Quick Response codes, known more commonly as QR Codes, are 2-dimensional barcodes that are capable of storing large quantities of data. We see them everywhere, from business cards to posters to shop windows, but what are they?
WHAT ARE QR CODES?
While they may look fairly straightforward, QR codes are capable of storing lots of data. They are a collection of pixels that when scanned, allow the user to access information instantly – hence why it’s called a Quick Response code. QR codes can contain thousands of characters of data, so it’s really easy to encode a website URL and other information that you don’t have space in with a standard barcode. Most smartphones today are capable of scanning and interpreting QR codes using their standard camera function, but there is a multitude of free apps available which do the job too. Here's an example that you can test right now!
WHERE ARE THEY USED?
QR codes have been around since 1994 and slowly they’ve begun to appear more and more, to the point where today we can see them almost everywhere. Some examples of where you might find a QR code include:
- Food & Beverage Packaging
- Medicine Packaging
- Business Cards
QR codes are great for communicating a variety of different pieces of information, such as:
- Website links
- Social Media links
- Invitations to events - they can even add the date to your calendar
- Invitations to surveys
- Links to online documents e.g. policies, T&Cs and brochures
- Counterfeit Detection
- Production Batch Numbers
QR CODES AND INKJET TECHNOLOGY
QR Codes can be easily achieved using CIJ or TIJ technology, although specific models may be more suitable for different environments and substrates. QR codes can have a width as small as 10 mm - our own N-Series CIJ printers have an adjustable print height of 1.5mm - 19mm. Here is a QR Code being printed with a TIJ machine:
If you are considering adding a QR code to your product packaging and need more information on how best to do this, please get in touch. We have a range of different printing solutions to suit the requirements of all industries and packaging types.
GETTING CREATIVE WITH SCANNABLE CODES
While QR codes are great for storing and sharing specific data, did you know that you can print and/or mark codes to share your favourite songs? Apps such as Spotify have developed their own scannable codes which, when scanned in the same way as a QR code, will take you to a specific song on their app. For those who produce personalised products, this could be a great offering for your customers! The folks over at Needham Laser Tech tried it out on one of their N-Lase machines and we thought it was too cool not to share:
So, there we have it. QR codes are a great way of communicating complex data that would otherwise take up more space and potentially more ink!