12 Creative Barcode Designs That (Amazingly) Work

Posted by Harshad

12 Creative Barcode Designs That (Amazingly) Work

12 Creative Barcode Designs That (Amazingly) Work

Posted: 07 Mar 2014 07:01 AM PST

The barcode is one of the most unexplored designs right after QR code, due to the misconception that the design is immutable and just plain boring to look at. Fact of the matter is, not only can their lines be twisted for creative purposes, but when it’s treated equally with other design subjects, the barcode has the capability to highlight and make the product stand out from the rest.

creative barcode
(Image Source: Steve Simpson)

Don’t take our word for it. Some design visionaries have gone ahead and breathed life into barcodes in ways neither you nor I can imagine. Here are 15 unique barcode designs (that work!). Get ready to be impressed and tell us your favorite one!

Sweet Chilli Sauce. If creativity is poured into it, a barcode can become a viral medium to visualize the brand, like this piece. (Image Source: Steve Simpson)

sweet chilli sauce

BBQ Sauce. Fun and charming and best of all, it works. (Image Source: Steve Simpson)

bbq sauce

Inferno Sauce. A well-illustrated barcode draws a serious amount of attention from such limited space. (Image Source: Steve Simpson)

inferno sauce

Snappy Flossers. Running out of ideas? Just integrate the product into the barcode design! (Image Source: Steve Simpson)

snappy flossers

3 Cows 2 Cats. Sometimes, you don’t need to change anything, just add an amusing cat and the barcode is now an attention-grabber! (Image Source: Olga Mosina)

3 cows 2 cats

Cordel. Barcodes can be fun if you want them to be, although it’s better for the bottom part to be flat for higher scannability. (Image Source: Vanessa G. Ferreira, Juliane Cristelle, Rodolfo Rodrigo Oliveira Pinto, Lilianne Marcondes)


Faber Castell. And with some color, the barcode fine art is born! You would need a brilliant mind like Filipe Daniel’s to pull this off though. (Image Source: Filipe Daniel)

faber castell

Boer & Brit. A majestic barcode for a noble brand? Not a problem, sir. (Image Source: Fanakalo)

boer and brit

Tree Root. Just something simplistic with smart execution is enough for a win with most barcodes. (Image Source: Fanakalo)

tree root

Electric Guitar. As long as the bottom part is flat, anything could be a perfect subject for a barcode design! (Image Source: Fanakalo)

electric guitar

Tuna. Who says you can’t express motion in barcode? (Image Source: Penélope Lira)


City. You wouldn’t think an artwork like this could be scanned like a normal barcode, but yes, it is possible. (Image Source: Christian Usher)



10 (More) Cool Biking Gadgets For The Avid Cyclist

Posted: 07 Mar 2014 05:01 AM PST

We’re more conscious of our health now more than ever and one of the best way to get some exercise into our lives is to take the bike out for a spin. Grab your bicycle out from the garage, go for a leisurely cycle and enjoy the wonderful things that mother nature has to offer. If you cycle often there are a few things that can make the cycling experience more pleasant and convenient, and today’s post is all about cool biking gadgets to help you do that.

Ranging from a mounted bottle opener to disco ball helmet, you’d be amazed at some of the things you can take along on your bicycle ride. Who needs a car when riding a tech-equiped bike is much more interesting?

The Bikepod by Photojojo. Did you ever think that your bike's handlebars could be an amazing tripod? With this awesome bikepod from Photojojo, now you can shoot videos and take pictures as you ride along. [$25 - $30]

FIXA Bike Shelf by Chrome. If you're an avid cyclist who is looking for a good way to store your bike, then this bike shelf is just perfect. You can even put your necessities (keys, wallet) on the top shelf. [$400]

LA FLÈCHE Handlebars. This vintage bike accessory will add a touch of personality to your bike. Made with wood, aluminum, and brass, it not only looks classic but would last forever. [$140]

Bike Frame Storage by Yeongkeun Jeong. This handy attachment transforms the main triangle of the bike frame to help store your belongings. Even better, the flexibility of the band allows it to mold into the shape of your storage.

Bluetooth Bike Speaker by SleekSpeak. These speakers were made for cyclists who love music. Combine two of your favourite things into one, and listen to your tunes on the go. Just put them anywhere on your bike and then connect it to your phone using Bluetooth. [$69]

The InCog Biketool by Joshua Brassé. This bike multitool with stylish finishing is made to be hidden in the handlebar. Best of all, it's designed to fit almost any type of handlebar. [$60]

Bike Umbrella by Uberhood. With the tagline "Be cool, Stay dry, Keep riding!", this umbrella will do just that. It may look a little funny, but this umbrella for bicycles will shield you from rain or sun. [$59]

Foldnfix Mudguard by Full Windsor. This quick fix mudguard can be clipped on or taken off with ease. It protects the rider from dirt or raindrops. The fenders are available in black, red, blue, or yellow to fit your bicycle perfectly. [£13.49]

Quad Lock iPhone Bike Mount Kit. It's the lightest and strongest iPhone bike mount on the market. Now, you don’t have to worry about where to put your iPhone when you're going on your trip. Just don't touch it on the go, keep your eyes on the road, and cycle safe! [$64]

6 PACK BIKE BAG by DONKEY. Keep your bottles silent and protected on the way home from the store with this awesome 6 pack bike bag. [€39.95]

Fuuvi Charly Bicycle Bell. Who said that bike bells should only be silver? This stylishly vivid bike bell will give you the feel of being in an old French film. [$24]

Disco Ball Bike Helmet by Natalie Walsh. With this disco ball inspired helmet, you can turn each bike ride into a super groovy event.

