What is a QR Code?
You have probably seen them and if you are a technology “early adopter” you may have even scanned one using your mobile phone. QR Codes or 2D barcodes are like product barcodes on packaging in that a series of lines or squares (in this case) can represent information.
QR Stands for Quick response
The QR barcode was developed in 1994 by Denso-Wave a subsidiary of Toyota as a way to quickly scan a larger amount of data than a typical barcode could store. It is now a worldwide standard and its uses have grown from its manufacturing and inventory control roots. A QR code can:
- Can store up to approximately 4300 alphanumeric characters depending on the size and number of squares in the matrix.
- Easily store URL or web address
- Contain information on a vCard, email or text message
- Be easily scanned with mobile phone platforms like iPhone, Android, and Blackberry using the phone’s camera and downloaded scanner apps. In many parts of the world mobile phones are QR ready out of the box.
Your Mobile Phone Is Also a QR Scanner
Once you have downloaded one of the many QR Scanner apps into your mobile phone you run the app and then take a picture of the QR code with your phone’s camera. When the camera locks onto the code and captures the picture it will display the information contained or website address. You can then proceed to read the information or visit the website.
Some examples of how others are using QR Codes:
- To enable easy user connections to websites and other digital content with just a click of the user’s mobile device
- Inventory control and tracking of parts in a manufacturing operation
- Online ticketing where you purchase tickets for an event or movie online and a QR code is sent to your mobile device – the image of the QR Code serves as your ticket. When you enter the venue you show them the code on your mobile device which is then scanned in lieu of a paper ticket.
- In magazine or newspaper advertisements to direct the reader to a site to find out more.
- With coupons and direct mail pieces
- Billboard ads, displays and signage.
- Contests or sweepstakes where the winning code is contained in certain pieces
- Virtual couponing where a coupon or special offer is sent to the mobile device
- In the real estate industry on yard signs
- Just about any advertising medium where you want to get out more information, capture your audience’s attention and track your results.
A Short Video On How Others Are Using QR Codes
How Artists Can Use QR Codes
One of the cool things about using QR Codes is that if you can get someone to scan your code you already have their attention – a big step in any advertising or promotional effort! Once you have their attention, QR codes make it easy for you to have further communications with your audience. With QR codes there is no writing down or remembering a particular website, advertisement or product, a quick scan takes care of that. QR codes can bridge an important step in getting your audience’s attention and turning that into finding out more. Here are some ways artists can use QR codes:
- They were designed for inventory so you could create a code(S) for you artwork to keep track of inventory
- On your business card
- On your brochures or promotional materials
- In your printed ads or signage
- In a gallery placed on your signs to further describe your work or send them to your website
- On your artwork
- On your packaging or tags
- Any place where you want people to easily be able to connect with you
Creating a QR Code
There are several ways to create your own QR code and many are free. If you search the internet for QR Codes you will find many sites that offer an online service to create your QR Code. You simply enter your URL, message or other content and it creates a QR Code graphic which you can download. Take note that some of these services will direct the person who scans your QR code first through their website and then on to the one you specified (redirects). Most of these companies are really in the business of keeping track of and generating statistics on your QR code usage – for a fee. There are others who simply offer QR code generation without any redirects such as http://invx.com/
The Opportunity for Artists
The growth of mobile devices is skyrocketing in the US and within a few years most cell phone users will have a powerful mobile device capable of reading QR codes. Trends in the mobile phone industry include:
- Many applications available for entertainment and shopping
- May become people’s main connection with the virtual world replacing the laptop and desktop
- The US is now catching up with the rest of the world in using powerful mobile devices
- Price are dropping and even the lowest priced phone is “smart”
- Soon everyone will have a smart phone
- People in the US will become more familiar with QR Codes and their use will become an everyday occurrence
Now is the time to take advantage of QR codes to help you connect and develop relationships with your customers and prospects – get ahead of the curve and see if QR codes will work for you.