North East Connected

Placing a barcode into art

Modern Ways in which a barcode can be used

In today’s world it seems that a barcode can being used in almost every sector of business, from healthcare to manufacturing and shipping and even in recycling. The reason for this being that a barcode is so versatile and can eliminate a great chance of human error which can be catastrophic in some industries. We were very interested to see the modern ways in which they are being used today, whether it be for art, in hospitals, endangered animals or illegal logging but to name a few. But today we will concentrate on art forms that incorporate a barcode into their pieces.
Artists are thinking out the box and providing us with some very unconventional pieces inspired by a barcode number and images. One that really piqued our interest is by an artist by the name of Scott Blake from Florida, United States of America, he is a conceptual artist and he has created an animated conceptual Net art piece representing every imaginable consumer product being sold in retail stores. It will be exhibited for the next few centuries and can be found online at Scott Blake Barcode Art. It began twelve years ago and will continue until completion. It uses complex mathematical formulas and works at a speed of 10 digits per second working through all the barcode number possibilities available today. Once it matches a barcode number with product information that has been registered on the GS1 online live global database it flashes the product description on screen and the manufacturer name for one tenth of a second. This is a piece of visual web-based art that represents the depth and velocity of consumerism in perpetual motion. Once a manufacturers details have been matched and flashed, they will not appear again, ever, but it is interesting to watch and perhaps have your company name be a part of complex modern art. Scott Blake has created many forms of barcode art which can be seen on websites such as a very interesting video on YouTube here is the link Scott Blake barcode YouTube Video, from barcode stencils to portraits of famous people which when magnified you can see they are completely made up of barcodes. One especially famous one being of Bruce Lee and can you believe that they are also scannable? When the individual barcode number is scanned using a smartphone, they take you through to short clips of all movies he has ever starred in. As per Scott he started doing this when he was inspired by the Y2K year 2000 computer bug and the threatening digital apocalypse.

Consumers have also been enquiring and researching ways in which they can adapt their code on their product to be more appealing to the eye and bring a trendier look to their product labels and brand. Wineries have started to design their bottle labels in such a way that their barcode is in a modern pattern to suit their brand and it looks great as per the image below of an Olive Oil product. They do not change the most important part which is the bottom section which remains linear and allows the scanner at the point of sale to still easily scan the barcode number but they have added in a modern touch and stretched it up vertically.

When clients enquire with us if they can crop or edit their barcode images we always advise that the height of can be played around with quite a bit but the length should be left as is, as the length is the most important aspect when it comes to scanning as the scanner uses the specific spaces between the lines to decipher the numbers. Each space represents a number. There are dedicated designers available to do this for you, you can make use of Google and find a number of someone in your area who know the do’s and don’ts when it comes to making your barcode more appealing. A barcode can be changed to depict what you are selling or to bring forth the brand that the product belongs to. Although some consumers may prefer the clean straight-lined look of original barcodes which brings us to our next point.

Designers have started using barcode vinyl as wall art in interior design. You are also able to buy these online and have them shipped to you to apply yourself in your home. It could be a linear barcode or a QR code as well. There are so many options to choose from. How about placing a vinyl high resolution QR code in the reception area of your business that customers can scan using their smartphone which will direct them to your company website or a facts page pertaining to your company? Or to specials you are currently running? While they are waiting in the reception area, they can peruse your website etc, and I am sure that once they leave this will be a conversation topic with everyone that they see thereafter for a few days as it is such an uncommon and modern way of marketing, it is intriguing. Business spreads the fastest via word of mouth. And remember it does not have to be black and white you can play around with high contrast colours that are able to be used and match them as best as possible to your company’s colour theme.

There are so many ways that they have been used for art, which we are not able to cover today, such as street graffiti, billboards, fashion, lighting and so forth, but we will write an additional article on these forms of barcode art on our website as well as many other informative articles

We hope this article has given you some inspiration to create some barcode art and play around with how you or your business can incorporate codes into your daily marketing or digital processes. Give us a call and we can also chat if you need some guidance. We pride ourselves on our knowledge and passion of barcoding.

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