USB LIGHT by Bookman. Safety on the road is extremely important, especially at night. This compact bike USB light is easy to attach to the bicycle, is really bright and fits any model. [€39]

Bicycle Can Cage. This bicycle can cage will keep your beverage safe while riding, so you can quench your thirst anywhere and anytime. [$72]

Num Lock by Dong Young Seo, Ho Sun Kim & Yea Jin Kang. This is a really cool locking system where the bike itself becomes the lock. With this attachment, you can leave your ride on the street without the fear of it being stolen.

Bicycle Mounted Bottle Opener by Duo Chromoly. The Road Popper can pop the cap off your beverage anytime, even while you’re cruising on your bike. The design attaches directly to the rails on the underside of the saddle to help keep your bicycle looking crisp. [$38.58 - $42]

Bike Planters. Both bike riding and planting a garden are eco-friendly. With these awesome bike planters, you can now plant your favourite flowers on the go! [$45]

Helmet Hero Wide Camera by GoPro. GoPro Hero3 is a new flagship that houses the GoPro Hero3 (+ Black Edition). It is 20% smaller than its predecessor, and the battery life has been increased by 30%. [$399.99]

PUBLIC Bell. One more cool bike bell in this collection! This bell is available in different candy color schemes such as pink, blue, orange, and more. [$10]

Grip Rings. Here’s another fun way to make your precious bicycle more personal. These colored grip rings are available in various colors, which can be mixed and matched to create unique custom combinations. Each set has 7 rings that are secured with a locking bar-end plug. [$32]


How You Are Getting Your Work Seen (Or Not) By The Right Clients

Posted: 07 Mar 2014 02:01 AM PST

Have you wondered why, even after doing everything “right” — having a website, circulating through all the social media channels — you’re just not getting as much notice as a designer as you feel you should be? It probably has something to do with the approach you’ve been using to market yourself and your work.

Today, we’re skewering each of the bad, ineffective ways designers try to market themselves, and looking at alternatives to try instead that have a much higher success rate.

What Doesn’t Work: Endless Social Media Followers

Yes, it’s true. While social media can be a great way to connect with other designers and professionals in and around your industry, it usually provides pretty dismal returns when compared with other methods of getting yourself out there. There are many popular designers with thousands following them on Twitter or Facebook, yet the majority of their business comes from elsewhere.

Sure, you may get a few clients trickling in through social media. In fact, I’d say it’s likely if you have any kind of substantial following. But if you really want your pick of the most ideal clients that are best suited to your business, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

What Works: Email (And Snail Mail) Marketing

You have to go to where your clients are. These days, there is no better place to reach potential clients than in their inbox. Creative, opt-in email marketing is an easy and effective way to promote just about any type of business, freelance design included. If you’re courting brick and mortar businesses, this tactic can even extend to snail mail.

An interesting mailer showcasing your abilities, even if you do strictly web or digital design, can catch the attention of whoever sorts the mail at the company. And if you think mail room employees don’t share interesting things with the rest of the office… um, have you ever worked in an office? Trust me, they live for that stuff.

What Doesn’t Work: Guest Posting About Design

Guest posting can be an effective way for you to get noticed by the design world. But, like with social media, its effect is severely limited when trying to reach actual clients — people who want to pay you for your services.

Think for a minute about who usually reads written blogs about design. That’s right: other designers. In other words, your competition. Unless your services include writing about design, doing guest post after guest post probably won’t do much for you in the client acquisition department.

What Works: Getting Seen On Prominent Design Sites & Curated Lists

Design clients, by and large, don’t spend much time reading up on the industry through blogs. They do, however, spend plenty of time looking through examples of beautiful design work. Sites like Dribbble and Behance, as well as top curated lists on Tumblr and Ffffound, draw in potential clients in huge numbers.

If your work is out there, getting seen in the best places, you have a much better chance of someone finding you and offering you work.

What Doesn’t Work: Blogging For Other Designers

If you have your own website, it normally follows these days that you have a blog as well. Blogging is one of those things that can either help or hurt you in the search for clients. It depends on the type of services you offer, and more importantly, what you choose to blog about.

If you blog mostly about new developments in the design industry, or if you offer tutorials and other tips to help your fellow designers, you won’t really be speaking to potential clients all that much. Again, these types of topics are of less use to clients as they are to other designers.

