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Barcodes Gussied Up

from The Wall Street Journal

Art in Aisle 5: Barcodes Enter Expressionist Period

By SARAH NASSAUER

[BARCODE.jmp3]Design Barcodes Inc. (man, skyline); Vanity Barcodes LLC (3)

Some proposed barcode designs, from left, depict a hand mixer, jelly beans, skyline, school bus and trousers.

Package design has become so artful, it has come to this: Even the barcode, the style runt of product labeling, is getting gussied up.

Beer, granola, juice and olives are sporting barcodes that integrate famous buildings, blades of wheat and bubbles into the ubiquitous black and white rectangle of lines and numbers. Consumer-goods companies hope these vanity barcodes will better connect with customers.

The trend is popular with smaller companies, and even one of the world’s largest food companies, Nestle SA, is trying out vanity barcodes on its smaller brands.

When Sixpoint Brewery planned to launch a line of canned beer this year, the Brooklyn, N.Y., company set out to fashion the perfect can design. It soon realized, “you need this big, ugly barcode so people can scan them,” says Shane Welch, president of Mad Scientists Brewing Partners LLC, which owns Sixpoint. “I thought, why can’t we do our own custom barcode?” Launched last month, the silver cans bear a barcode that integrates the Statue of Liberty and skyscrapers.

A handful of companies that specialize in making vanity barcodes have cropped up in recent years, though some companies create them in-house.

[ click to continue reading at WSJ.com ]

Posted on June 23, 2011 by Editor

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