Uses for QR Codes in Graphic Design

qr code print marketing material

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So now that you know¬†how to make money with QR Codes, what’s next?

QR codes are scanned by smart phones. Visit: in your mobile browser and automatically download QR Code reader software.

There are many options to integrate QR Codes into your next design of print collateral. When QR Codes are scanned with QR reader software (through smart phones/mobile devices) recipients are taken to custom landing pages or other call-to-action options.

Let’s begin with the six basic types of QR Codes:

  1. URL – encode URL and share with the world (landing page)
  2. VCard – easily transfer contact information to another user
  3. Message – transfer a simple message or text encoding
  4. Phone – call a unique phone number
  5. SMS – encode an SMS message and recipient phone number
  6. Email – encode an email message along with recipient information

Using the appropriate type of QR Code can make your mobile marketing efforts more effective.

Here are a few examples of my favorites:

Business Cards -recipient scans code to quickly import contact information.

Magazine/Newspaper Ads – scan the code to reveal ‘how-to’ video or further product information

Product Packaging – scan the code for product installation, warranty registry, rebates

Name Tags – scan the code to populate contact info at trade shows

For Sale Signage – scan the code for complete product information, video tour

Product Samples – scan the code for further information, product videos, special offers

Tweet This – scan a code to automatically re-Tweet message

Museum Artwork – scan the code for artist information and special details regarding the artist

Outdoor Billboard – scan the code to see sneak peaks of movie trailers

Takeaway, QR Codes are a great way to supplement your traditional print collateral pieces. Don’t forget to capitalize on the huge mobile marketing explosion with QR codes!

What are some of your ideas for QR Codes?


  1. I am totally into qrcodes. How much can I manipulate them and what can I do with them so they still remain readable. Thank you, June, founder, freak, grandma, wife of a starving artist.

    1. QR codes can be manipulated, however there are limitations. Do not use QR codes smaller than 3/4″ square. The “density” of the code will be a factor in how small to use. The more data that is encrypted within the code is directly linked to the density, or the appearance, of the code. Using “” to compress a long URL is best practice to keep the density of the QR code down and make it easier for scanning with smartphone device. Remember, to make QR codes effective, you have to keep in mind that most people don’t have a fancy smartphone and may be using an older less effective camera-phone when scanning your code. You want to make sure that the code will work with all phones.

      You can color a QR code as long as you use dark enough colors that maintain good contrast for the camera to recognize. You can also use the black areas as a mask over a photograph. Indeed you can be very creative with QR and not have the boring robotic look of generic QR codes.

      Another point to remember, leave the white border around the code! This border allows the camera to “zero-out” and know what areas to read and decipher. A general rule-of-thumb is to maintain a 4:1 scale of white border to the smallest module, or pixel, within your QR code.

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