What Works: Blogging For Your Actual Clients

If you really want to capture clients’ attention through your blog, you’ll have to write about subjects that are of interest to them, not to designers like yourself. How to hire a designer, what to look out for when negotiating your first contract with a freelancer — these are the types of things potential design clients want to read about.

They also want to read about the impact of design on their own industry, which is another reason why it’s so important to have a niche to cater to.

What Doesn’t Work: Business Card Free-For-Alls

Think about this: how many business cards have you accumulated over the years? Now, ask yourself how many you’ve actually used. That’s what I thought.

99% of the time, business cards do nothing but sit at the bottom of someone’s drawer, or languish in their wallet, bag, or pocket until they’re cleared out 6 months later and dumped in the trash. You’d think that such a waste of paper would be more effective at getting people work, but alas. It’s typically just a waste, period.

What Works: Being More Selective

The business cards that do get used are those that have a real relationship attached to them. They weren’t just handed out willy-nilly to anyone who asked for one, or forced on people who didn’t care either way. It’s important to make people eager to have your contact information. People value information much more if they are the ones seeking it out.

What Do You Think?

What methods of marketing yourself have been most effective for you? Got any interesting experiences or counter-examples you’d like to share? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.


Funding Your Business: Self-financing vs Finding Investors

Posted: 06 Mar 2014 09:01 PM PST

One of the main problems in starting up your own business is in how to start off and then stay afloat financially. There are essentially two ways to do this: fund the business yourself or get investors to fund it for you.

Many startup entrepreneurs believe that it is wise to get investors who will take interest in your project, rather than push your own funds into it. Venture capitalist funding will lead to tax savings, and more importantly, it exerts less pressure on entrepreneurs. However, it takes a lot of effort to get someone else to trust in your business skills and bet on you with their money.

Plans And Pressure

For an investor to part with their own hard-earned money, you have to know your plans inside out and convince them that they will get returns even when that is out of your control. If one resorts to self-funding, they are pushing their own money into a startup project, which could lead to a pressure cooker situation, diverting their focus from doing a good job with the business.

Entrepreneurs, like the rest of us, perform best when their mind is clear, so they can make business decisions clearly. Self financing might hamper optimum functioning of entrepreneurs, although there are people who thrive under pressure. Let’s look at some of the factors you have to consider before determining the best route to take when it comes to financing your new business venture.

Going with Investor Funding

For what it’s worth, it is never easy to get investors to take risk with your startup, even though sometimes it could be the only choice you have to get your business off the ground. Investors are never willing to part with their money. And they will ask a lot of questions, and investigate your claims and facts before unlocking their reserves.

However, if you have a good idea with great potential and can convince them that they should invest on you than on another business opportunity, there’s no reason why they would turn you away. It all boils down to your business pitch.

Pitching the idea to a potential investor involves a long and tedious preparation process. You will need a business plan and a perfect outline on how you will eventually run your business, break even and eventually profit in order to get investor funding.

Once a startup is launched, a lot of work goes into carrying out the duties as the decision-maker. Having one less thing to worry about – finances being no less important than the other aspects of a business – will help entrepreneurs be more organized and mindful of their business responsibilities.

There is also the push from the expectations of your stakeholders, and always having to live up to those expectations. It helps power the thirst for success and for growth.

Going with self-Financing

Self-financing on the other hand can make you laidback, and at times allows you to stay in a stagnant position where you expect things to happen on its own. You don’t have to answer to anyone. You are your own boss, and therefore are more likely to take it easy.

Although, you might be very eager to achieve success, it’s harder to maintain the level of motivation for a longer period of time, unless you are extremely disciplined.

That said, self financing can work for some startup entrepreneurs, if they know how to make it work for their business, and if they have strong backup plans. It also allows them more freedom to make their own choices, without having to go through or answer to their stakeholders.

Ways To Self-Finance

Self-financing can come in many different forms. If you want to embark on a family business, you can partner up with your family members, which is the usual choice to go with because if you can’t trust your family members, who can you trust?

Alternatively, you can find business partners and split the business (and the capital) a certain way that is mutually accepted by all parties. There are also options to get business loans from financial institutions or startup grants by the government.

Current funding trends

The arrival of venture capitalists and other investors in the form of banks and financial institutions have led even those with enough initial funds to seek investors. It is not just because self financing can be risky, but because investor funding can now come without any form of collateral.

All they need from the entrepreneurs is an in-depth look into the background of the fund seeker and of course, the winning business idea.

This kind of funding could be seen in offers by top business management schools, sometimes extended to undergraduates who have yet to break out into the working world. These funds are dispatched because the investors – the schools themselves – have full faith in their academic success, and they believe that with the proper motivation, these ideas can lead to great entrepreneurial success.

The best option

While the best option to go with is still to get an external party to invest in your business idea, getting an investor to say yes to your idea is about as hard as getting your busniess off the ground. The determining factor lies on the entrepreneurs themselves.

Can you find investors who share the same vision as yours? Can you convince your investors to appreciate the potential that is in your idea? Or would you prefer to have the freedom to experiment with your company direction and succeed, as well as fail, on your own dime?



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