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QR codes provide quick links for marketers

February 14, 2012 - Art Smith
Everyone has seen them, the square blotches of white and black squiggles. QR codes are starting to appear on almost everything.

QR Codes, which is short for a Quick Response Code, were invented by the auto industry in 1994 to help keep track of car parts as they moved through the manufacturing process. Since then they have slowly made their way into the mainstream of our lives.

The codes require a reader. Because of the explosion of the use of camera and smart phones, many people already have a reader in their pocket. When the code is scanned it will give the person additional information, normally by taking a person to a web page.

From a design standpoint, I think the codes are ugly. They tend to be stuck like ugly fingerprints on top of otherwise well-designed ads and promotions. Driving through Zanesville last week I saw the largest QR code I have ever seen. The code, with its blotches of black and white, took up literally half a billboard along Ohio 60.

I can’t remember what the other side of the billboard said, I was too distracted by the giant design disaster. I assumed the designer expected me to pull my phone out of my pocket and aim it at the sign while driving down the highway.

Some of the codes can embed up to 1,852 characters. I’m not saying they aren’t useful, I’m just saying they are ugly and are marketing overkill.

Just so I am not the last one to jump on the bandwagon, though, I present you with my own QR code. Take out your smart phone, open your QR reader, scan the code on the right of the page and you will be taken to a list of all my blogs, or you can just click on the link at the top of the page.


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