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Different Types of Barcodes and Their Uses

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Different Types of Barcodes and Their Uses

Barcoding started being commercially used in the early ‘70s. It is an efficient and effective way to retrieve data without the need to memorize or write down anything.


Badge makers utilize barcodes in their designs to add more functionality to their badges. Barcodes allow information from your badges to be entered into a computer by simply scanning a card. However, technology has allowed barcodes to improve and evolve. We usually see 1D barcodes (barcodes made up of black vertical lines) in grocery items and QR codes at events, promotions, and a few products. With many options to choose from, which one is for you?


Let us discuss the similarities and differences of 1D and 2D barcodes to see which one works best for you.


1D Barcodes

1D Barcode

1D barcodes or linear barcodes are commonly used for merchandising and shipping. Barcodes are assigned unique identification numbers which are used to identify a specific product or package. The unique identification number is stored in a database, which, when scanned, will help the system retrieve information about a product such as a name, price, weight etc.


When it comes to badges, linear barcodes are commonly used in events and students' badges. When a person is assigned a unique identification number, it helps manage attendance, contact sharing, real-time reports, and many more. The most commonly used 1D barcode for badges is Code 128 since it can hold alphanumeric characters.


2D Barcodes


2D barcodes are a newer generation of barcodes. Instead of vertical lines, they can print both horizontal and vertical lines, which means they can hold a lot more information. That is also the reason why they look more like pixels than lines. The most significant difference is, 1D barcodes require to be linked to a database while 2D barcodes can hold the information in itself without a need for a database. Another excellent improvement for 2D barcodes is that they can embed a hyperlink to a web page that can then be read by your phone’s camera or through many downloadable barcode scanners. 


The Bodno software can create the barcodes discussed below. It is important you choose the correct barcode for your company’s barcode system. You can simply double-click the barcode to enter a value directly into it, or you can connect it to a database.* 


Different Types of 2D Barcode


Bodno supports five types of 2D barcodes. We will discuss each of them below.

QR code

QR Code

This is the most common 2D barcode today seen in different products and places. It can hold Latin and Japanese Kanji and Kana characters, music, images, URLs, emails, and more. It is dynamic and widely popular, which is why most designers use this to put-out public information.


Though it is not very common to the public, PDF417 is regularly used in both commercial and government organizations. You might have seen it in your airline boarding pass. They can also be on your driver’s license.  

Aztec Code

Aztec code

Aztec code was patented initially but was eventually made public. Some organizations favor the Aztec code because it uses less space than QR codes. They are used primarily in transport tickets, car registration, and some bills in Poland, Canada and other countries.


Data Matrix

Data Matrix is known for being small and scalable, making it best used as a marker for small objects. It can be as small as 300 micrometers or as big as 3 feet. The US Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA) recommends it for labeling small electronic components. It is also widely used in the food industry in autoencoding, which prevents products from being packaged and dated incorrectly.


Maxicode was created by United Parcel Service (UPS) to track and manage the shipment of packages in 1992. What makes Maxicode unique is that it uses dots arranged in a hexagonal grid instead of bars. Even though UPS created it, Maxicode belongs to the public domain and can be used freely.

As you can see, there are different kinds of barcodes, and they basically serve the same purpose -- to automate storing and retrieving all types of data. To identify the best type of barcode to use for your company, you need to determine how the barcode system can improve your workflow, considering the resources you already have. If you don’t have the resources yet, you need to identify what you are willing to get or even pay for. 

*Please note that 1D barcodes are available to the Bodno Bronze Edition and above the QR code is only available in the Bodno Silver edition, and the rest of the barcodes are available in the Bodno Gold edition or higher.