QR codes may be increasing in popularity, but the standard black and white, square image has not offered much in terms of beauty of visual appeal.
Fortunately, as the technology for their design improves, so do the possibilities for altering their appearance. The following are some of the techniques that can be used to convert a boring, relatively ugly and plain barcode into an image that will contribute to the appearance of an ad and attract the smartphone user to scan it.
• Introduce color to the QR code – bringing color to a barcode is not only a simple way to make it stand out, but it is also an easy method to add branding power. There is no reason for a code to be designed only in black and white.
That may be the standard, but two or more colors can easily be embedded into it without harming the ability to scan it. The main rule is to make sure that it is a lighter color background with a darker color code for sufficient contrast and interpretation.
• Round the edges and corners – the standard square QR code has a very blocky, robotic look, but its severity can be softened by rounding the corners in a strategic way.
This doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be a single sharp corner, but if some of the edges are softened, then it will look more appealing and attractive to many consumers.
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• Add a dimensionality aspect – though it is a two dimensional barcode, by adding an obstruction to some of the boxers in the code with the use of a logo, for example, you can add greater dimension and a feeling of depth. This automatically makes a regular box appear much more artistic.
It can be accomplished with additional images set inside, or simply by fusing some of the boxes together. Even the corners can include additions that will make it more interesting visually. This works because the code can still be scannable even with a certain amount of superfluous data.
• Have adequate error correction – should you decide to incorporate an image such as a logo into the code to give it depth, don’t forget that its visual appeal is only helpful if it remains scannable. The design should create a 30 percent error correction.
Though it is possible to generate the codes that are 0, 10, 20, or 30 percent, it is the 30 percent error correction rate that creates the best amount of noise (additional boxes) in the code. This amount can then be removed to be replaced with the new imagery.
• Test and re-test – don’t forget that this is not an exact science. In fact, it is closer to an art form than it is a precise mathematical equation, so you should be willing to consider the process to have a certain trial-and-error element to it that will continually allow you to monitor and improve your campaigns.