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Why Use QR Codes?

QR codes can bridge the gap between your printed label and additional online content. Through the use of a QR code, you can share product info, open a video that shows how to use the product, allow customers to leave comments or reviews, and a slew of other options. 

CBD and hemp regulations in at least two states, Indiana and Utah, require a QR code that gives consumers additional information about the ingredients, manufacturer, and other info. In some cases, they also link a certificate of analysis by a third-party lab. New York is considering similar legislation. 

With the “clean food” movement, more companies will probably do as Zego Foods is already doing. The QR code on their packaging links to reports on allergens, contents, and third-party testing for each lot of a particular product. That’s a lot of valuable information coming from a tiny portion of their packaging.

People are becoming more used to the idea of QR codes, as well. According to Statista’s Global Consumer Survey, by 2018, 3.27 million US households had used coupons via QR code. They expect that number to reach 3.45 million by 2020. And that’s just coupons!

QR Code Design Doesn’t Need to Be Boring

QR codes have a built-in margin for error that allows for the use of creativity and color. Here’s a few examples of cool QR code designs. (Note: Custom QR codes should be designed by an expert. There are a number of companies that specialize in these.)

Many Colors

One of the great things about QR code design is the ability to use color. You can make the code a part of the label without having a black and white section that stands out and detracts from the design. That means the code can become part of the overall design.

Candle flame QR
Is there a pot of gold at the end of this QR code?
Learn more about a country
Auckland waterfront project info
QR code on packaging
Cleverly disguised in a leaf
Yes, this code really works!
Buried treasure?
Police box QR code

Or Just One or Two Colors

A dark color on light or white, perhaps with one other accent color, works very nicely, as well. The contrast is important, as are the “quiet zones” around the positional markers and the code itself.

Windblown dandelion QR code
This QR code takes you to a music video
Learn more about a Paris neighborhood
QR code design in a haunted castle
In a tree
QR code on a skateboard halfpipe

QR Code Best Practices & Print Tips

  • If you’re sending people to a URL, set that landing page up for mobile devices. If the URL is long, use a code shortener so less data needs to be encoded. This makes the code easier to scan.
  • Be sure to test your code with both Android & iPhone apps, as well as any others that may be used.
  • Include a compelling reason for someone to scan the code – more info, a chance to review the product, special offers, how-to videos, etc.
  • Don’t make the QR code so creative that people don’t realize it’s a code. I love the apple tree packaging above, for instance, but some people may overlook the presence of the code.
  • Incorporate the correct “quiet zones” both around the code and around the three positional markers. There should be open space around these elements in a light color, with no pattern for maximum scannability.

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