One of the most pressing questions, asked by business card designers, in the modern age is, whether or not to include a QR code on a business card? The two most common answers are “of course, here’s mine” or “what is a QR code?” While the question seems straightforward, the answer exposes the truth about what side of the digital divide your company is on. If you find your company seems to be stuck in the slow lane on the information superhighway, here is a handy primer on all things QR, and why your marketing project might need one.
QR stands for quick response. It was initially developed for the Japanese automobile manufacturing industry. Since its creation in 1994, it has slowly taken over as the replacement for standard barcodes, due to its ability to hold more data.
Just like standard barcodes, QR codes can store data that can be read by any computer equipped with a camera and the correct software. While standard barcodes hold data (usually numbers) in a horizontal pattern, QR codes are read both vertically and horizontally allowing for much more data to be stored as numbers, letters, binary code, or kanji.
QR codes can be put on any printed media or digital display. They can practically go anywhere, from billboards to soda cans. Due to the digital nature of the QR code, large format printing can be scanned at a distance. QR codes are even starting to be used on security badges and corporate identification cards.
The complexity of the QR code allows for things like website URLs and direct contact programs, sometimes referred to as reward programs that help keep the customer engaged. As smartphones and other digital devices become more and more common the use of QR codes is expanding, their importance as a tool to reach potential consumers cannot be understated.