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Boost Your Product Visibility with UPC Labels: A Comprehensive Guide

April 5, 2023
By Ben Kaplan and Scott Kornblatt

Nowadays, when producing products for sale, management and monitoring inventory has become a priority. That’s why Unique Codes (UPC) has been created to identify, count and keep inventory tracking in the warehouse. Creating UPC codes can be complex; you must make sure you know what each code is and which type is ideal for product labels. As experts in this field, we have printed millions of barcodes; in this post, we will help you understand UPC barcodes for multiple uses and determine whether or not you need a UPC label.

Labelmart is happy to help you make the decision. Let’s get started!

What are UPC Barcodes?

UPC – Universal Product Code is a unique 12-digit number that is assigned to retail produce identifying both the product and vendor selling the product. Barcodes used in retail merchandise, such as UPC, JAN, and EAN, are regulated by GS1m, which is an international non-profit organization that influences and maintains efficiency standards to fulfill global supply and demand. UPCs are widely used barcodes in the United States. They come with an optical bit of data termed a barcode that showcases the unique set of bars. When a UPC barcode is scanned, it conveys the product’s data and lets you know if it’s between a manufacturer and retailer or within the internal segment – inventory, shipping, pricing and POS. The barcode can be read using a scanning device; it identifies the sequences of numbers and conveys the information on a tablet, computer or smartphone using the barcode reading software.

The UPC was initially developed for the grocery industry but ever since it gained popularity, UPC barcodes are making it easy for users to identify products. Remember, each product for sale has its unique UPC. Each of the various product of all sizes and colors represents the uniqueness of the UPC – you can consult the barcode services that help businesses acquire their digits for UPC labels.

How can businesses obtain UPC labels?

The first step towards getting a 12-digit UPC barcode is to connect with GS1, the international group that helps standardize how vendors monitor their products online and offline. The body has different segments pan country, and GS1 covers the United States. The UPC’s prefix is a unique number that stands for your company as the barcode for the owner and product. Once you get that UPC and barcodes, share them with our team to incorporate on the UPC labels.


Barcode is one-dimensional code that is readable through a machine. They are created in black vertical lines of varying widths and are accompanied by 12-digit numbers. This means if a barcode isn’t readable, the code can be entered manually. These codes carry important data like manufacturer name, price, article type, and more. The information that barcodes contain is limited and is used for identifying item types. As we know, barcodes are omnipresent and commonly used for identification, stock control and carrying basic information about the product. A barcode scanner demands to reach the data in the barcode; thanks to the advanced technology, you can now read barcodes using a smartphone.

Things you should know about Labels with barcodes

Producers apply for UPCs from the Uniform Code Council, and upon getting approval, you will have to pay an annual fee to join the UPC system and acquire the Unique Identification Number that can be used for its barcodes. The item number is specific to a certain product – the manufacturer issues those digits and avoids any infringement or duplication of numbers. Finally, a digit check is a single number for confirming the integrity of the barcode number.

How to know if UPC Labels will work?

Barcodes are graded on ratings from A to F – as given; the higher your grade, the better your barcode for your business. Following are four key things to keep in mind and improve the barcode and UPC labels for your product:

Respect ‘Quiet Zone’: Every barcode comes with a ‘quiet zone’- space around the barcode that is clear of any graphics, texts, or print. For those who cannot afford a UPC or barcode label in a quiet zone, the scanner might read some elements in the surrounding artwork only to cause an error. To prevent any problems, it is imperative to provide the barcode a proper spacing. The quiet zone should carry the following two measurements:

– An eighth of an inch

– 10 times the width of the narrow bar in the barcode.

Choose the Right Colors: Using various colors helps create an aesthetic label; barcodes should follow a simple color scheme. It is advised to stick with the black text on a white background for the barcode to ensure successful scanning. Remember, warm colors don’t work at all with red laser scanners; therefore, choose black on a white pattern to avoid potential issues in the future.

Capabilities & Limitations: The following are the other considerations about UPC labels and barcodes:

– UPC doesn’t identify the product; once scanned at the store, the retailer brand POS system offers the current price for the product. The price is created by the retailer before the product is placed on the shelf. By doing so, a retailer can set up their prices and any information with the UPC; this includes store warranty, shape and product color.

– A UPC label is designated for each product, manufacturer, and product kind or quality. A two-ounce cup of chocolate cream or a 60-ounce tub of ice cream- both will come with different UPC labels, despite being produced by the same brand.

– A UPC barcode is commonly used by retailers and isn’t mandatory to sell the product. Those selling their goods via the internet don’t have to join or pay the GS1. You can use any barcode that you like for internal purposes. In case you sell your products to separate internet retailers, the store may need a barcode.

– These don’t identify a product’s country of origin. The country prefixes are used for providing the company’s location.


We understand that UPC, QR codes and barcodes aren’t the most attractive part of the product label; they are valuable and important. You must ensure that the labels are designed perfectly, aesthetically pleasing, and sturdy to make a great impression on your consumers.

Consult our professionals at Labelmart, as we will be happy to help you craft a perfect barcode, UPC label and QR code. You can have these created online and shared with us to incorporate them on the custom labels. Now that you know what a UPC label is and things to keep in mind, make the right move.