Get a UPC Bar Code | UPC Bar Code History | Bar Codes
retail suppliers get a UPC bar code and how they get the UPC bar code
number on a retail product package.
GS1 is the umbrella organization with operations in many countries.
Each UPC barcode has a country code with the UPC barcode.
Suppliers seeking UPC barcodes must go to their own GS1 member organization located in their own specific country.
In the United States, suppliers seeking a bar code visit GS1 US, gs1us.org, become a member, and receive their barcode prefix.
Suppliers in other countries seeking a bar code should first visit gs1.org to find the GS1 member country web site in the specific country of the supplier.
We design consumer packaging that sells, see our work now.
More about UPC bar codes
While others sell UPC barcode numbers, there is no guarantee other bar code providers will keep the supplier's number unique, no support from GS1, and no way to grow a business with GLN assignments (the global data synchronization network), or for product recalls, or RFID using an electronic product code. In an interesting way, GS1 is the only valid source to obtain UPC barcode numbers.
With a bar
code prefix assigned by GS1, the supplier then
assigns and adds a unique product number to the UPC bar code prefix.
To create the UPC bar code symbol, the UPC bar code number is input into UPC bar code software. The UPC bar code software will then generate the UPC bar code symbol that is printed on the retail product packaging.
The retail packaging graphic designer or packaging printer then takes this UPC bar code symbol artwork and adds it to the artwork of the retail product packaging at the proper size and in the proper format.
The GS1 Company Prefix is provided by the specific country's GS1 member organization, and, with it as the prefix, the manufacturer creates the individual product number. In most software, when the prefix # and the product # are entered, the software automatically generates the check digit.
The GS1 Company Prefix is a 10, 9, 8, 7 or 6 digit number assigned to you by the GS1 member organization in your country when you become a member and pay the membership fee.
of digits in the UPC bar code is determined typically by how many products
you will need to assign numbers to.
symbol is composed of a row of 59 black and white bars. Printed beneath the bars
(on a UPC-A) is a series of 12 numbers. The bars are scanner readable
while the numbers are human readable and can be input manually.
example, in a 12 digit UPC bar code there are three main parts, the
prefix, the product identifying code, and a last number which is the
This 049000 prefix was assigned and licensed to the Coca-Cola Company from GS1 US, and Coca Cola, as a member of GS1 US, pays an annual fee to GS1 US (currently based on its gross sales) to license this unique UPC bar code number from GS1 US.
The 6 digit
UPC prefix identifies the Coca-Cola Company while the 5 numbers that
follow identify the specific product, and its size, color, flavor, etc.
(depending on type of product).
do companies get a retail product bar code?
If you are a supplier based in the US and need a UPC bar code, click here.
If you are a supplier based outside the US and need a UPC bar code, click here.
Does every supplier need to get a UPC bar code?
a company just starting out need a bar code?
What a seller must
do to get a bar code number.
the United States, a company can obtain the unique UPC company
identification number (UPC company prefix) by becoming a member of their
own country-specfic GS1 member organization.
To obtain a prefix, a supplier must become a GS1 member.
Without becoming a member, the supplier will not have the necessary UPC
bar code prefix, and therefore cannot create the UPC bar code to place on
the retail package. So to get a bar code symbol, the supplier needs to
become a GS1 member.
only place to get an authentic GTIN (or UPC bar code) in the US that is
accepted by retailers everywhere is GS1 US, (formerly the Uniform
Code Council), a privately
owned and operated not-for-profit tax-exempt organization that
assigns all bar code prefixes necessary to have a bar code, and has done
so for over 30 years.
The address and phone of GS1 US is Princeton Pike Corporate Center, 1009 Lenox Dr., Suite 202, Lawrenceville, New Jersey 08648, Telephone: 609-620-0200, Fax: 609.620.1200.
Whether you as a seller need only one bar code or many (each and every product variation must have its own unique bar code), GS1 charges a fee to become a member, plus an additional annual membership fee based on your company's annual revenues.
Most retailers require bar codes and therefore you must become a member of the GS1 to get a bar code.
the UPC bar code number anywhere else?
To obtain a bar code, you will need to become a member of GS1 US (or GS1 in your own country), pay the membership fee, plus a fee based on your company's revenue, and wait for an information packet to be sent to you.
According to the GS1 US site (at the
time of this writing), you should allow up to 14 business days from the
time they receive your completed application and payment.
Since all of the retail packaging design Cummings Design creates involves a bar code, I am interested in knowing your thoughts and possible experiences with bar codes, the UCC, and related topics. Please contact me to share your thoughts and comments. Thanks!
This UPC identification number can then be encoded into a UPC-A or EAN-12 bar code symbol and be printed on your retail product packaging.
The retail bar code format is currently referred to as UPC-A. There are also many other types of bar codes and uses for a bar code, though this page discusses those used for retail.
Today most retail stores in North America will only stock retail packaging with
a UPC-A or UPC-E bar code symbol. The UPC-A bar code is 12 digits long.
The UPC-E bar code is a special shortened version of the UPC-A bar code
and is 6 digits long. The UPC-E bar code is primarily for small retail
packaging where a UPC-A code would not fit.
The assignment of the numbers following the GS1 company prefix on the bar code is normally sequential, though can be random, and is determined by the seller, manufacturer or distributor who then lets the retailer know which specific retail product is associated with which specific UPC bar code number. The only real trick is for the seller, manufacturer or distributor to keep track of its own UPC bar code numbers and to be sure it doesn't assign duplicate UPC bar code numbers.
So now you know that suppliers do not buy a UPC bar code to get the bar
code symbol, they obtain a UPC bar code prefix.
GS1 UPC bar c ode have any relation to the product price?
you get a bar code for the first printing or labels?
print a package or label without a UPC bar code?
future of the bar code, GTIN, RFID - and more.
You also may
be interested in knowing more about 2005 Sunrise:
More links will be added to this page. If any of the links do not work, please contact me.
More history of the UCC is on the UCC web Site.
If you need retail packaging design, click here.
For all other types of advertising, promotion, business consulting and more, please click here to our home page.
Note: This article is of an editorial nature. All trademarks and copyrights are owned by their respective owners. If you see errors or omissions, please contact me so that I may make necessary corrections. I feel the history of the bar code (as well as the future) is important and created this page since I found little about this elsewhere. I am doing my best to cross-check and verify information presented. Thanks - Rob Cummings.