UPC Color and Sizing Information

In order for a UPC barcode to be scanned, it must adhere to UPC barcode color and dimensional guidelines. Due to the varying type of scanners and scanning environments, the colors used for both the background and bars of a UPC barcode are very important. In addition, there are also minimum and maximum sizes (also known as magnification) for UPC barcodes. GS1 is the global identification standards organization. GS1 publishes the 534 page GS1 General Specifications.

UPC Barcode Color Requirements

In order for a barcode symbol to be recognized by a scanner, there must be adequate contrast between the dark bars and the light spaces. Since most barcode scanners operate with a laser that identifies “red” as white, it is extremely important that appropriate bar and space colors are determined.

Scannable UPC Color Scannable Color Combinations

UPC Color Combinations

Non-scannable UPC ColorNon-Scannable UPC Color Combinations

Non-scannable UPC Color Combinations


UPC Barcode Size Requirements

In order for a UPC symbol to be scannable, it must be generated within the acceptable size range. When the UPC guidelines were originally published, there was a stated “standard” size UPC barcode called 100% magnification. The overall dimensions of a 100% UPC are 1.46″ x 1.02″. The sizing range for UPC magnifications is between 80-200%. The table below provides the specific dimensions for each UPC magnification.

UPC sizes

GS1 compliance doesn’t have to be as hard as reading the 534 page GS1 General Specifications.  While these complimentary charts/tables assist with UPC color, many aspects of UPC barcoding and managing product data require a much more substantial resource.  Our GS1 Barcode Support provides personal, comprehensive service to your company.  Clients are assigned a personal consultant who will assist with GTIN assignments, barcode production, and product information. For companies who are new to UPC barcoding, the GS1 Barcode Service will assist with entire of process of obtaining a GS1 Company Prefix and creating barcodes. Your dedicated consultant will be able to assist with any UPC color and size questions you might have.