What is a QR Code?

You might have heard that Quick Response Codes or simply QR Codes are set to become the latest trend in technology but you don’t actually know what a QR Code is!? Quick Response Codes (QR codes) are simply a type of two-dimensional barcode that can only be read using smartphones or other devices that are dedicated to QR reading. The devices that can read a QR code connect directly to texts, emails, websites, phone numbers and many more! You might have accessed this website by scanning a QR code!

Although QR codes are very popular in Japan and across the East, they are slowly becoming popular in the West. Before long you will start to see the codes on shop displays, product packaging, printed and billboard advertisements, in emails as well as on websites. The possibility of QR codes being used for both marketing and promotion of products, brands, services as well as any other thing is very high.

Why do you have to care about QR Codes?

Many people now own smartphones and the number keeps on rising on a daily basis. Consequently, QR Codes can have a huge impact on the society, particularly in the advertising, marketing and customer service with plenty of product info just one scan away.

How is a QR Code different from a normal 1D UPC barcode?

We normally think that a barcode is an assortment of vertical lines. However, 2D Barcodes or QR Codes are a bit different given that the data is stored vertically as well as horizontally. Moreover, the data can be scanned in both directions.

Despite the fact that a standard 1D Barcode (UPC/EAN) has the capability to store up to thirty numbers, a QR Barcode has the ability to store up to 7,089 numbers! This huge amount of information is what enables links to Facebook or Twitter pages, videos as well as many other website pages.

How do I scan a QR Code?

If you own an iPhone, Android or Blackberry smartphone then there various dissimilar barcode scanner applications that have the ability to read and translate data from a QR code. The applications include: Red Laser, Barcode Scanner and QR Scanner. Most of these applications are completely FREE, and you only need to install one and use your smartphone’s camera to scan the barcode. The application will then load for you the encoded data automatically.

What can be encoded into a QR Code?

Basically, a QR Code is an ‘image-based hypertext link’ that can be used offline. This implies that any URL can be easily encrypted into a QR Code and any webpage can be automatically opened as a result of scanning the barcode. Therefore, if you want to encourage somebody to like your Facebook page, you must have your Facebook profile page as the URL–. Moreover, if you want your video to go viral, you need to encode the URL in your QR Code. The choices are unlimited.

Besides website URLs, a QR Code can also have a phone number so that when it’s scanned it encourages the user to call that specific number. Equally, you can also encode an SMS text message, V-card data or even plain alphanumeric text. Once the content is embedded within the QR Code, the QR Code reading device will automatically know the best application to open the content.

Where can QR Codes be placed?

QR Code printing can be easily done in magazines, newspapers, brochures, leaflets as well as on business cards. Besides, they can also be placed on product packaging or labels, on billboards as well as on walls. Furthermore, a QR Code can also be tattooed on your body.

Although QR Codes can be used on a website, they should not be used as an alternative for an outdated hyperlink because the user is already online and does not require to fiddle around with their phone just to find a site that could have accessed in a very short time.

How can I make a QR Code?

You can easily make your QR Codes by using selected 2D barcode generators. However, you must first consider why you need a QR Code as well as how you’ll use it. For more info on this, please look at the QR Codes for Marketing’ section below.

QR Code generators that are currently available include:

  • http://www.qrstuff.com/
  • http://qrcode.kaywa.com/
  • http://quikqr.com/

What size does a QR Code have to be?

Although it is easier for large QR Codes to be scanned, most QR reading devices are capable of scanning images that are as small as a business card. This obviously assumes that the image is of top quality.

QR Code File Formats

When creating a QR Code the following file formats can be used:

  • HTML Code
  • PNG File
  • Tiff File
  • SVG
  • EPS
  • PNG files work very well since they can be easily resized. This implies that you can scale the QR Code very easily depending on where you want it to be.
  • QR Codes for Marketing

If need QR Codes for either business or marketing purposes then you should know that most people have greater expectations from scanning a QR Code. Therefore, you ought to offer something that is a bit unique to the people who have taken their time as well as their effort to scan the barcode. For ideas or additional information about QR Code Marketing, take a look at the Piranha Internet who have effectively integrated the use of QR Codes in their various marketing strategies.

Furthermore remember that most people will not have an idea of what a QR Code is or even how to use it. You will have to provide detailed instructions on how to use a QR Code until they become more widespread.

Who invented the QR Code?

Denso-Wave –who are a subsidiary of the Toyota Group – are credited with the invention of the QR Code as early as 1994. Although QR code was initially intended to be used to track parts in the automobile industry, its use has greatly grown ever since.

Other 2D Barcode Formats

QR Codes are a form of 2D Barcode, and they are perhaps the most prevalent. Other well-known 2D Barcode formats include:

Microsoft Tag

this 2D barcode format is also called High Capacity Colour Barcode, or simply Tag’. As the name suggests, the format is from Microsoft. The best thing about this barcode format is that it enables you to customize your tag by simply adding colour and making to match your brand. Moreover, it also allows you to “dynamically change your datasource”, this means that you can easily modify the URL that the tag leads to. However, Microsoft Tag can only be read by Microsoft’s own tag reader.

Data Matrix

This is maybe the most identical format to the QR Code and it is widely used on small electrical components since it can be easily read regardless of the size.


This type is a bit different since data is not stored within the barcode itself, but on the Scanbuy server. A code catalogue is sent from a mobile device to the server, which then enquires from a database and returns the info. The main drawback with this system is that it’s completely dependent on the Scanbuy servers.