The Global Language of Business

GS1 Architecture

Ensuring the technical integrity of the GS1 system, as well as the consistent and efficient inter-operation of all the various GS1 standards, is of great importance and the GS1 Architecture publications are one of the main tools to help achieve this. A brief overview can be found in the GS1 system architecture flyer.

GS1 Architecture Publications

The GS1 Architecture Principles (Release 4, Jun 2020)
Sets out the architectural principles that underpin the GS1 system.  

The GS1 System Architecture (Release 9, Feb 2020)
Defines and describes the GS1 system architecture, shows how each part of the system is related and outlines the underlying technical foundations that have guided their design. Learn more about the importance of the GS1 System Architecture in this short video.  

The GS1 System Landscape (Release 8, Feb 2019)
Provides a comprehensive inventory of the GS1 standards and catalogues and classifies them into topic areas - this document is no longer maintained as GS1 System Architecture has been updated to include a summary of the current GS1 standards and guideline.

Watch the Architecture videos

Intro to the GS1 Architecture - Gain an understanding of the GS1 Architectural Principles by watching this recorded short recorded webinar.

A series of short videos to:

Request for finding

The GS1 Architecture Group is available to respond to architectural “requests for finding (RFF)” submitted by members of the GSMP community.


Click here to learn all about the Request for Findings process 


Click here to submit a Request for Findings Form


Data Carriers and GS1 - Feb 2021

This Finding describes and categorises GS1 and non-GS1 data carriers, describes new data carriers adoption conditions per GS1 Policy B11 and summarises how various non-GS1 data carriers related to the adoption conditions. 

  • Status: This Finding provides recommendations to GS1 on potential updates to standards, architecture and policy.

The Future Encoding Format of the Electronic Product Code (EPC) - Nov 2020

This Finding addresses the architectural questions around the use of EPC Tag Data Standard "parsing" (restructuring/reformatting/spitting) of GS1 identification keys in the EPC suite of standards. 

  • Status: This Finding provides guidance and recommendations to GS1.

Analysis and recommendations, GPC and GDSN - Apr 2020

This Finding addresses the architectural questions around the use of GPC (Global Product Classification) in the GDSN (Global Data Synchronisation Network) and the potential duplication. 

  • Status: This Finding provides guidance and recommendations to GS1 in general and, in particular, to GSMP groups working with GPC and GDSN standards.

GS1 Id key allocation via third parties - Jan 2018

This Finding addresses the architectural impact of allocating blocks of GS1 identification keys to third parties who allocate them to end-users. It also recommends the development of a GS1 policy in this area. 

  • Status: This Finding provides guidance to GS1 GO and MOs considering contractual agreements with third parties regarding the allocation of GS1 identification keys

GTIN Reuse – Jan 2017
This Finding addresses the question of GTIN reuse and includes the conclusion 'The architectural position is that GTINs should not be reused'. 

  • Status: This Finding provides guidance helping GSMP and GS1 governance groups faced with this question

Typing within the GS1 System – Mar 2015
This Finding addresses the question 'how can a subset of relevant objects with specific same characteristics be detected in real-time in case of automated mass detection of a large number of similar objects which are identified with the same GS1 Key?'

  • Status: This Finding provides guidance helping GSMP groups faced with this question

Using external identifiers in the GS1 System – Nov 2014 
The GS1 Transport & Logistics community submitted the Request For Findings on "how to integrate external identifiers for transport equipment (such as BIC codes (containers) and EVNs (rail vehicles)) in the GS1 System?". This Finding provides guidance and recommendations for GSMP groups to address such requests to recognise external identifiers in the GS1 System.

  • Status: This Finding provides guidance helping GSMP groups faced with this question

Attributes associated with multiple GS1 ID Keys – April 2014
The question raised was can a system that has been programmed to associate attribute data with a particular key, also identify the same attribute data with a different GS1 key and if so what is the impact on existing systems? This Finding scopes the issue and provides the framework for GSMP groups to address such questions.

  • Status: This Finding provides guidance helping GSMP groups faced with this question

GS1 Company Prefix usage and definition in all GS1 Standards -Sept 2015 (Release 1.2)
The GS1 Company Prefix is a fundamental building block of the GS1 System. There is, however, no formal specification (character set, minimum and maximum lengths, construction, restrictions, etc.). This Finding catalogues the usage in various GS1 System components and provides clear recommendations for improvement and clarity.

  • Status: closed The finding was broadly adopted in the GS1 General Specifications 2017

Use of the term Brand Owner in GS1 ID Key assignment - Dec 2012
For historic reasons the term ‘brand owner’ has been defined as the ‘The party that is responsible for allocating GS1 System Identification Keys’. With the introduction of new GS1 ID Keys, the term ‘brand owner’ is sometimes misleading and this Finding scopes the issue and makes recommendations to improve.

  • Status: closed The finding was broadly adopted in the GS1 General Specifications 2017

GTIN allocation when not assigned at source - Dec 2012  
Sometimes products are not assigned a GTIN by the brand owner at source and an issue arises where two, or more, importers of these products wish to assign a GTIN prior to commercialisation. This Finding outlines the potential solutions available.

  • Status: Closed. These issues are being considering as part of the broader GS1 Digital and GTIN on the Web initiatives.

Compatibility of GS1 EANCOM and GS1 XML for non-transactional messages – Aug 2011 
The compatibility of the two supported message standards, GS1 EANCOM and GS1 XML, particularly with regard to master data synchronization was questioned. This Finding outlines the recommendations on the use of each in particular with respect to the synchronisation of master data through GDSN and connected data pools.

  • Status: Closed. This Finding provides the Architectural framework for co-existence

Use of GRAI in eCom Trade Messages - June 2011 

During the development of guidelines for Management of Reusable Transport Items (RTIs) with eCom messages, questions were raised on the use of the Global Returnable Asset Identifier (GRAI) when ordering Reusable Transport Items. This Finding clarifies that the GTIN is the only GS1 Identification Key recommended.

  • Status: Closed. All recommendations have been implemented

GS1 ICOM (Integrated Communication) - Jan 2011 
A description of how types of business data and modes of communication are integrated in the GS1 system.

  • Status: Closed

Who are members of the GS1 Architecture?

The GS1 Architecture Group members include representatives from End Users, Solution Providers, GS1 Member Organisations and Global Office. The roles and responsibilities of the GS1 Architecture Group are defined in the GSMP Process Manual. This group reports to the Board Committee for Standards (BCS) within the GSMP framework.

The list of GSMP Governance Group Members is available in the GSMP Management Report

Who are the GS1 Architecture Liaisons?

The GS1 Architecture Group designates a liaison for each GSMP work group. The primary role of the GS1 Architecture Liaison is to take an ambassador role with an emphasis on the GS1 Architecture Principles. The GS1 Architecture Liaison list is dynamic and updated regularly as new Mission Specific Work Groups are established and the latest version is always available here.

Willing to join the GS1 Architecture Group?

The commitment includes bi-monthly calls of one hour and a half on Wednesday mornings (Eastern US time) and two physical meetings per year at the Global Standards Event. AG members must also dedicate appropriate time to prepare for the meetings and to contribute to the AG work items. If you would like to be considered for AG nomination, read the member qualifications, and committee responsibilities in the AG Nomination Form.