From Visual Disturbance to Eye-Catcher: How to turn a 2D barcode into a design element

Whether it be on billboards, in magazines, on labels or packaging: 2D barcodes are catching our eyes all over the place.

But they don't exactly make a stylish impression. On the contrary. You notice them because they significantly disrupt the overall image. In most cases, they have not been integrated into the design concept and therefore give the impression of an out-of-place foreign object within the design. But it need not be that way, as Leonhard Kurz will demonstrate at this year's Drupa. The stamping foil manufacturer has developed diffractive 2D barcodes with an appealing aesthetic that enhances the value of the product. Rather than being printed, the barcode is applied as a silver colored stamping foil into which the actual code has been incorporated as a diffractive, holographic-like structure.

The barcode square can be integrated into a larger metallized design with further holographic details. The code could, for example, be combined with difficult-to-counterfeit optical security features. It would also be possible to integrate corporate design elements into the metallized area in order to harmoniously blend the integrated code into the brand image. Alternatively, the diffractive 2D code can be applied as a standalone single image which the consumer will immediately recognize as an authenticity feature, thereby reinforcing the brand value.

Internet-based identification system delivers product data
While Kurz's diffractive 2D codes cannot be compared with printed codes in terms of their appearance, they are comparable in terms of functionality. They can also be read both with a scanner or smartphone, and offer the same fast, ready access to mobile information. Kurz has installed an internet-based identification system called Secutrace that can deliver a wide range of product data for end consumers, dealers, customs officials or manufacturers of branded goods. This data can be accessed in real time via the 2D code. A purchaser, for example, could confirm the authenticity of a brand name product via their cell phone. The 2D code could also be used to access lottery tickets, loyalty programs, product information or interactive games.

Secutrace gives brand-name manufacturers the ability to access micro-marketing data and thereby accurately identify their target audiences and provide them with tailored offers. They can also trace the movement of the product through the entire supply chain. All code-specific queries are logged, analyzed and evaluated by the identification system. Brand-name manufacturers can access these reports at any time to give them greater insights into the movement of the product, and to enable them e.g. to more easily discover parallel sales.

To find out more about the diffractive barcode and the Secutrace identification system, visit the Kurz booth D70 in Hall 3.
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