I noticed the other day that on the back of my Encyclopedia Wine bottle (can you guess my ulterior motives for buying that exact brand? Hmm?) even the bar code was made into that distinctive Erlenmeyer Flask/decanter shape. Alas, in my zeal to denude the bottle of stickers, I tore off the label before I got a picture of it. When I find my camera and buy another bottle of wine, I'll be sure to document it carefully.
In the meantime, I have been looking at some fairly cool barcode designs. Barcodes seem to be taken in two philosophical directions; on the one hand, some designers have taken the time to prettify this necessary bit of packaging, thus unifying it with the overall design of the product and taking advantage of the space to express the product's uniqueness. On the other hand, barcodes are seen as a symbol of uniformity and consumerism, and are appropriated as such in art. It's really wonderful how much has been done with a bit of design that was conceived for purely functional reasons.
I think this is awesome. This tiny detail transforms the bar code, familiar yet common, by combining it with the shape of the Coke bottle, familiar yet distinctive. Here, it's adding even more branding to the cylindrical can, evoking that Coke bottle shape where it cannot be implemented physically.
Get it? Hefeweizen? Wheat beer? Wheat growing? Eh?
Also, I love how the negative space of the barcode becomes the positive space of the wheat stalks on the rest of the label. The design literally unifies the two spaces into one, bringing the barcode into the design of the rest of the package.
Barcode on Puma boot packaging, uploaded by look-aa.
Apparently, the barcode is from whence the puma escaped (onto your feet). Or maybe, as this is presumably on the shoebox, you're in the cage, and you're looking through the bars at the puma inside the box. Either way, cool.
Committed to a world of better-designed barcodes is Design Barcode, Inc. (also at Barcode Revolution), which has a gallery of products and their corresponding barcode designs (including another iteration of that giraffe snack!).
As I mentioned before, barcodes seem to lend themselves to artistic interpretation. Their geometry, ubiquity, and association with anything branded, coded, sold, and packaged have come to symbolize a variety of different messages.
Bar code mannequin store display, uploaded by drspam.
it. Mocking the auto ID technology that
drives modern commerce, all in the name of
fashion. I love it."
On a less subtle level…
Graffiti, uploaded by alynch.
Speaking of graffiti…