QR Codes: Quick response, 2-Dimensional, fast readability, large storage capacity… These mysterious unique matrixes are not your traditional barcodes of the past. They’re called “Quick Response Codes,” better known as QR Codes, and we thought we’d help de-mystify them for you.
We keep seeing QR Codes popping up all over the place – in our favorite magazines, on storefront windows, boarding passes, and real estate signs… we can’t escape them! You don’t even need some fancy device to scan them. These days, most of us can just download a free barcode app onto our smart phones, iPads/iPods or other internet-connected mobile devices and scan the QR code the minute we see one. More often than not, the scan will bring you to a webpage containing new information or special offers. The days of typing in long urls to get to a web site have practically vanished! This is a way of showing appreciation to those of us who took the whole 30 seconds out of our busy lives to scan this crazy code!
So you’re probably still wondering what makes QR Codes so different and special from barcodes of the past. One-dimensional linear barcodes are encoded with thick and thin lines and are read (aka scanned) in only one direction—usually from left to right. Two-dimensional barcodes like the QR Code are encoded with square dots called modules, in a square pattern to be read in two directions ― horizontally AND vertically! This allows the QR Code to pack in a ton of information (up to 7,089 characters) and hold virtually any kind of data, not just alphanumeric digits!
The marketing industry is running fast and hard with QR Codes. When you consider using a LABEL with a QR Code on your advertising materials, they can be swapped out as quickly as your promotions change. You could add a QR label to your sales slips leading your customers to new products or put a QR Code on your business cards that leads to a special discount coupon.
They aren’t limited to just marketing applications though… In fact, they started out in the manufacturing world tracking high speed industrial processes. QR Code labels would be perfect placed on the back of a home improvement item that sends a customer to installation instructions or a place to find replacement parts. We even have prominent laboratory customers using them to quickly retrieve large amounts of testing data!
One more cool thing about QR Codes… they come with four different “error correction levels.” Depending on the level chosen, only a certain portion of the code is assigned data and redundancy for error correction. This means that much of the QR Code can be damaged or covered and still remain readable! That area can be used for all sorts of clever designs. Imagine what you could do with your QR code to make it stand out amongst the others! The possibilities are endless―you just have to put your creative mind to work and see what you can come up with.
Here at EIM, we have been playing around with some ideas of our own… take a look! Our Label Experts are always available to answer any questions or to help you with your label designs, so don’t be shy! Go ahead, scan our QR codes and see what surprises you find along the way – you never know what you might end up with!