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How to Get a UPC Barcode

Have you ever noticed that every UPC label is different?

UPC LabelUPC Barcodes (Universal Product Codes) are required on products by retailers and distribution centers. UPC labels are on almost everything we buy. With UPC barcodes, proper tracking can be achieved throughout the entire distribution network. If you are only using barcodes for your own internal use, you will not need a UPC number, but the minute a product is sold in the retail marketplace, it HAS to have a UPC code!

UPC barcodes are not to be assigned for internal purposes but rather for mass circulation and tracking—therefore they cannot be not arbitrarily assigned. In order for retailers to properly identify your products, a UNIQUE UPC BARCODE is required for each and every product. Before you can put a UPC bar code on your product, you need to have a UPC assigned for the product.

How do you get a UPC Barcode?

It's easy.  All you have to do is go to GS1 - the Global Standards Organization (formerly known as the Uniform Code Council). The GS1, a global standards organization, guarantees the every product, asset, service or location will be uniquely identified, virtually worldwide.  Simply click on "Get a GS1 Barcode" and it will locate a GS1 office to assist you. 

If your company needs UPC codes for a large number of products or if you are going to sell them through large retailers (which have been reported to include such companies as Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, CVS, Dillards, Home Depot, JC Penney’s, JoAnne Stores, Kohl's, Kroger’s, Lord & Taylor, Lowes, Macy's, Michaels, PetSmart, Sears, Sports Authority, SuperValue, True Value, Walgreen’s, Walmart/Sam’s Club, Wegmans and Whole Foods among others) you will need to to deal with GS1 directly. You may also find that—over time—the number of large retailers forcing GS1 Compliance for traceability requirements will grow.

What are ISBN and Bookland numbers and how are they different from a UPC Barcode?

The Bookland EAN or ISBN-13 barcode is used internationally to identify books as well as videos, audio cassettes and software. The unique number assigned to each item is the International Standard Book Number (ISBN). ISBNs are printed on books using the EAN-13 barcode symbology. The Bookland EAN barcode may be followed by a 5-digit add-on supplemental code which contains the suggested retail price.

If you are a new publisher and need one or more ISBNs, the agency responsible for assigning these numbers in the USA is:
R.R. Bowker (Toll-free 888/269-5372, Fax 1-908/665-3502, www.isbn.org

What do I do once I get my UPC or ISBN? You can then have them printed on labels for you, you can print your own labels, or you can have them printed directly on your product.

  • EIM can print your UPC labels and assure you of the highest quality scans.
  • You can print your own UPC labels using our BarTender® label software, blank labels and a label printer.

For Packaging that incorporates a UPC or ISBN right in your graphic design, we can provide the code in electronic format (typically an EPS file). Contact Our Label Experts for more details.

Printed UPC Labels

Have EIM print your UPC labels for you! Purchasing pre-printed UPC barcode labels makes sense if you need labels in a hurry, if you do not have the time or the manpower to do the printing, or if you do not want to invest in special barcode software or a label printer. Since many retailers penalize manufacturers if their barcodes are below GS1 standards, you can relieve the stress and rely on EIM to provide UPC codes that will successfully scan and exceed all minimum scanning requirements.

Whether you need one sheet or thousands, we will ship our UPC/EAN & Bookland ISBN labels, printed on high quality paper or strong polyester in 24 to 48 hours!

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Print Your Own UPC Barcode Labels

LASER QuickStart™ UPC Printing System: Complete with BarTender® Label Design and Printing Software, this kit comes with 100 sheets of 1.5" x 1.0" blank paper labels (50 labels per 8.5" x 11" sheet).Buy Online
QuickShip UPC Bar Code Labels: If you only need laser labels, we offer QuickStart™ UPC Media kits - Supplied on 8.5” x 11” Laser Sheets, these 1.5" x 1.0" paper labels come with permanent adhesive and are supplied 50 labels per sheet. Orders placed by 1:00 PM Eastern Time will ship the same day.Square Corners
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Round Corners
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THERMAL TRANSFER QuickStart UPC Printing System: Labels supplied in roll form make it is easy to print single labels or large batches. Thermal printing can also easily handle larger operations where you have a lot of different UPC codes to print. This system includes everything including an easy-to-use GX430T Zebra® desktop printer, BarTender® label software, a label template and supplies. Replenishment Media Kits are also available. Buy Online
ThermalMark™ Value UPC Bar Code Labels
If you need to print large quantities of labels, you may want to consider buying your labels and printing ribbons separately. These labels fit both desktop and full-size roll-form printers and come in the standard 1.5" x 1.0" size or in many other stock sizes and materials.
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Electronic Artwork-Ready File

Doing your own packaging artwork and want to incorporate the UPC barcode into the design? We can create an electronic version ready for you to insert into your packaging design and eliminate the need for labeling. (Typically an EPS file)

Still have questions about UPC barcodes and labels? Email Our Label Experts or Call 1-800-535-6987 for more details.


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