The Universal Packaging Code—a name that is indicative of its importance. We frequently meet customers who are concerned with making sure their UPC information is completed correctly. While the process of creating the appropriate UPC to suit your needs may initially seem perplexing, we are here to give you a down and dirty break down of the process!
The UPC is the most universally recognized type of barcode. You probably know that it is a scannable code that consists of a series of vertical lines of varying widths, along with 12 numbers along the bottom that are unique to individual products. However, making sure your actual UPC on your label both meets national standards and does not reduce the aesthetic appeal of your label can be much more complex.
The first thing you will need is a UPC number. Your UPC number can be purchased through GS1 US. Their website will help you determine how many unique barcodes you will need and guide you through the purchasing process. Many customers also come to us with concerns about sizing their UPCs appropriately. The required standard size of a UPC is 1.469 inches wide by 1.02 inches tall; however, a UPC can be shrunk up to 80% in size, making the smallest UPC 1.1752 inches wide by .816 inches tall. UPCs can also be increased in size up to 200%, so dimensions can reach 2.938 inches by 2.04 inches. It is also integral that spacing around your UPC is properly maintained. We suggest a .25 inch minimum boundary around the barcode to ensure scannablity. Please see our UPC Barcode Standards resource for more information and images!
If you are unsure about your UPC placement or sizing, our prepress department can create the barcode based on your UPC number and place it into your existing artwork. If you are unable to incorporate a barcode into your artwork, there is also the option of creating a separate, discreet label with just the barcode. Maintaining an appropriate size for your barcode is important, as this will guarantee scannability across all markets!