What is a QR Code?

Some key concepts.

What's a QR code

What's a QR code

QR codes (Quick Response) are two-dimensional barcodes.


QR codes today

QR codes today

20 years later, QR codes have become the most cost effective technology linking the physical world with the digital world.

When were QR codes created?

When were QR codes created?

They were created in 1994 by an automotive industry to track vehicles during manufacture.


QR Code Uses

QR Code Uses

When scanning a QR code, the user can get instant access to a website, a vCard, a YouTube video, a social network, even download a file, receive a discount coupon, a payment via PayPal… The sky’s the limit! More QR uses examples.

Why were QR codes created?

Why were QR codes created?

They were designed to be able to read the content at high speed.


Who Can Use QR Codes?

Who Can Use QR Codes?

Govs, institutions, NGOs, cities, food brands, marketing agencies, packaging companies, industries to improve product tracking, companies for control and communication; large, small and private companies. In short, everyone in the need to communicate with its audience.

How to Scan a QR Code


Can You See it Properly?

Make sure the QR code is not damaged nor deformed.



Open the QR Reader App

Most devices have one already installed. If not, check your Store.



Device Over the Code

Place the phone over the code as if you were taking a picture of it. If the conditions are good, your phone should read it in a snap.

QR code scan hand

Let’s get QR-geeks for a moment

How does a QR code work?

Anyone can think that a QR code consists of random black and white pixels, but behind its design there is a structure that allows the QR to be scanned.

Damaged QR Codes

QR codes are built with error correction, this means that even if the QR code is damaged, or partially covered, it can still be scanned and read. QR codes can be damaged up to 30% and work perfectly thanks to the pattern containing duplicate information (redundancy) of contents.

QR code structure

Version Information

There are many different versions of the QR codes. This identify which one is being used in a particular code.

Format Information

It stores information about the error correction level and the masking pattern.

Data and error correction keys

It contains the information of the code itself.

Required patterns

Everything within a QR code that can’t be damaged or covered, in order for the QR code to work.

Position Pattern

It determines the direction, allowing 360º reading of the code.

Alignment Pattern

It ensures that the code can be read in case it’s printed on a curved surface or distorted because of the angle.

Timing Pattern

They enable the decoder to determine the width of the data matrix.

Quiet zone

It helps isolate the code of its surroundings. Hint: don’t forget to leave always an empty space around the QR code.

Keys for Best Marketing with QR Codes

Good uses in digital marketing help QR codes thrive. Let’s see how to make a good QR campaign:

Internet usage by device type (2015, USA)

Mobile media usage: 51%
Desktop media usage: 42%
Other devices: 7%

Source: eMarketer

QR Code Content Optimization

People scan QR codes through mobile devices, right? That’s why contents must be mobile-friendly. If the QR code redirects to a website, then that site has to be optimized for mobile screens. A non mobile ready website means long loading time, mobile processing and a last but not least, bad user experience. If your online material is not mobile ready, QR code generators like uQR.me will offer you the possibility to create mobile landing pages for free and in minutes.


The Idea Behind the QR Code

What do you want your clients to do after scanning your QR code? Is there a benefit to them in doing it?

The answer to these questions are fundamental to achieve goals with QR codes (and in marketing in general). Give your visitors a clue of what they will find after scanning the QR code. Focus in your call-to-action. It has to be clear and appealing. People must have a good reason to scan your codes. Spark your imagination and you will spark their interest.

QR code 3d idea phone



QR codes are a means to an end,
and not an end in itself.

Think QR code

The QR Code Design

A few years ago, QR codes were black and white and that was it. But now you can improve the appearance to trigger attention to your contents. All that by using very intuitive and free-of-charge tools. Today is easier to integrate your code to your printed material, making it graphic-friendly.

QR codes types


The Reading of the QR Code

To ensure that customers can scan the QR code without problems, it has to have a proper size. We know by experience that many of the scanning failings are because QR codes were printed too small. Also, they shouldn’t be partially covered nor bended. And further, the QR code must not be placed on a moving surface such as a car or an airplane. Yes, this has happened. The only way to know if a QR code will work, is to scan it in the same conditions as your potential visitors will do it.

QR code scan hand

Final thoughts

All in all, when approaching a QR code campaign, the subjects we have just discussed will help strengthen your endeavor. QR codes are tools and as such they should be used wisely. A well thought call to action, an appealing to the eye design and a correct optimization for multiple devices will most certainly ensure that your QR code gets out there, seen and scanned.