Barcodes in graphic design - 2020 winners

Raise The Bar, GS1’s annual barcode design competition for students at the Te Kahui Auaha campus of WelTec and Witireia polytechnics has this year been won by Gracy Veerasamy with a clever art nouveau-inspired label design for a brand of tea. Gracy’s design seamlessly integrates the barcode into graphics which are colourful, dynamic and feature tea leaf shapes: The barcode looks very much part of the overall design.

Gracy Veerasamy 
Raise the Bar - Barcode Design Awards First Place

Katherine Pei Pei
Raise the Bar - Barcode Design Awards Second Place

Second prize has gone to Katherine Pei Pei for a design that merged the barcode into the visual representation of a portafilter (the part of an espresso machine that holds the grounds when coffee is being made).

The competition was introduced in 2009 to encourage design students to learn the technicalities of barcode design and how to incorporate barcodes into packaging graphics harmoniously. Students are encouraged to see the barcode as a potential design feature rather than as a compliance requirement that clashes with the look and feel they try to achieve.

GS1 Quality Service Manager, Owen Dance has been involved with the competition since its inception. “Designers can make or break a barcode from the outset,” he says. “So we launched this competition to teach them what a correct and workable barcode should look like and how they can add to it in ways that will be pleasing to the eye without interfering with the scanning performance.

Every year we see some wonderful ideas from the students and it’s encouraging to think that the old ideas of barcodes as just black and white rectangles are slowly being overcome.”