QR codes in everyday life

QR codes are becoming more and more popular, not just because we enjoy scanning them but because the diverse amount of information that hides behind them is constantly increasing. Whether it’s a link to your website, a competition code, a YouTube video or feedback questionnaire, a lot of useful information can be integrated into a QR code. Creating a QR code is relatively simple – just enter the information into a web generator and in one click, the code has been generated. Even if the code becomes slightly damaged or dirty, it normally remains legible.

Optimal positioning of QR codes

Nevertheless, a lot of care should be taken in positioning a QR code because badly placed or unreadable codes lose their effect. The size of the code is important, as is the contrast ratio. These influence the legibility of the code.

Construction of a QR code

The position and orientation detection is determined by the three small squares on the corners of the code and the small one in the centre. These areas define the position and alignment and are known as the quiet zone. The contrast and the remaining black and white squares contain the user and content data. These can be recreated even when up to 30% of the code fragments are missing, given the correct algorithm is available. This means it’s also possible to integrate icons and small logos into the code.

It’s important that the quiet zone remains untouched and that no more than 30% of the code fragments are hidden by image data. When the code is sent to be printed, it is important to print the code in full resolution or as a vector file.  Most generators provide various resolutions or the option to download the code as an EPS file. The QR code should never be too small, distorted, mirrored or changed using special effects. It’s also not recommended to change the colour of individual code fragments because the decoding is determined by the contrast between the black and white. Changing the colour of the whole code is possible as long as the chosen colour is rich in contrast to white – a light shade of yellow, for example, would not be appropriate.

No Go examples

Here you will find a few negative examples which shouldn’t necessarily be copied.

Conclusion

One thing is sure – whether it‘s printed, online, used in video games or as a shadow, the QR code as an information carrier will occupy us for a long time to come.