QR Codes: What are they and what do they do?

QR Codes - Design Lab 10

Have you heard of QR codes or QR Code Readers (or the mobile apps that read them)?  Maybe you’ve just seen some weird looking images start popping up in magazine advertisements, t-shirts, flyers or posters?

Whatever the case, if you’ve wondered what they are and why you’ve started to see them, read on!

QR (stands for Quick Response) codes are two-dimensional images that can be scanned by smart phones and that can contain text, contact information, connect to a wireless network, or open a web page in the phone’s browser by encoding the information in the image.  They can even contain pre-formatted text messages!  This makes it possible for people to link a print ad (or any other print material) to the internet and their mobile device.

While all of this may seem strange and even a little unbelievable, QR codes have actually been around for a while.  They were originally created in Japan in 1994 and used to keep track of inventory.  In the last several years creative uses for the QR codes began to emerge…

In 2007, the Pet Shop Boys released a single criticizing the British national identity card concept. The single came complete with a QR code linked to the critique.

In 2009, QR codes were created for character design and promotional materials in the Shane Acker film 9.

Within the last year, QR codes have emerged as a possible mainstream marketing trend, but it’s still in the early stages of popularity.  You can expect this to be a growing trend!

A standard QR code can contain up to 7089 characters!  The possibilities are endless…

  • a link to your website
  • real estate flyers
  • a vCard
  • coupons
  • “secret” store front sales
  • pre-printed / formatted text messages from your clients phone requesting you contact them
  • an easy way to “check-in” to social media site
  • and the list goes on!

Free QR Readers are available for almost every mobile device. You can find one by clicking on the Application Store icon on your mobile device or follow the link below to access the application store for your specific device online.  Once you arrive at the App Store search for “Free QR Code Reader” and download the application.

Android App Market

Apple App Store

Blackberry App World

Windows App Marketplace


Now, try out the reader on the image below:

 

qrcode

 

 

qrcode