In Japan, Even the Barcodes Are Well Designed

D-barcode specializes in turning barcodes into something fun and memorable.


Barcodes grace almost every product for sale. Given how much package real estate they command, why shouldn't they look cool?

Since 2005, D-Barcode has been creating custom barcodes for a mostly Japanese clientele. They've even begun selling their wares to anyone who wants to license them, starting at $1,500 for the design, and $200 a year for licensing. A custom or exclusive use code will run upwards of $4,000—but given that companies spend millions on designing a single package, why don't we see more detailed thinking like this? Middle managers spend weeks arguing about kerning—it'd be better if they spent more time rethinking every inch of such highly prized real estate.


[Via The Dieline, which has a selection of recent designs; another gallery here]

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  • Stephen Shephard

    The results of bar code technology have shaped the way the
    world works and the way network components work in cync. Data collection simply
    solves a lot of major concerns for hospitals, for safety and security
    industries, food industries and allows businesses to track their entire chain
    of product progression to address global health concerns and keep medicines in
    hospitals safe for patient use. For more information on barcodes, please visit

  • Brady Bone

    Barcode Revolution (d-barcode) receives the only Titanium Lion at Cannes in 2006. Now they are getting mention on for their “innovative” - might I say expensive - custom UPC designs.

    Well, the late Rick Tharp - founder of Tharp Did It! - did it no less than 20 years earlier.

  • Chris Reich

    This speaks volumes of the state of U.S. business thinking. We used to be the ones to come up original ideas like this. When everything is outsourced, the focus of thinking goes to "Supply Chain Management" and "Continuous Quality Improvement". Something so simple reflects such a serious slip.

    Chris Reich

  • Tony Ripley

    These are great images. This is a good example of what a type of motto I've always liked to use, "Job 1 is to get the job done, but when and where possible you should have as much fun as you can getting the job done."

    These bar codes have probably even provided the additional benefit of simply making some shoppers smile in spite of themselves.