Tag Archives: printing

Barcode Tattoos: worse than you imagined?

When people hear I work with barcodes it is not uncommon to then be told about someone they know with a barcode tattoo. Popular as an ironic anti-establishment statement along the lines of… ‘I’m not just a number, but to prove it, here is a tattoo which reduces me to such’. You may be able to gather that I don’t really understand it, but each to their own. However, from looking at barcodes printed by computers which are often of poor quality and produce an unreliable read I have started wondering how this works in the unreliable world of body art. Ink does not simply go where you put it but soaks in and smudges slightly, especially if you chose the cheapest tattoo artist in town.

Barcodes are only as reliable as they can be printed. The classic rule of computing still applies, garbage in, garbage out. For more information on how resolution can effect barcode scanning see our knowledge base. So not only is the idea of a barcode tattoo fairly rubbish, but the practicality is only going to produce something unreadable.

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Barcode Printing

Just in case you weren’t aware Barcode printing isn’t really our thing at Softek. However with the Barcode Reader Software we produce there is an obvious link with the quality of barcodes being produced. It never ceases to amaze me how poor the quality of printing and scanning or barcodes can be. Although the ability to still read such poor quality barcodes is even more astonishing. In this article though we are simply going to look at the printing.

One of the most obvious trade offs is between speed and quality (and most likely price of the printer too). When looking at the speed of printing it is worth considering the speed of reading in the equation too. A poorer quality barcode will take longer to read, as will a barcode at a peculiar angle.

Also whether a Barcode is printed directly onto something or stuck on as a sticker it should be remembered that for a more reliable read a ‘quiet zone’ around the barcode should be allowed for. If a barcode is placed within a tight fitting box for example it becomes much harder to decipher what line is the box and what line is the start of the barcode without giving extra instructions and thus taking extra time.

Although these are just some of the points to consider from the angle of barcode reading there are many other consideration to take into account. This though is not my area of expertise so I have compiled below a list of useful websites for barcode printing information.

Hope this helps, let me know what your best barcode printing tips are with any comments below!


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