We know for a fact that QR codes are rising in popularity across the globe. QR code generators are seeing massive amounts of traffic and are dealing with more questions from new users than ever before. It’s a great sign for the industry but an ominous one for the businesses investing in QR codes as a form of marketing. With more QR codes being generated comes more competition for users focus and attention. This means that businesses will have no choice but to create creative QR code campaigns that not only offer the user value but also stand out from the competition visually. This is where the fourth QR code campaign pillar, branded QR codes, comes into play.

The six essential pillars of a successful QR code campaign

Adding images and manipulating the code’s colors to reflect either your businesses branding or the QR code’s data can do wonders for your otherwise mysterious and unremarkable black and white QR code. By using familiar brand images and colors we can grab the users attention and gain their trust, which will ultimately lead to more scans. To illustrate this difference we set out to the streets and surveyed 100 participants, showing them both a custom QR code and a regular QR code.

While these numbers are encouraging, we have to make sure that they hold true. This requires implementing a well thought out set of best practices when branding your QR codes. Many people do not often realize that there is such a thing as a bad custom QR code and that in most cases it can easily be avoided by making sure we aren’t taking our customization too far. I understand that it’s easy to get overly excited with the possibilities that customizing your QR code brings. When I first began designing QR codes I had to leave some of my designer habits behind me because I very often end up with something that was better suited as an art print than as an actual useable QR code. It is important to remember that your custom QR code still needs to be recognized by users as a functioning, scannable QR code! This is why we always recommend that you do not attempt to radically change the four key positioning and alignment squares or change the code’s color to something like hot pink or bright yellow. It’s also a good idea to generate your QR code with 25% – 30% error correction before beginning the customization process, as this will give you more leeway when taking out chunks of the code.

Here are a few not so great examples of custom QR codes (I’m actually a bit scared that there are people making codes like these) and a few examples of our custom QR codes that implement the best practices discussed above.

The Bad:

If you own one of these QR codes get ahold of me and I’ll gladly make you a functional one ;)

 
The Good:

So what is the main point I’m trying to get across with all of this? We believe strongly that a customized QR code is a big part of a successful QR code campaign and I’m not just saying that because we’re in the business of branding them. The proof is all around us and with larger brands like Hennessy and others beginning to realize the potential of a QR code that stands out, it’s just a matter of time before your competitor figures it out too. The other point I want to get across is that with the experience of making over 1,000 customized QR codes, we’ve found that the key to a good custom QR code is maintaining the essential balance between form and function, and that doing so is not as easy as it may seem.

That’s my rant for today! Stick with me for the final installation of our series on creating a killer QR code campaign, where I’ll go over smart placement of your QR codes in the real world and the importance a clear call to action!

Continue to part 1 of 5
Continue to part 2 of 5
Continue to part 3 of 5