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    QR Codes Don’t Have to Be Ugly

    You notice that in-store customers are using their mobile phones more than ever to research products and compare prices – and that online search sometimes leads them right out the door. So you get busy creating all of this great content to help them to an on-the-spot decision: beefed-up online detail pages, demo animations, an interactive product selection tool, instant savings offers. You’re over the biggest hurdle with QR Codes (having good content behind them) but then you hit a new wall: The Creative Department. They don’t want to put a QR code on the point-of-purchase collateral because, “they’re ugly and they’ll mess up my design.”

    All too often, the fear of ugly codes can win-out over customer demands for more info. But QR codes don’t have to be boxy, black-and-white blobs. As a matter of fact, custom designers can transform a basic code into its own work of art.

    We’ve collected a few QR codes from around the web, along with some tips from Paperlink, CustomQRCodes.com and other best practices for making your QR codes more beautiful.

    1. Add color

    But, keep enough contrast for scannability. Choose dark colors against a lighter background and avoid “reverse” color (white or light colors against a dark background).

    QuickerCity.com QR code Brainy QRCode by CustomQRCodes.com IBM QR code by QRGenie
    (Source: Pinterest) (Credit: customqrcodes.com) (Credit: qrgenie.co.uk)

    2. Cut corners

    Soften hard edges with rounded corners or experiment with new shapes all together.

    QR code Pinterest QRCode-Riondo-byCustomQRCodes QRCode-2012 by QRGenie
    (Source: qrt.co) (Credit: customqrcodes.com) (Credit: customqrcodes.com)

    3. Create depth and dimension

    Inner shadows can create a carved look. Beveling and embossing can create a raised look. Even color gradients can add the appearance of dimension.

    QRCode-Corkbin-byPaperlinks QRCode-Dreamerz-CustomQRCodes QRCode-CinnamonAgency-byCustomQRCodesCom
    (Source: paperlinks.com) (Credit: customqrcodes.com) (Credit: customqrcodes.com)

    4. Give it brand personality

    Bring your brand ID to the forefront and create depth.

    QRCodes-BrrrBerry-CustomQRCodes QRCode-MTV-CustomQRCodes QRCode-riversharks-by-atsqrcodes
    (Credit: customqrcodes.com) (Credit: customqrcodes.com) (Credit: atsqrcodes.com)

    5. Incorporate objects and images

    Substitute shapes with unexpected objects or images for a visual surprise.

    QRCode-FruitNinja-qrezy QRCode-Shazam QRCode-OReilly-IDShirt
    (Credit: qrezy.com) (Source: Pinterest) (Credit: João Oliveira Simões)

    6. Try different shapes

    Build codes into a shape or build the shape around the code.

    QRCode-Facebook-Jess3 QRCode-Bunny-bySetQR QRCode-ChasGBC-ArtSpaces_Info
    (Credit: jess3) (Credit: SET Japan) (Credit: artspaces.info)

    7. Overlay an image

    This video from Visualead shows how their platform allows you to place a QR code over any image and make it more prominent.

    QRCode-Twitter-Visualead QRCode-BurgerKing-overlay QRCode-Visualead-cat
    (Credit: Visualead) (Source: Pinterest) (Credit: Visualead)

    8. Get creative

    Use QR Codes with 30% error correction so you can be more creative with your design. Maximum error correction lets you obstruct or remove pieces of the code and maintain scannability.

    QRCode-LV-bySetQR QRCode-Zipper-CustomQRCodes QQRCode-WBJapan-SetJapan
    (Credit: setqr.com) (Credit: customqrcodes.com) (Credit: SETJapan)

    First things first

    A beautiful code can create an ugly experience if you don’t have the right content behind it. There’s no point in having a custom design created if you plan to link it to your home page, social network page or some other dead end.

    Find out what in-store mobile users are looking for and give it to them. Product demonstration videos, installation and use animations and interactive selection tools are a great place to start.

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    1. […] with the design can win-out over customer demands for more info. But it really doesn’t have to. QR codes don’t have to be ugly given the options for custom […]

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