QR Codes on Coffee Mugs?

By | July 1, 2011

We talk about the great uses of QR codes, but have you thought about using them on coffee mugs? There was a recent discussion in an industry discussion group that discussed the challenges and opportunities associated with this application.

The challenge is the curvature of the cup. QR codes are designed to be scanned flat (hence why, for magazine advertisements, you have to keep them out of the gutter).  QR code scanning software is not designed to correct for distortion.

Among the options:

1. Shrink the code so that there is minimal curvature.

2. ‘Squeeze’ the QR code. Keep the height but reduce the width. One participant suggested that the width should be shrunk around one third.

3. Use a higher level of error correction (say 25%).

4. Keep the information in the code to an absolute minimum. Use URL shorteners to simplify the code.

5. Put the QR code on the inside bottom.

6. The reflectivity of the mug surface can drastically reduce the contrast. Use a matte finish on the cup to improve readability.

QR codes are successfully being used on a variety of beverage containers, including wine bottles, Pepsi and Coke bottles, and many others. It can be done. Just keep it simple.

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