Best and Worst Colors for Barcode Labels

When selecting colors for barcode labels, it’s essential that you select colors that are compatible with scanners. One reason why barcodes can be hard to scan is color, or more specifically, the lack of contrast in colors. If there isn’t enough contrast between the background and bar colors, barcode scanners will have a hard time reading it. Let’s see which colors do and don’t work for barcode labels so you won’t get caught off guard by an unscannable barcode. After you’ve designed your barcode labels, head over to our online pricing tool for a free, instant quote!

Tips for Selecting Colors For Barcode Labels

The important thing to remember when selecting colors for a barcode label is the contrast – that’s why the combination of a white background and black barcode is the most recommended color combination. Scanners read barcodes best when the background reflects light and the bars don’t reflect any. Scanners have a hard time picking up yellow and red colors because they can’t “see” those colors, but black and blue based colors are much easier for a scanner to pick up. It’s important to use light colors for the background and dark colors for the barcode. Below are color combinations that work for barcode labels and colors that can cause scanning issues.

Color Combinations That Work

Black, dark blue, dark green, and dark brown work well for barcode labels as long as there’s enough color contrast between the bars and background.

Barcode Colors That Work

Avoid These Colors

If the background and bar colors are both too light or too dark, the scanner won’t be able to read the barcode label.

Barcode Colors That Don't Work

If you decide to use a color combination that’s not the basic white background/black bars, we suggest you test the barcode label with several types of scanners to ensure readability. Scanners can have different color calibrations so testing your barcode labels a good idea. Our customer service reps would be happy to help you choose a great color combination that will help you avoid potential scanning issues.