Saturday, August 6, 2011

Quickly Responding (this month)

I had seen QR codes, but I had never used them. This past month it seems like all of our clients are requesting QR codes on brochures, posters, and ads. I have had to learn about these little codes for my clients. QR stands for Quick Response Code often linking from the code using a mobile app to connect to a website. Up to 7,089 characters can be encoded in these little squares, where as a traditional barcode is only 20. It carries information vertically and horizontally, which is how it can hold so much information. It even has error correction built in. Data can be restored if then is up to 30% of code words are damaged.

These codes are easiest to use if they are black and white, but as long as the contrast is high enough the code can be read in any color. But after experiencing a frustrating QR scan from the newspaper with 4 colors I would suggest keeping the code simple. It is great to have a pretty code, but if it doesn't function it is pointless. Since 30% of the data can be damaged you can take some risk in creating images within the code to give it an extra detail and design.

Shelby Montross of Meadowlark Creative.
I love the simplicity the QR code enables
this business card to have.

There are several sites out there that allow you to generate QR codes, and usually give you a choice of file type, size, and sometimes: color. QR codes can be great to put on business cards, to drive contacts to your portfolio or website. They are also good for  promotional pieces, such as posters where people can link to the event site or a location to buy tickets. It is most helpful on long/specific website addresses. If it is something short and easy  to remember: like, it is probably not worth the extra effort to develop a code.

There are a variety of mobile codes that you can use (but not all apps can read all codes). Some codes  to choose from are QR code, Color Code (microsoft tag), Shot Code, Maxi Code, Aztec Code, Tillcode, Semacode, and EZCode. QR codes were developed by DENSO Wave, and prominent in Japan and has taken longer to become popular in the United States. Has anyone else experienced an increased use of this QR code, particularly in your own work?

Some good resources to check out if you are interested in using QR codes in any marketing that you are doing:

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