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In Japan, Even the Barcodes Are Well Designed

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

In Japan, Even the Barcodes Are Well Designed


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]

About the author

Cliff is director of product innovation at Fast Company, founding editor of Co.Design, and former design editor at both Fast Company and Wired.



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