Barcode Art: A New Trend?
After the first barcode appeared on a Wrigley pack of chewing gum in 1974, they became ubiquitous. They’re on just about every product we purchase. Most of us don’t know how they work (find out here), nor do we really pay attention to them. They’re like snowflakes. We know each one is alike.
This is becoming even more true with Barcode art. Commercialism is meeting art in a more direct way than ever. A novelty at least for now, it’ll be fun to comment on as you leave the grocery store.
Barcode Art – Soon to be everywhere?
According to TekSocial, it’s already a big hit in Japan due to D-Barcode, a leading company which produces them. Their barcodes feature multiple designs ranging from clouds to Hello Kitty. Of course, many items displaying barcode art on their products decide to feature a design which is relevant to the item being sold, but not always.
With other design companies joining the movement, the trend is slowly becoming the new norm in Japan. These designs have become so popular in Japan that a whole book, which is nearly always sold out, was made to show the barcode art designs.
Since then, companies like Nestle have integrated these barcodes with their smaller lines, as well as companies such as Bear Naked, owned by Kellogg Co, who also adopted artistic barcodes on their granola bars.
Are they just as functional?
For these artistic barcodes to operate they need to be scan-able, obviously, and some worry that creating designs which encroach on the barcode area space will not work when scanned. We won’t to get into the mathematical details, but to work, most retail barcodes need to be at least half an inch high, be in a black and white, and also have blank space on each side. If the art infringes upon this, it won’t work as well.
The Individualism Factor
Why doesn’t each company use a barcode which is distinctive to them? Possibly, barcode art would create word-of-mouth advertising in place of a standard barcode that would be present in any event. What if consumers start to relate a design to a particular product. This will create a useful overlap in the products’ marketing for people to tell their friends about.
What do you think? Is barcode art an innovative marketing technique, or an impractical passing trend?
Before you decide, check out Scott Blake’s awesome barcode art designs. He does much more than make an image out of a singular barcode.