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  • Rob Neff

QR Code 101

Convenient lead to more information


QR which is the quick way to say Quick Response. This box of code found on packages, in ads and on posters is also quite a mystery for many. We do know a QR code leads us to a website, application, or as it often says, more information.

Fig 1: The ArtAttackTx QR code. This links to the home page of our website.

This QR Code made using QR-Code-Generator


Many photographers see not having a QR code as an obstacle to their marketing and an image that separates them from advanced or professional photographers. Actually, creating one is quite easy. For users it’s a harmless click on an almost universal application found as part of your smartphone’s camera application.


Because they are so easy to create, marketers can have an individual QR for each campaign they create. If you’re showing work at a coffee house, the QR can direct those who use the QR to a special coffee house landing page featuring your portfolio. A different QR for your work at the portrait gallery can lead to another landing page on your website with appointment and pricing. QR codes can send a user to a URL. Your QR can return the user a Vcard, an email address or message, send a coupon, lead to a Facebook page, display a map, show a pdf or play an MP3. A single QR can be customized to show each of these information types.


Creating A QR


Start With A Plan

Decide how you want to use the QR, what do you want it to do? What action do you want to prompt? What material will it convey to the user? How will the audience see the QR? With that you’re ready to get going.


Choosing A QR Code Generator

There are many free, easy to use code generators. Check the reviews and google the name before you start. Avoid any questionable, unknown or any with ‘scam’, ‘hack’ or ‘idthief‘ in the title.


Paid or free. The free version of a generator is usually enough but being able to add a logo or incorporate color or a design in the QR may interest you. The upgrade may also allow you to create both static and dynamic QRs.


Static versions are simple and straight forward. Scan and go directly to the information or website you designate. Dynamic QRs allow you to change the location or the type of information the QR directs users to. It would be helpful to keep your coupons current even if the QR on the poster can’t be reprinted. Choose a dynamic QR if you want to keep analytics on your campaign. Dynamic QRs can also perform automatic downloads such as a pdf, image or audio file.


Some Popular QR Generators

QR Code Generator (QR-code-generator.com) is popular and widely used. Flowcode (Flowcode.com ) is a free app with a selection of free design options. Another free one with multiple choices for design and shape is QR Code-Monkey ( qrcode-monkey.com). With many pre-configured templates, QRStuff.com ( qrstuff.com ) tries to make it easy for almost anyone to create a workable QR. Straight forward and simple. Try WebQR if you want the most basic of the basic. Go to the site https://webqr.com, type in the URL or text and hit create. No irritating decisions to make, just copy the black and white image and be on your way.


Creating Your Custom QR

Now that you’ve chosen a creation partner, follow the lead of the application to create your QR. Be prepared with the location of your website, the file you want to have downloaded or the coupon you want displayed.


Follow the program to select the size (larger Is better and offers more error correction), the shape, color, any design within the QR, how big a border around it, what instructions you want included with the QR (Scan for more information, scan here to go visit our website, scan to subscribe for instance).


Be sure to test your QR while it’s still in the creator. Just point your camera and tap on the link that appears at the top of the display. Zoom you’re there. You don’t even have to click the shutter.


Download the tested QR in a file format designed for the use you have in mind. Printed QRs need to be higher resolution than QRs used on websites.

Fig 2: The ArtAttackTx QR code. This links to the home page of our website.

This QR Code made using QR-Stuff-Code


QR Best Practices

Since you’re counting on your QR to get capture prospects you want to be sure they get your message. Make it big enough to be seen and to be seen by your scanner. Use contrast to make it stand out and, again, to be seen. An outside border also makes it more visible and gives you a place to put your instructions and an idea of what the QR offers.


Put Your QR To Work

Add a QR to your business card, link to your portfolio from your artist card, tell the whole story of your photograph with a QR on the gallery title card, get Facebook friends to view your website without having to input a URL. There are many ways to use QRs to share information, keep prospects in the pipeline, build an actionable list of fans, and create low maintenance marketing programs.

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