Understanding GS1 Part 1: IMAGES
All over our website is GS1 this and GS1 that. For those in the industry, GS1 is basic jargon, but for those with no prior experience or familiarity with the system, it can sound very complex and confusing.
To put it simply, GS1 is a set of rules for business communication. The name itself refers to one global system of standards and it includes unique identification codes and data for individual products, services, and locations.
In addition to identification and classification codes, the GS1 system also provides image guidelines called “GS1 Product Image Specification”. These specifications define everything from image type and resolution to file naming and final deliverable.
PVS uses GS1 image guidelines as a foundation to our default photography and file naming process. Below is the most common set of images of a consumer product that have been defined by the GS1 System:
The first row of images is called Planogram images. A planogram is a diagram or map that is used in a retail store to determine the placement of products on the shelves. These images are photographed straight on and include all six sides of the product. The Front image is the most often used, however, the other images are still important.
The second row in the illustration above shows two different categories of images as defined by the GS1 System. A Marketing image set is a set of three images photographed at a slight downward angle. As the name indicates, these images are often used for marketing purposes, including in an online store or a grocery store circular.
Secondary Product Images or Informational images can include a variable number of images. Specifically, for a food item as show in the example above, the typical image set will include the barcode, ingredients, and nutrition facts. Additional images that fall under this category include Supplement Facts, Drug Facts, and Guarantee Analysis panels.
Depending on the needs of the end user, a full GS1 image-set could include all levels of packaging. Packaging levels include the Case, Inner Pack, and the Retail or Consumer unit. Below is a set of images that might be included for your typical energy/protein bar.
Within the last few years, 360˚ Spins have been added to the GS1 image guidelines. Home Depot, Lowes, Amazon, and Walmart are all some of the big players who are actively using 360˚ spins across their eCommerce platforms.
A 360˚ spin is a set of (usually) 24 still images, taken in 15˚ increments around a product. Using special software, the images are “stitched” together, to become an interactive video. GS1 requires 24 frames, but sets as small as 12 and as large as 72 are possible. To learn more about how 360˚ spins work, check out our How Does a 360˚Spin Work blog post.
Although our examples have all been food-related, GS1 is applicable to any consumer-based trade item that is packaged or labeled with a scannable retail barcode. This includes anything from detergent, to toys, to sporting goods, and anything in between.
In short, because GS1 is global, any product photographed under GS1 will look identical, regardless of where in the world the photography was done or who photographed it. It regulates consistency across the globe and allows for a more efficient and clear business world.
But all that GS1 offers does not end with commonly referenced product images. In Part 2, we will take you down the path of GS1 file naming. Although “file naming” sounds fairly to-the-point and dry, we will prove to you how it is so much more. Stay tuned to learn more!
Does your product photography provider understand and follow these guidelines? Click here to submit a request to speak with one of our experts to learn more about GS1 and the services PVS Studios offers.
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