NIGHTMARE COME TRUE - you do not want to spend hundreds of dollars on fancy marketing materials, only to find out the QR code printed on it simply does not work. 💸💸💸 This post is lengthy, but worth reading every single word if you are wanting to print a QR code on anything. We are looking out for you and always want you to have the BEST!
Can you believe it? QR codes seem to be making a comeback, in large part due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. 🤯 So much of our day-to-day lives and how we do things have been greatly impacted - including how we obtain public information. For example, in many restaurants across the States, physical menus are no longer handed to you - but rather they have a large QR code printed in the center of the dining table (or at the order bar) in which you can scan it with your phone and WA-LA, you are now viewing the menu on your own mobile device.
I will say that I still prefer a real physical menu!! It's soooooo much easier to see all the options and appreciate the design aspect involved in laying it out. 😉 But here we are and we do what we need to do.
All that being said, below are some very important things to consider & keep in mind when printing QR codes!!
Shorter is Better
Shorter is better when it comes to the url link that is connected to the QR code. In the image above you will see a comparison of a short link and a long link. The long link causes the grid pattern itself to be a lot more dense and therefore much harder (nearly impossible at times) for a mobile device to properly read. The short link allows the grid to be more sparse/spread out - making it way easier/quicker to scan. There are definitely ways to take your long website address and shorten it with a program like Bitly. You would be responsible for creating an account with Bitly (or something like it) and generating the shorter url link. You can then provide that to your designer/printer.
Bigger is Better
QR codes are definitely not the most aesthetically pleasing thing to look at and its blocky-ness can really disrupt the flow of a design. It is tempting to want to make the QR code "small" in size so that it is less noticeable... but that defeats the point of the QR code and once again, makes it incredibly hard for a mobile device to be able to read the code. We recommend having the QR code printed at a size no less than 1/2", but preferably 1" in size.
Always, always, always TEST the code!
If you get nothing else from this blog post, THIS IS IT! 🛑🛑🛑 When your designer/printer provides you with a digital proof/mockup for your order, be sure to double-triple-quadruple-check the QR code on the proof. Just hold your phone or other mobile device up to the code (on screen) and see if it works and does what you want it to do. The QR code will print as-seen on those digital proofs, so that is the time to make sure it works. If it is not working for you, be sure to bring this to the attention of your designer/printer prior to this item going into production. DO NOT approve the proofs/mockup unless you are certain the QR code is working.
Static vs Dynamic
Not all QR codes are created equal. There are two types - static and dynamic. By default, the QR Codes we offer here at ShaynaMade™ are static. This means the QR code is created to link to one specific url code always and forever. That link can never be changed after it is printed. This option is free and perfect if you are linking over to your website or Instagram page that you never plan to change.
The other option is a Dynamic QR Code - there are many websites on the world wide web that offer such a service and it does tend to come at a monthly fee. However, it allows you to create a QR Code that you can link to whatever you'd like, whenever you'd like. For example, if you want it to link over to your most recent blog post or a new landing page on your website ... you can change the url link without having to reprint a new QR code. Technology is pretty cool!!
For best readability, it is recommended that your QR Code is printed in a bold color with little distraction around it. This is why you so often see the all black QR code printed onto a white background. This makes it so much easier and quicker to scan with a mobile device. You can definitely have the QR code printed in hot pink if you'd like, but just make sure it stands out well against the background color and is not cluttered with other little details all around it. Less is more. Simple is best.
Keep it Matte
Although we absolutely loooooooove everything foil and shiny here at ShaynaMade™, we strongly discourage adding Foil or Spot UV Gloss on top of your QR Code. The reflection from the foil and shine will make it a lot more challenging for a mobile device to scan and read quickly. Foil and Spot UV Gloss can definitely be added to other parts of your design (like your logo, contact information, etc), but we do not recommend adding it to the actual QR code.