives. Yes, I work for a label company and am ALWAYS looking at wine labels when I am at the store but this wine in particular always keeps me coming back. Between its bright colors (which, in all honesty, remind me of our QuickLabel colors) and the bright yellow label (my favorite color) – I can’t help but be drawn in…every…time! Meeker Vineyards Merlot is my absolute favorite! The bottle contains a large multicolored, painted-on hand print that takes up most of the bottle above the yellow label, which also contains multicolored text. It is just so cool. The hand print has texture to it and it literally makes me want to grab the bottle just as the painted hand does!

So, now I ask you: what is YOUR favorite wine label?

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How To Print QR Codes on Your Product Labels

Posted on by kginter

Have you noticed the cool-looking black and white square-shaped barcodes appearing more and more often on food and beverage labels, on signs, in magazines, and so on? QR Codes are growing in popularity – here’s how you can print your own QR Code label.

First, a little background: What are QR Codes?

“QR Codes,” short for Quick Response Codes, are small, square, two-dimensional barcodes. In comparison to traditional barcodes, the 2D QR Codes allow larger amounts of data to be encoded and scanned faster. QR codes were originally created to be read by barcode scanners. Today, marketers are embracing smartphone apps which can scan QR Codes, read hyperlinks, and bring the user directly to a web location where web pages, videos, and other rich online content can be viewed. QR codes allow marketers to store and share large amounts of information, including coupons, contact information, physical addresses, and URLs, all of which open up in the web browser of a mobile phone.

Eric Anderson, QuickLabel Upper Midwest District Manager, has seen a growth in the use of QR codes on his customer’s product labels. “I like to call labels with QR codes or Microsoft Tags ‘perpetual interactive marketing billboards’ that can be applied to most any product!” said Anderson.

Here’s How You Can Begin Using QR Codes on Your Own Product Labels:

Step #1: Go to an online QR Code generator such as Kaywa

Step #2: Follow the screen prompts to enter a text message or hyperlink in the content box (this is the information that will be encoded in the QR Code)

Step #3: Generate the QR Code on screen

Step #4: Download and Save the QR Code as an image to your computer

Step #5: Open Custom QuickLabel software and add the QR Code to your label format as a graphic image, or add the image to your label design in Adobe® Photoshop,® Adobe Illustrator,® or in any other software you use to design and print labels

Step #6: Print your label as usual, using any label printer. May I recommend the QuickLabel Kiaro!, Pronto!, or QLS-4100 Xe?

How You Can Benefit by Printing a QR Code on Your Label

QuickLabel’s Eric Anderson shared a few of his ideas with us:

  • Private Label Wine: Imagine having private labeled wine bottle for a wedding with a QR Code on it.  That code could launch a YouTube video of the couple thanking the guests for attending – or perhaps launch a slide show that guests could converse about.  This would be a value added benefit that could be provided by wine bottlers.
  • Food Companies: Print a label with a QR Code that can be scanned for a “Recipe of the Month” by customers.  The QR code could point to a web page that could be updated with new recipes as often as one would like, making that same container, sitting on the shelf, a perpetual marketing tool.
  • Industrial Manufacturers: Product training videos could be launched right from the product label – assuring proper usage and reducing training costs.
  • Cosmetics Companies: Customer testimonial videos showing the product being used could help sell a product on the spot while the customer is at the point of purchase in the store.

A Brief History of QR Codes

QR codes originated in Japan in 1994 thanks to Denso Wave, a manufacturer of barcodes and 2D code scanners. Toyota was one of the first companies to use QR codes to track vehicle parts in vehicle manufacturing. Today, QR codes are still used in manufacturing, but now they are also being used on product packaging because they are such an easy and convenient means of bringing consumers to an online site.

The spread of mobile phone technology has propelled the use of QR codes since smartphones are equipped to scan QR codes through their cameras and phone applications. “I do not believe QR Codes have hit critical mass yet … but with the ubiquitous use of smart phones by a growing segment of the population, it will surely do so soon,” said Anderson.

Looking for QR Code Scanning Apps for your Smartphone?

Each smartphone has its own set of QR scanner apps to go along with it.

Android Phone QR Scanners:

Mashable so kindly put together 7 free QR Code Reader Apps for Android. The 7 apps include:

  • Barcode Generator/Reader
  • ScanLife Barcode Reader
  • QuickMark QR Code Reader
  • I-nigma Barcode Scanner
  • QR Droid
  • Barcode Scanner
  • mobiScan QR

 

Apple iPhone QR Scanners:

Dr. Orange from Orange QR reviewed 5 iPhone apps available in the Apple store. Here they are for you:

  • NeoReader (Free)
  • Optiscan
  • Barcode (Free)
  • QuickMark
  • ScanLife (Free)

Blackberry Phone QR Scanners:

BlackBerry has what is called BlackBerry App World, where BlackBerry users can go download and buy applications for their phones. BlackBerry offers both free and priced applications. Some of the QR readers include:

  • QR Code Scanner Pro (Free)
  • QR Code Now
  • QR Scanner

How and Where QR Codes Are Currently Used

Food Packaging: QR codes are being used on food labels and food packaging. Hyperlinks within these codes can lead consumers to recipes, nutritional facts, discount codes, etc. Recently, Kellogg launched the “It’s Morning Somewhere” marketing campaign for its Crunch Nut cereal that includes an on-package QR code that its consumers can scan with their mobile phones while eating their breakfast! When the QR code is scanned, consumers are brought to a mobile site where the slogan “It’s Morning Somewhere” appears and one of 13 promotional videos is played depending on the time of day.

In comparison to the older SMS mobile marketing technology, the “It’s Morning Somewhere” QR Code campaign has been a smashing success. Thus far, there have been 40,000 Crunchy Nut QR scans, 38,000 videos played, and 50,000 page views – very impressive when company to just 6,000 SMS texts.

Restaurant Uses of QR Codes: The Colonial House Restaurant and Bar in Rapid City, SD uses QR codes on its menus and table tents. Patrons can scan the codes to see daily specials, promotions, and beer and drink offerings and can even be linked to the restaurants social media pages. Colonial House also advertises using QR codes on advertisements at local rest-stops, perfect for attracting travelers in the area looking for a place to eat.

Crime Fighting Uses of QR Codes: Vancouver police recently used QR code technology to generate tips on a wanted assaulter. Police distributed over 300 posters with QR codes in bathroom stalls around the city. When the QR code is scanned by patrons using their smartphones, they are brought to information about the wanted person. The information that is presented includes composite sketches of the attacker and detailed descriptions of their car.

Using QR Codes to Make a Purchase: Starbucks recently introduced a secure QR code payment system for iPhone, BlackBerry and Android phones that allows customers to pay for their purchases using their phones. This move put Starbucks on the map as the only large-scale coffee company with mobile payment capabilities. Just nine weeks after its launch in 2011, Starbucks processed more than 3 million mobile payments.

Selling Real Estate with QR Codes: Realtors are even using QR codes to sell homes. In Rapid City, South Dakota homes that are on the market have QR Codes displayed in a window. Interested home buyers can scan the code with their mobile phone and they will be taken to a unique page made specifically for that home. The website contains information such as photos, floor plans, neighborhood information and so on. Realtors found that the QR codes allow them to provide more information than a typical listing or flyer in the local paper.

Posted in Labeling Standards, Packaging | Tagged , , , , , ,