There are many different types of barcodes available and they each have a different use. To make it easier for you to purchase the right barcode for your needs, I will go through the main types of barcodes and explain what each entail. There are three different sections of barcodes.


This is a one-dimensional barcode that consists of lines and spaces of various widths. These create specific patterns which are then picked up by the barcode scanner. It is the simplest and most basic barcode available code. All of these barcodes are GS1 approved.

Commonly used 1D Barcodes include

  • Universal Product Code (UPC barcodes)
    • This is used for retail purposes throughout the world.
  •                           EAN-13 and EAN-8
    • These codes are very similar to a Universal Product Code and are used for the same purpose. If you want to sell anything in the retail industry you will have to purchase barcodes and register your UPC or EAN barcodes with your chosen retailer in order for them to start selling your product.
    • EAN-13 and EAN-8 codes look almost identical. EAN – 13 codes consist of 13 digits and is the standard barcode that is used. EAN – 8 barcodes have 8 digits and are only used on products where there is limited space, such as chewing gum packages.
    • Therefore, the size of your product will determine which barcode you will need.
  • UPC-A & UPC-E
    • These are very similar to the EAN-13 & EAN – 8 codes. The only difference is that they are used mainly in America.
  • Code 128
  • This barcode was invented very recently and it can hold all digits, character and punctuation marks. This wide range of characters makes this a very useful barcode as it allows you to store a diverse range of information. It is also fairly compact which gives it good data storage to size ratio. It is mainly used for ordering, distribution and transportation.
  •     ITF-14 Barcodes
    • These barcodes are also called Case or Box Barcodes. They are used for selling bulk items, for example, if you want to sell a case of beer, you can obtain a box barcode from Barcode Solutions. When this code is scanned, it brings up the entire case of beer as a whole. This makes it easier for the retailer to control his / her stock levels with one scan, thereby making it easier for the retailer to receive your goods. Some retailers require these codes in addition to the normal UPC or EAN barcode.
    • These codes are used for pharmaceutical packaging. Therefore, it is a fairly specialised barcode and you will only need this code if you are in the pharmaceutical industry.
  • Code 39
    • This barcode allows for the use of digits and characters. It started off only being able to include 39 characters; however, this has been increased to 43 characters. It is not as compact as the Code 128 barcodes but it is still used in the automotive industry.
  •       ISSN Barcodes
    • ISSN stands for International Standard Serial Number. It is an internationally recognised 8-digit number that is used to identify a particular serial publication. Each barcode is unique to that specific publication.
    • If you would like to publish a magazine, you will require one of these barcodes.
  •            ISBN Barcodes
    • These are similar to ISSN barcodes, except that they are specifically for books and other once off publications. The 10-digit barcode is registered with the National Library.
    • If you would like to publish a book, this is the barcode for you.

At Barcode Solutions we will assist you through the process of  designing the code and emailing you your high-resolution images.


These codes are also called Matrix barcodes. They can be defined as a two-dimensional way to encode information. It is quite similar to the linear barcode; however, it is the next step up as it can hold more data per unit area.

The QR Code, also called Quick Response code is the best example of a Matrix 2D barcode. It was first created for the automotive industry in Japan. However, with the rise of the use of smartphones, the QR code is sweeping the world by storm. It can be defined as a machine-readable optical label that consists of information about the item it is attached to. It allows for customers to have quick access to your company’s website as well as any promotional material on offer.


These codes use the same basic principles as matrix barcodes. An image is applied to the product which is then read by a barcode scanner in order to track an individual product. The 3D is engraved to the product itself as part of the manufacturing process or it can be applied afterwards with a press. The benefit of using a 3D code is that it is nearly impossible to change any of the barcode’s information which results in fewer stock mistakes, thereby lowering the operating costs during the manufacturing process. They are generally used in manufacturing businesses. Therefore, you won’t see them in grocery stores.

Barcode Solutions is here to help you decide which barcode will best suit your business’s needs. We provide barcodes for your business, as well as assisting you through the process of registering these codes.