Taiwanese students bag design award for ‘color-changing’ stickers

Barcodiscount designed stickers that would change colors and numbers to reduce waste for supermarkets. (Photo courtesy of Barcodiscount/James Dyson Awards)

TAIPEI (The China Post) — Three students from the National Taipei University of Technology (臺北科技大學) recently took home the “Best of the Year” award at iF Design Talent Award 2020_1 for their innovative color-changing labeling stickers that help reduce waste from supermarkets.

Named Barcodiscount, the project design involves discount stickers that change colors automatically as products edge toward their expiration date. 

According to the students, the design was inspired by their observation of produce going to waste as supermarkets usually place discounts on food nearing expiration dates, but need staff to manually replace stickers which is “time-consuming and laborious”. 

For this reason, they came up with the stickers that can be activated when the label is attached to the product. 

According to Barcodiscount’s website, “the bottom layer is ‘no discount’ and becomes 20% off over time. Then, the upper layer, which is transparent, becomes a white background with the words 40% off while covering the bottom layer.”

A graph showing how the layers work. (Photo courtesy of Barcodiscount/iF Design Award)

The barcode also changes slightly as well, so they can be easily scanned at checkout with the correct discount amount, the students added.

“Barcodiscount only needs one sticker, and it reduces the burden on staffs’ workload and increases efficiency.”

Believing there to be a great incentive to consumers for buying discounted products, students Chang Yen-yu (張晏瑜), Huang Hsin-an (黃信銨) and Chen Ching-i (陳靜儀) wrote in their proposal that they hoped to emphasize it as buying discounted foods “reduce waste by an average of 33%, while revenues increase by an average of 6.3%.”

Barcodes will also change along with the colors to help cashiers scan the product correctly. (Photo courtesy of Barcodiscount/iF Design Award)

Their design was internationally recognized, and not only won the “National runner-up” for the U.K. James Dyson Award 2020 but it was also awarded “Best of the year” iF Design Talent, acknowledging it as an innovative design that is relevant to businesses and everyday life.

According to foreign media, Barcodiscount is looking to roll out the technology in Taiwan and promised to “pay attention to the color-changing technology development” to ensure their design can be realized in the future.