Barcode Dimensions

Does barcode size matter? This is a question we get asked frequently.

Barcode dimensions are really important. It is worth spending time with your graphic designer or printer to ensure the barcode is a good size and positioned well on the product. There is nothing worse than finding the barcode doesn’t scan. Avoid putting the barcode too close to the edge of a product, over any seams or where the checkout operator will put their thumb. For EAN barcodes, we don’t recommend going under the 80% size (approximately 30mm wide by 20mm tall).

Printing the barcode at 80% size can be tricky for very small products such as lip balms or mascara. Hence these products are often sold in larger boxes or blister packaging so the barcode and ingredients can fit on the packaging.

Generally, it is only the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) stores that sometimes reject a barcode if it is very small. FMCG stores deal with huge volumes of products and people and cannot afford delays at the checkout due to barcodes that won’t scan.

Barcode Dimensions and Verification

Many of the FMCG stores will ask for your barcodes to be ‘verified’. Verification is a test of the barcode on the final packaging or the packaging artwork. We can do this on the packaging or on the artwork. Please see this page for more information on barcode verification. Verification looks at the following elements on a barcode;

  • Modulation – how much the contrast between black and white varies across the barcode, as some parts can be blacker than others.
  • Defects – dark marks in white spaces and white marks on black bars.
  • Decodability – how accurate the different widths of the bars and spaces of the barcode are.
  • Decode – whether the light margins on each side (left and right white spaces), the encodation of data, and the check digit are all correct.
  • Symbol contrast – how black and white it appears to the scanning machine.
  • Minimum reflectance – whether the dark bars are sufficiently different from the white spaces (hence be careful when printing on coloured backgrounds).
  • Edge contrast minimum – The least distinct difference between a bar and a space.

Click here for more information on EAN-13 Barcode Dimensions

Barcode Size Standards


Click here for more information on ITF-14 Barcode Dimensions

ITF-14 Sizing