QR Codes, what are they?


Okay, so this week I’ve been having a bit of fun asking poll questions on the TPI Solutions Ink Facebook Page.

My question on May 12th was: Have you used a QR Code yet?
The answer options: Yes, No and What’s a QR code?

Beforehand, to be honest, I really didn’t think much about what the popular answer would be. I was more focused on wondering how many, if any, people would respond to the question. Fortunately people have been taking my poll and the results have been coming in. The number one answer has been “What’s a QR code?”  Am I surprised? Not really. But, since I put the question out there I figured I should also offer up an answer to that question, hence this blog post!

What is a QR code? QR stands for Quick Response. A quick response code looks like this:QR-Code

In the simplest of terms a QR Code is a barcode, similar to the scan codes found on just about anything that you buy today. It is a two dimensional matrix barcode, square in shape. Most of the time it is printed in black ink on a white background however, QR codes can be printed in colors other than black. The code can be read with a camera enabled mobile device that has a QR code reader application installed. Once the code is scanned with the mobile device the user will be immediately directed to additional information such as a website, a landing page, contact information, an email address or a text or graphic message.

So, what’s the point? The QR code is a great marketing tool. It can be placed just about anywhere, clothing, a postcard, an advertisement, a wall, a sign and more. It gives the targeted audience instant access to the information that they need and that the marketer wants them to have.

Here are some examples of the types of information a QR code might link to:

  • Contact information or Directions
  • Web address
  • Printable Coupon
  • Email address
  • Donation page or Contest entry form
  • Online store
  • Video or Photo
  • And so much more

Who cares? Well, it’s pretty apparent to me that the basic cell phone (can you even get those anymore?) will be phased out in the near future and the population will be using the latest and greatest technology. A recent report released by Mobio Identity Systems, Inc. shows a 938% increase in new QR enabled users from Q1 2010 to Q1 2011. In the near future you will be seeing those little readable squares everywhere. Why? Because this same report shows that the growth of QR code scanning during the same time period increased by more than 4500%! It is becoming more important every day that we embrace multimedia. Printed materials will continue to be a vital part of marketing campaigns. The addition of QR codes to those printed materials will make them that much more impactful.


About The Author

Carrie is currently the President and Co-Owner of TPI Solutions Ink. She is a graduate of RIT with a BS in Printing Management. Carrie has over 40 years experience in the printing industry.