A Few Facts You May Not Know About QR Codes

By | July 19, 2010

QR codes are the hot topic lately. So I thought it might be fun to share a few facts about QR codes many people may not know.

1. QR codes can be in color. Pick one — red, green, purple. Just make sure the contrast is high enough for the readers to pick it up.

2. QR codes can be branded. Because codes can be incomplete (the percentage of allowable incompleteness varies based on the code), they can be branded. QR codes are showing up with logos inserted inside them more and more often.

3. QR codes are really a sub-category under 2D barcodes. 2D barcodes can be proprietary or non-proprietary. There are two primary types of non-proprietary codes used in the United States today — QR codes and Datamatrix. Other 2D codes, such as Microsoft Tag and BeeTag, are proprietary and require proprietary readers. Some proprietary readers can read generic QR codes, as well.

4. What’s the point of proprietary codes? For the marketer, they work reliably and consistently because they don’t have to be all things to all people, as non-proprietary codes do. They do one thing and they do it well. For the code developer, they provide a revenue stream based on sophisticated back-end services, such as tracking, integration, and 1:1 capabilities.

5. QR codes can be “smart.” They can read the location and characteristics of the phone being used to read them. Then they customize content based on location, time, and capabilities of the phone, among other characteristics.

And some people think QR codes are just little black-and-white boxes.

This information is excerpted from the report “QR Codes: What You Need to Know,” part of the Marketer’s Primer Series.

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6 thoughts on “A Few Facts You May Not Know About QR Codes

  1. Howie Fenton

    Great post Heidi. Another interesting fact is that some but not all QR Codes can contain variable data. Not all QR code generation software will create variable data QR codes. Two that I know of is InterlinkOne and Lytrod. Does anyone know of others?

  2. Russ Harlan

    PrintNet-T by GMC Software will create a variable data QR code.


  3. Thanh Nguyen

    Nice Information. Might be obvious but QR can have various Call to Actions. Besides call to URL or Youtube video, you can call to Maps, Social Media sites, SMS, or have contacts added to your smartphone. Also QR is being applied to everything from business cards, to magazines, posters, direct mail, brochures, billboards, CDs, etc.

  4. Hadrian

    I believe Printable’s FusionPro can create VD QR Codes.

  5. Nick Pride

    Some standalone code generators, like Barcode Generator from IT Edge, can also import a csv file and generate a list of barcodes, giving a very simple low-cost entry into variable data QR codes.

    Hadrian is right about FusionPro, although only in the version just released.

  6. Miriam O. Frawley

    Great post, Heidi. Let me add that you can change what the QR code can do without reprinting the QR code! So if you are first directing the consumer to a website and later want to send them a coupon, you don’t have to reprint the QR code or issue a new one – just change what you want it to do.

    I love QR codes. I believe they can help print become viable for more people.

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