A 12 digit UPC-A barcode

Bar Code Main Page

The UPC UCC Application Process

The History of the Uniform Code Council

The History of the UPC

Retail Package Design

Get a UPC Bar Code | Printing your first retail package bar code

If you have your UPC bar code number...
Cummings Design can create the bar code symbol for your retail product package and design your retail product packaging with your bar code on it. However, to do so, you first need to get your UPC bar code prefix from the UCC by completing the application.

If you do not have your UPC bar code prefix...
We can also design your retail product packaging without the bar code, and leave a space for the UPC bar code symbol (or a temporary label).

Should you get a bar code for the first printing of your product packaging?
Many of my retail product packaging clients are unsure whether or not they need a bar code. The UCC will keep $250 (at the time of this writing) as a processing fee should you decide to return the package with your bar code prefix and not go forward with the licensing of your bar code. Also, a retail buyer may have certain bar code requirements. Therefore, I recommend many clients wait until they know they actually need a bar code and have discussed this with the retailer before applying for a membership at the UCC.

Can you print a package or label without a UPC bar code?
Yes, and often it's the best way since there is no other way to get a bar code in advance other than to become a member of the UCC.
I typically leave a suitable space on the package or label to accommodate a bar code, and recommend that the quantity of the first printing run be limited. For the first run, a separate bar code label may then be printed and affixed. Once the product is in the retailer's system and at the time of the next printing, I can then add the bar code to the packaging. This does add cost to the printing (printing a smaller quantity first, then a second printing later), though it insures that you will not have a bar code that is unacceptable to a retail buyer. 

See HISTORY of the UPC Bar Code.

See HISTORY of the UCC (Uniform Code Council, Inc.)
The company that assigns all US bar code prefixes.

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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.

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