Services Custom QR Codes What Are QR Codes?


What Are QR Codes?

Custom QR CodesA QR Code is a specific matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code), readable by dedicated QR barcode readers and camera phones. The code consists of colored square modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. QR codes can be in color but are most commonly seen in black.

To the right, you can see a QR code for Blue Dock Media that, when scanned, will take you to

These smart codes are similar to the price barcodes that we have seen for years on the packaging of supermarket items which helps the company track inventory and set pricing but can only contain about 20 digits. QR Codes, however, can hold much more information (up to 7,000 alphanumeric characters), such as a website address, contact information, directions to a specific location, maps, menu items, coupons, daily specials, short codes and keywords and so much more. A QR code can also lead someone to place phone call, play a video and send a text message.

The options with QR codes are infinite and are invaluable in both assisting retailers of goods and services and helping consumers get the information they want in seconds.


Common in Japan, where it was created by Toyota subsidiary Denso-Wave in 1994, the QR code is one of the most popular types of two-dimensional barcodes. QR is the abbreviation for Quick Response, as the creator intended the code to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed.

Although initially used for tracking parts in vehicle manufacturing, QR codes are now used in a much broader context, including both commercial tracking applications and convenience-oriented applications aimed at mobile phone users (known as mobile tagging). QR codes can be used to display text to the user, to add a vCard contact to the user's device, to open a URL or to compose an email or text message.

QR codes storing addresses and URLs may appear in magazines, on signs, buses, business cards or on just about any object about which users might need information. Users with a camera phone equipped with the correct reader application can scan the image of the QR Code to display text, contact information, connect to a wireless network or open a web page in the phone's browser.

Google's mobile Android operating system supports QR codes by natively including the barcode scanner (ZXing) on some models, and the browser supports URI redirection, which allows QR Codes to send metadata to existing applications on the device. Nokia's Symbian operating system is also provided with a barcode scanner, which is able to read QR codes, while mbarcode is a QR code reader for the Maemo operating system. In the Apple iOS, a QR code reader is not natively included, but over 50 free Apps are available with reader and metadata browser URI redirection capability.


Recently, QR codes have become more prevalent in marketing circles and have been integrated into both traditional and interactive campaigns. Media where QR codes have been deployed include: billboard ads, guerilla marketing campagns, in-store displays, event ticketing and tracking, trade-show management, business cards, print ads, contests, direct mail campaigns, websites, email marketing and couponing just to name a few. QR codes are of particular interest to marketers, giving them the "ability to measure response rates with a high degree of precision" allowing for easier ROI (return on investment) calculation, thus helping justify spending on marketing budgets. QR codes have also been used at trade shows and in conferences.

QR codes can be seen on an art festival map for Canton Ohio's "First Friday". The QR code was designed by Think Roth, a multi-media marketing company from Ohio. The QR code on the festival's map takes you to a "phone friendly" map with coupons for free coffee and art discounts around town.

In street art, La Pluma Eléctri*k (street art collective based in Madrid) and Space Invader (from France) are two examples of artists who use it in the street for art purposes.

In July 2009, QR codes were created for character design and promotional materials in the Shane Acker film 9. The use of QR codes was part of the characters in the movie and culminated into a promotional campaign with unique QR code cards, posters and street advertisements on billboards or public transportation for major popular art events. These advertisements were largely focused upon the attendees of the 2009 San Diego Comic Con and 2009 Oscars. QR codes were integrated into the artwork and symbolized individual characters in the movie. Instructional pamphlets and videos were released to explain how the codes could be retrieved and deciphered. QR-coded artwork could be read with QR-capable cellphones for prizes and access to exclusive online content. This was one of the first major integrations of QR codes with Hollywood studios and urban environments.

In January 2011, the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum launched a line of museum t-shirts and apparel which feature museum logos and designs on the fronts, and a QR code screened on the right back shoulder, which directs to the museum's web site or artist interviews.

QR codes are also widely used in the tourism industry. For example in Lviv (Ukraine), Lviv Tourism Movement that consolidates businessmen have placed QR codes on more than 80 tourism objects. QR codes are in several languages, which helps the individual tourist easily get the information on the city.


QR codes have been used to interpret natural and historical points of interest on nature trails and walking tours, adding to or replacing expensive signs.

QR codes are becoming increasingly more innovative and more and more ideas for their use are becoming a reality. has created a QR code for every user generated level in LittleBigPlanet 2 for the PlayStation 3, and all you have to do is print that QR code out and hold it in front of the PlayStation 3's dedicated camera, the PlayStation Eye, while the game is running and the game will automatically take you that level on the community page.

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