QR code accuracy is extremely important. Inaccuracies could mean a re-print or worse — an unhappy customer. This is why you AND your customer should test your QR codes multiple times, using multiple scanning devices, before the project is finally printed. Here’s a checklist of what to test for in your next QR code campaign.
To ensure accuracy, first make sure the QR code is large enough. The recommended minimum size is 1”x1”, however depending on the density of information you could go as small as ½”x ½”.
You are not limited to black on white by an means. Printing your code in dark ink on a light background will have the best results. The key is having enough contrast for the scanner to read the code. Reversing out the code with a light color on a dark background will have varied results across code readers.
Many print processes, finishes or stocks have a natural reflective quality to them. Using shiny foil on metallic plastic may result in reflections that will cause scanning problems. Examples of this are metallic foil on a glass coat stock or a dark color QR Code on a dark color vellum stock. Thermography also has a reflective attribute that could make scanning hard in certain lighting or at certain angles.
The last part of accuracy checking is the information. You must make sure that everything stored in your QR code (including phone numbers, web addresses, social addresses, etc.) are all absolutely correct. If something is off, you’ll be facing hours of frustration and/or it will affect your bottom line.
What tips do you have for testing QR codes? Leave a comment below to discuss.
Although using QR codes is relatively new in the U.S., they’ve been used extensively in Japan for more than ten years. Innovative companies have already started using QR codes in their marketing campaigns, with great success. If your customers aren’t already asking about them – they soon will be. QR codes are intriguing and cutting-edge, and they really turn printed material into an interactive opportunity.
So what’s the deal?
QR codes are similar to barcodes, in that they hold and share information. However, QR codes can contain much, much more data. Because a QR code is a two-dimensional matrix (instead of a linear code), it can hold thousands of characters — which means the amount of information a QR code can share is virtually limitless.
Users can read QR codes via a simple app on their Smartphone. Reading a code can send the user to a company website, online video or landing page. It can instantly add business contact or calendar information to the user’s phone. It can also provide special offer or coupon content, opt the user into an email campaign, or even “like” the company on Facebook. And this is only the beginning.
Where might you use a QR code?
Any printed material that you want to make interactive, including:
• Business cards
• Club cards
• Rack cards
How do you add a QR code to your print order?
- Use one of the many free online QR code generators
- Download your QR code image.
- Size the QR code appropriately in your layout, keeping in mind the distance to the user as well as other design concerns.
- Then simply include your QR code image on your Short Run Printing print-ready file.
We’ll have more tips for integrating QR Codes into various design pieces in a future blog post this month. In the meantime, tell us your experience. Have you scanned any QR codes yourself? Are you using them in your business? Let us know in the comments below.
Raised Ink Thermography QR Code Business CardRaised ink printing (aka thermography) adds visible gloss and texture to business cards. The change in texture creates some great creative design opportunities you can use to make your customers’ QR code stand out.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Use a QR code generator that can incorporate a logo or other unique artwork within the code matrix. To highlight the logo/graphic, use raised ink only on that element. Just remember to have enough contrast — the thermographic element would need to be black or your darkest corporate color, with the rest of the code printed in grey or a subtly lighter version of the corporate color.
- We’ve also seen designers create a sort of container for the QR code using raised ink. One way to do this is to print the back of the business card using raised ink, full bleed, in a corporate color. Then place the QR code in a window of white space where it can’t be missed.
- A more playful way to do the “container” idea would be to use a raised ink design to frame the QR code. For example, you could use a graphic representing a smart phone, mobile device, office building, or even a speech balloon. The creative possibilities are endless!
- Keep in mind that Short Run Printing can combine thermography with a variety of paper stocks — including linen, laid, and colored stocks — and various finishes. Just make sure you remember the contrast rule so your QR code can be easily scanned. And it’s always a good idea to test the QR code prior to submitting your order.
The design world has only scratched the surface of working with QR codes. And right now, Short Run Printing is the only printing company to offer raised ink thermography printing for QR codes. Let’s put our heads together on some groundbreaking designs! Share your thoughts or questions on thermography and QR codes in the comments below.