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Japanese Creative Barcodes


"QUANTUM SHOT" #398(rev)
Link - article by Avi Abrams




Cut out your UPC label and... frame it!

Barcodes, or UPC symbols, these ubiquitous emblems of our consumer civilization, have been receiving a radical makeover by the Japanese firm D-Barcode, which puts them on all sorts of products all over Japan.

Sometimes called the "vanity barcodes", these simple, yet brilliant designs have recently spread around the world, spawning the full blown "Barcode Revolution" in creative packaging design:




(images via 1, 2, 3)


When you first pick a Japanese-made bottle of pop or a milk jug from the shelf, you might not even notice anything different about the codes (with all the intensity and typical visual clutter of a great Japanese package design). Once you take a closer look, however, these charmingly designed UPC masterpieces will be impossible to ignore! The whimsical little codes will make you smile, and maybe even cause you to buy other products with such codes, just to start your collection!





Trust Japanese to "glorify" every single mundane design detail, to joyously enhance consumer experience - by adding something extra, a little thing, so easy to miss at first glance. But now, we suspect that (thanks to these creative bar codes) the package design in Japan has truly become perfect.






Other barcode art pops up from time to time around the world: this is "Flowers", by Dave Herbert:


(image via)


Russian Surreal Barcode Posters

Art Lebedev design studio has been issuing wildly creative posters (featuring barcode symbols) for years. As you can see, they have no shortage of ideas:










(images credit: Art Lebedev)


Creative Barcode Ideas Permeate Modern Design

Just try to have an exhibition of modern furniture without some examples popping up... like this one (left image): "The Bar Code Chandelier", by Mobilet design studio... or the one on the right: "Muscat City Centre", by Barcode Designed Lights:


(images via)


More glowing barcode light fixtures, by the Hampstead Lighting:




Check out this LEGO barcode scanner! It includes an actual miniature laser, no less - so handle it with care:


(image via)


How about a full-size barcode building? -


(image via)


Portraits, made entirely from the UPC codes and barcodes? Sure, check out the gallery of Scott Blake. He's got Monroe, Elvis and, of course, Jesus - which is, in itself, a succint comment on rampant consumerism and prevalence of kitsch in our times.


(image credit: Scott Blake)


The "MAD" magazine ran a few imaginative barcode cover illustrations back in 1979:


(image via)


Want to know the time? Click on this Barcode Clock:


(image via)


And finally, as it's almost a custom nowadays to finish with a cute or LOL-lified cat picture (no matter the actual subject of an article), here are the "Barcode Kitties!" - a neat "Hello Kitty" spin-off for those in need of a dose of a truly geeky cuteness:






Today we find that UPS labels, QR codes and barcode symbols are deeply ingrained in the very fabric of our society. A fearless explorer of various "paranoid realities", the classic science fiction writer Philip K. Dick, for example, would've smelled a juicy conspiracy in all this. But we, innocent consumers, give it no mind; we just keep on shopping and cheerfully buying everything that scans.

Article by Avi Abrams, Dark Roasted Blend.


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