Ever see an odd pixelated square graphic like this one on a web page, print magazine or as someone’s social media site avatar? If you haven’t yet I guarantee you will now. This type of graphic is called a QR Code and something you’ll want to take note of and to creatively use in the future.
What is a QR Code & Why Use It?
QR stands for Quick Response and essentially are bar codes, a different variation to what you find on grocery labels in the store. In essence QR codes are a visual representation of a web URL. They’re used in print and on web pages to help people load a web page from their camera enabled mobile phone. This is particularly helpful to transition viewers quickly from the world of print to the web.
How Does One Use A QR Code?
The simplest use-case of utilizing a QR code is as follows:
- Viewer sees a QR Code on a print ad or a web page
- Viewer loads a QR Code scanning application on your mobile phone
- Viewer photographs the QR Code with your mobile phone
- The QR Code scanning application then provides the viewer with a URL and the option to load it on your phone’s web browser.
The aforementioned use case is the basic way to use a QR code, but there are many creative applications in using a QR Code. Case in point is the C.A.O.S Living book (see below) where QR Codes were used to create a book that never grows old. There are several interesting ways to use QR Codes as they can be included on business cards, online avatars, promotional mailers, guerrilla marketing, tattoos…. OK maybe you shouldn’t use it as a tattoo. Recently I made use of a WordPress plug-in that auto generates QR codes for every blog post on my blog. If you look on the right side of my blog I now have a section titled “QR Code To Go”. The purpose of this is to allow people to transition reading my blog from their computer to their phone if they’re on the go and need to be mobile.
As for what QR Code app to use… there are numerous QR Code readers now available in the iTunes and Android marketplaces. Take a look to find one that will work on your phone. It’s a great app to have on hand.
How Do I Make A QR Code?
The simplest way to create a QR Code is to access one of the many online QR Code generator web sites now available. I personally use the Kaywa QR Code generator. From this site and equivalents you can enter a URL and download an image file of your QR Code in various sizes. You can then use the image as you see fit to direct people to the URL entered into the generator.
QR Codes are definitely growing in popularity and they’re worth exploring if you haven’t already begun to do so. They’re big in Japan and they’re growing in popularity across the globe. If you come up with a creative use of a QR Code or know of a great example be sure to let me know in the comments. It’d be great to share some inspirational uses with others. If QR Codes are new to you then definitely take a look at the videos and resource links below.
How QR Codes Work – Scanning QR Codes Found on NY Streets
Timeless Book Video
Additional Resources & Reading on QR Codes
- More Details on the Basics of QR Codes
- How to Scan a QR Code on an iPhone
- How to Scan a QR Code on an Android Mobile Phone
- QR Code Features (For the Technically Minded)
- QR Code Best Practices
- QR Code Generator
- Tips on Advertising with QR Codes
- 33 Ways Photographers Can Use QR Codes
Who’s Scanning QR Codes (via Jumpscan & Mashable)
[tags]photography, marketing, qr code[/tags]