Mon. May 16th, 2022

QR codes are an exciting way to help promote your business but I think you would agree that they look pretty ordinary. Say, for instance, there are two codes side by side, both offering the same incentive but for different companies. You would probably just scan the code closest to your phone, right? In this situation, what can you do to make a potential customer scan your code, instead of a competitors code? The answer is to make it more visually appealing.

QR codes can be physically altered a certain amount to make them stand out from the black and white, pixelated crowd. When you create a QR code, it has built-in error correction, more specifically, Reed-Solomon error correction. This means that a code can be physically altered by anywhere between 7% and 30% before it becomes unrecognisable to barcode scanners. The four levels are:

Level L = 7%, Level M = 15%, Level Q = 25% and Level H = 30%.

If you are going to use an online QR code generator, ensure that it offers a choice of error correction levels. If there is no option then usually the lowest level is used, Level L at 7%. This means that only 7% of the code can be altered before it becomes unreadable. The best for decorating a QR code is Level H, because 30% of it can be altered. Bear in mind that the higher the level, the denser the code. This means there are more pixels for the same information making it harder for scanners to decode it. create a QR Code

What can you do to make your code look interesting?

Whenever you change anything on a QR code, make sure you test that it can still be scanned every step of the way. Test on different phones using different scanning apps. If you keep making changes to your code, at some point it will become unreadable.

Probably the easiest thing to do is change the colour of the code, although make sure that there is good contrast between the light and dark areas. The ISO standard states that a QR code should be black on a white background, but due to the advanced technology available in smartphones, and also the apps used to scan codes, we can now add colour to a code and still successfully scan it. Some scanners have trouble reading light pixels on a dark background so I advise keeping the background lighter than the foreground.

To really make your code stand out, you can add an image to it, such as a logo. If people recognise a logo as one they know and trust, they will be more likely to scan the code to see what is on offer. Part of the code can be covered with an image because the error correction will work to make sure the information will still be correctly decoded.


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