Check out these seriously fun remixes of barcode design from Irish illustrator Steve Simpson. Actually, “barcode design” is almost a misnomer, completely overlooked by everyday designers. The ubiquitous symbol is simply looked at as a necessity. Simpson says we should forget that idea and get more creative. Just look at the many ways he’s reworked the vertical lines required for the barcode to work: they can become crocodile teeth, a sushi mat, Latin American style birds (or at least their legs), and even a convincing cactus forest.
It’s actually kind of amazing barcodes don’t get remixed more often considering how many pieces of packaging they’re featured on (like, everything). We’ve seen QR codes getting remixed frequently, like being hidden in watercolor paintings or sent out as promotional photographs, but there hasn’t been a lot of obvious love for the barcode.
Good thing for us, Simpson is a generous fellow and has shared his rules for making your barcode remix work. Here are his five tips:
- Colors can be changed but requires good contrast for scanning readability.
- The number string is only there to help a human reader interpret the barcode; change the god damn font!
- Space should be left at either end so the scanner can recognize the beginning and end of the code.
- For readability; there should be a healthy sized horizontal strip of uninterrupted code.
- Test it! Print it out and check it using a barcode reader app on your smart phone.
See more of his designs (which goes far further than barcodes) at stevesimpson.com.