Barcodes and Color

I’ve had a few questions recently regarding the use of different colors when printing barcodes.  This seems to be a common question, so I thought I’d share some tips with you from my answers.


Question- Can barcodes be printed in anything other than black? Say dark blue on white?


While it is recommended that barcodes be printed black on white, at times other colors may be used. Black and white barcodes have the greatest contrast, therefore they let you obtain the highest quality read rates. Dark blue would most likely be ok, however printing red, pink, or other colors may interfere with the scanners ability to read the barcode. My suggestion would be to test out the blue and white barcode with the scanner that you plan to use, if the scan rates that you receive from these barcodes are acceptable for you, than feel free to use the blue and white barcode. However, if you plan on having others outside of your organization read your barcodes I would suggest sticking to the black and white standard as they may use different scanning devices that will be affected by different colored barcodes.

Question- For one of our black color fine liner pens we intend to print (product name and barcode) with silver or golden color. The problem is that our scanner is not reading barcode in silver and golden color printed through screen printing or hot stamping foil. Do you think that silver or golden color barcode on black background should be problematic?


Thanks for your question, it sounds like your choice of silver and gold on a black background is going to be problematic for you. If you’re having problems when you test this combination, then it probably wouldn’t be advisable to continue with these colors, you don’t want to send product outside of your organization that won’t scan. If you’re going to be using different color combinations other than black on white, the best rule of thumb is to stick to warm colors of the spectrum for the background (red, orange, yellow) and cool colors of the spectrum (blue, green, violet) for the bars of the symbol. But if a color combination isn’t working when you test it with your own barcode scanners, it’s always safer to stick to the tried and true.