QR or Quick Response codes enable print media and web mobile media to work together. With any smartphone (iPhone, Blackberry, Droid etc.) enabled with a QR Reader app (free software that can be downloaded) you can click a picture of the QR code and it will launch your smartphone's browser and take you to whatever URL is embedded within the code.
QR codes were invented in 1994 by the Japanese corporation Denso Wave. Originally designed to track parts in vehicle production they have now become an open source ISO standard free for the world to use. Because of its 2 dimensional design it is capable of encoding up to 7,089 characters. This is far more data than a typical one dimensional bar code such as the standard UPC symbol. A QR code can therefore encode any web address no matter the length of the URL.
Here are a few examples of how QR codes can be used in your print media:
- A Realtor can place a QR code on the printed information sheet outside of a home for sale. A prospective buyer can snap a picture of the QR code which contains a URL taking the user to a YouTube video featuring a virtual tour of the home.
- At a scientific conference poster session, a scientist could place a QR code on their poster containing a URL leading directly to a PDF of the poster so as colleagues reviewed the poster's content they could also save a PDF to their phone and email it to colleagues not in attendance.
- An online retailer can send out postcards in a direct marketing campaign that would include a QR code containing a URL to an interior page on their site containing a discount or a promotion only available via the QR code. This would drive mobile customers to the promotion with the additional benefit of allowing measurement of the effectiveness of the postcard campaign.
- A manufacturer of equipment could use QR codes in their instruction manuals that would have direct links to their website or YouTube highlighting "how to" videos complementing the information in the manual.
- The image at the top is our CEO Scott's business card with a QR code on the back which leads to a mobile optimized site with his bio, contact information and social media touch points. This is a natural extension of the business card's content and contains more info than space will allow on the card itself.
It is clear that QR codes are incredibly versatile and are only limited by your imagination. QR codes can encode a static URL or can also be dynamic in nature. QR codes can embed PURL (Personal URL) technology in a cross media direct marketing campaign so that response can be measured in a very detailed way.
At Sorrento Mesa Printing we have many new and innovative ways to incorporate QR codes into your print projects. If you are interested, just let us know. Below are some resources you might find helpful.
QR Code Reader Apps
The following links are various QR code reader applications you can download and install on your smartphone:
QR Code Generator
Below is a QR code generator to create your own QR codes. The .png files can be used in Microsoft Office products or any professional desktop publishing software. Type your URL in the box below to generate your code. After your code appears, right click and save image.