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

 

 

Branding Your Business – Logos and Image

In order to establish a strong business brand, you also need to create a strong business image. This will be used by potential customers or consumers to assess their own expectations about the company. There is a crucial moment in every marketing strategy that is aimed at attracting the customers’ attention to your product and you achieve this through your company image and brand, which is also why it is of extreme importance.

More than any type of impression, you want to create a positive image for your customers. This will help ensure that you are at the top of their list when considering buying a product similar to yours. This is just the initial phase and eventually your customers’ confidence in your brand will soon come into play.

Creating a Professional Logo

In the world of business, the logo represents who you are as a business. Hence, it should be able to capture and reflect the nature of your business at its most basic level. Identity and reputation should follow.

As a reflection of your company, your objective is to design a logo with a professional touch because it is what creates the initial impression in the mind of the consumer. These first impressions are almost always impossible to undo, so you cannot risk coming up with a mediocre design. If you are unsure how to execute a design, it is always best to hire a professional to do it for you. This will help you attain a more consistent design for your logo that reinforces the message that your company is trying to convey. In fact, most businesses (big or small) allot an investment for this and you should as well.

As simple as it may sound, designing a logo is an intricate process, which is why you need a professional to help realize your vision and visualize your business concepts. Among the elements that must be considered and combined effectively are colors, shapes, light, space, and so much more. Make sure to include this in your brand planning process.

Business Input Into The Design

Although you leave the designing job to the hands of a professional logo designer, this does not mean that you (the business owner) are eliminated from the formula. This is your business and it is your vision, therefore it is the most essential element in the logo creation process.

The logo design process involves gathering information and producing creative ideas that will be utilized by the designer in coming up with the design. Careful planning, competitive analysis and brainstorming of ideas is an essential step to take before jumping into the actual design process. You and the designer must work in a symbiotic manner – you can share your business input with the designer for them to translate a graphic representation of your ideas, while they can propose designing elements that will jive with your business identity.

Where To Get Creative Ideas?

When dealing with the technical aspect of marketing strategy, often the challenge is to produce creative ideas for your design. The key here is to stimulate your brain to arouse creative thoughts that will make your brand stand out and still maintain that professional image.

Here are great tips you can try to squeeze out those creative juices:

1.) Spend time reading to be able to get inspiration from various reading materials.

2.) Search the web and observe various sites you visit. Look at how the designs are produced and what kind of reaction it elicits from you.

3.) Ask your employees or other staff members for ideas. You can take a small idea and develop it into a valid design concept.

Image is such a vital element in the business brand, which is why it is your main objective to create a professional design that is going to last.