Variable Data, Bar Codes & Numbering
Variable‐data printing (VDP) is a form of digital printing, including on‐demand printing, in
which elements such as text, graphics and images may be changed from one printed piece to
the next, without stopping or slowing down the printing process and using information from a
database or external file.
For example, a set of personalized letters, each with the same basic layout, can be printed with
a different name and address on each letter. Variable data printing on identification mediums
such as wristbands is mainly used for direct marketing, customer relationship management,
advertising, and most importantly, event security. Variable data is the most effective method
of preventing ticket counterfeiting.
Quick Response Code (QR Code )
- Optimal dimensions for print
As small as ¾ inch (19.05mm) on business cards (best 1 inch square (645.16 mm squared) or
larger. Most all camera phones can properly read a 1.25 x 1.25” (31.75 mm x 31.75 mm)
- Due to size constraints, QR codes cannot be printed on our Slim, Techno and Sparkle
- We MUST be provided with the raw data file to use as a reference during the production
process. In the event a redo is required, we will require this data file to do so.
QR codes can be scanned and read by camera‐equipped smart phones via software that's
already installed on your phone, or with an application that you download such as Lynkee
Reader or i‐nigma Reader, which are compatible with a wide variety of modern smart phones
including iPhone, Blackberry, Sony Ericsson, HTC, Motorola and Nokia. The readers/scanners
give smart phone users the ability to read a QR code without special equipment.
For example, you could walk into a store, use your smart phone to scan an item that has a QR
code on it, and have immediate access to the information.
Data Matrix 2D Bar Code
A Data Matrix code is a two‐dimensional matrix barcode consisting of black and white square
modules arranged in either a square or rectangular pattern. The information to be encoded can
be text or raw data. Usual data size is from a few bytes up to 2 kilobytes. The length of the
encoded data depends on the symbol dimension used. Error correction codes are added to
increase symbol strength: even if they are partially damaged, they can still be read. A Data
Matrix symbol can store up to 2,335 alphanumeric characters.
Human readable vs. Nonhuman
readable Bar codes
Virtually any kind of barcode can be applied to our wristbands. They can be printed in human
readable or non‐human readable formats. We typically add 2‐3 additional business days to the
turnaround time as physical samples are sent to the customer for approval.
Human readable barcodes has the encoded data displayed in a text format beneath the linear
Non‐human readable barcodes do not display encoded data beneath the linear barcode. This
barcode format is known as machine readable, which means the data can only be decoded by
using an infrared barcode scanner.
Barcode size – The optimal size is 0.75‐1.0” high x 1.5 to 2.0” wide. This ensures all barcode
readers can read the barcode as certain readers have a smaller laser width than others and it
also prevents excessive curvature of the barcode once the wristband has been applied to the
Commonly Used Linear Bar Codes
Code 128 is a variable length, high density, alphanumeric symbology. Code 128 has 106
different bar and space patterns and each pattern can have one of three different meanings,
depending on which of three different character sets is employed. Special start characters tell
the reader which of the character sets is initially being used and three special shift codes permit
changing character sets inside a symbol. One character sets encodes all upper case and ASCII
control characters, another encodes all upper and lower case characters and the third set
encodes numeric digit pairs 00 through 99. This third character set effectively doubles the code
density when printing numeric data. Code 128 also employs a check digit for data security.
CODE 39 (Normal and Full ASCII versions)
The Normal CODE 39 is a variable length symbology that can encode the following 44
characters: 1234567890ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ‐. *$/+%. Code 39 is the most
popular symbology in the non‐retail world and is used extensively in manufacturing, military,
and health applications.
and UPC Supplemental's
UPC‐A with Supplemental UPC‐E UPC‐A is a 12 digit, numeric symbology used in retail
applications. UPC‐A symbols consist of 11 data digits and one check digit. The first digit is a
number system digit that usually represents the type of product being identified. The following 5
digits are a manufacturer’s code and the next 5 digits are used to identify a specific product.
UPC numbers are assigned to specific products and manufacturers by the Uniform Code Council
EAN8 / EAN13, BookLan and EAN Supplemental's
EAN or European Article Numbering system (also called JAN in Japan) is a European version of
UPC. It uses the same size requirements and a similar encoding scheme as for UPC codes.
EAN‐8 encodes 8 numeric digits consisting of two country code digits, five data digits and one
check digit. B‐Coder will accept up to 7 numeric digits for EAN‐8. B‐Coder will automatically
calculate the check digit for you. If you enter less than 7 digits or if you enter any digits other
than 0 to 9, B‐Coder will display a warning message. If the option "Enable Invalid Message
Warnings" in the Preferences menu is not selected and you do not enter 7 digits, B‐Coder will
left pad short messages with zeros and truncate longer messages so that the total length is 7.
EAN‐13 is the Euro version of UPC‐A. The difference between EAN‐13 and UPC‐A is that EAN‐13
encodes a 13th digit into the parity pattern of the left six digits of a UPC‐A symbol. This 13th
digit, combined with the 12th digit, usually represent a country code.
Both EAN‐8 and EAN‐13 support a supplemental two or five digit number to be appended to the
main bar code symbol. The supplemental is designed for use on publications and periodicals.
Supplemental messages must consist of either two or five numeric digits and will appear as a
small additional bar code on the right side of a standard EAN symbol.
EAN bar code numbers are assigned to specific products and manufacturers by an organization
INTERLEAVED 2 OF 5
Interleaved 2 of 5 is a high density variable length numeric only symbology that encodes digit
pairs in an interleaved manner. The odd position digits are encoded in the bars and the even
position digits are encoded in the spaces. Because of this, I 2 of 5 bar codes must consist of an
even number of digits. Also, because partial scans of I 2 of 5 bar codes have a slight chance of
being decoded as a valid (but shorter) bar code, readers are usually set to read a fixed (even)
number of digits when reading I 2 of 5 symbols. The numbers of digits are usually pre‐defined
for a particular application and all readers used in the application are programmed to only
accept I 2 of 5 bar codes of the chosen length. Shorter data can be left padded with zeros to fit
the proper length.
You can customize your serial numbering in several different ways for no additional cost when
you place a custom wristband order. See examples below…
Standard, Sequential Serial Numbering
Increment of 1, Numeric only, maximum of 8 digits
Matching Sequential Serial Numbering
Matching # on wristband & detachable stub, Numeric only, maximum of 6 digits
Static & Sequential Serial Numbering
The first part of the numbering sequence remains static while the second part is sequentially
numbered in increments of 1, Alpha‐numeric
Random Serial Numbers
A range of random, unique serial numbers are assigned; each wristband is printed with a
random number within the range and does not follow a sequential sequence. Numeric or
Logo & Text Layout Styles
Your wristbands can be customized however you like, below is a list of common designs.
However, if you require a more elaborate design, our designers are here to help you every step
of the way.
Bar Code Layout Options
Option 1 - Standard
Option 2 - Data Matrix or QR Code
Option 3 - Repeated
Option 4 - Full Band