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Using QR Codes in Designs

written by: Amber Neely•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 4/20/2012

QR codes are the up and coming new way to share information and even hyperlink physical objects in the real world, and luckily everyone can do it. If you're thinking about including QR codes in a project design, this article will help you figure out some good ideas and tips on how to do it.

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    Amber Neely on Bright Hub QR Code Business cards are small, so why don't you maximize the information you can provide to a user? Using a QR code that goes to a site designed for mobile phones can help to provide an online resume, portfolio, and any other helpful information that you can provide to potential customers or employees. And this doesn't limit itself to business cards. You can do this on any small, physical object where space for information is limited. Informational pamphlets, food packaging, and item tags are all fantastic places to put a QR code.

    QR Codes have recently become popular in art as well, so the concept of including them in T-shirt designs, poster designs, and even paintings as an Easter egg (aka: a special hidden treat) is not unheard of. You can include this in paintings as a surprise second part, games as secret hidden messages that can help finish an objective, or even use a QR code in a t-shirt design that takes the wearer and friends to a special website where they can download free wallpapers and other freebies.

    Sample Business Card 

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    Tips & Tricks for QR Codes in Design

    If you plan on using QR codes in any kind of design, you're going to have to remember a few things. The system is not 100% full-proof, and you're going to have to follow a few rules to get the most out of your design.

    • First and foremost, remember to make sure your QR code is an acceptable size for your project. For example, if you're going to put it on the corner of a business card, it doesn't have to be very large. However, if you buy advertising space on a park bench, you're going to need to scale it up. Using a program like Photoshop or the Gimp will make quick work of this.
    • Be sure to use crisp and clear colors for QR codes. Changing the colors isn't forbidden, and as long as there is a good amount of contrast, a QR code reader should be able to decode the information and display whatever it contains. However, make sure that the black part of the QR codes are the darker color, and the white is a light color. Not enough contrast in the QR code can cause them to be rendered as unreadable. Of course, you can always test it before production by scanning it with your own phone.
    • Try to provide the code at the most straightforward angle. While most QR code readers are able to read and process QR codes at some pretty extreme angles, a flat, straightforward view is the best way to be sure that your QR code will be read.
    • Use crisp lines when possible. QR codes are laid out in a grid format, and insuring that the QR code reader can pick up on that easily is very important. Try not to distort it with any effects, such as a ripple effect or a noise effect, which could possibly create a bit of confusion for QR code readers.

    By following these tips and tricks, you'll easily be able to place QR codes in your project with ease and confidence that they will work.

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    Resources

    Reference: Authors personal experience in Graphics Design and Desktop Publishing

    Images: Both images belong to the author.

Implementing QR Codes in Your DTP Designs

QR codes are images similar to barcodes that can be scanned by many mobile devices. In this series, we'll explain what QR codes are in greater detail and give tips on how to implement them into your desktop publishing designs.
  1. What's a QR Code?
  2. Using QR Codes in Designs
  3. Finding a QR Code Generator
  4. Tips for Printing QR Codes