From car industry to all-purpose marketing weapon. The black barcodes are a familiar sight from any visit to the supermarket. Instead of frantically typing in prices, the cashier only needs to swipe the items over a scanner and the price is recorded. Nothing unusual anymore!

Increasingly, however, the OR codes with square patterns can be seen on billboards, in magazines, on flyers and even in commercials. Those who don’t have a smartphone, tablet or their notebook at hand, or simply don’t yet know about their function, remain clueless. Everyone else only needs to scan the code with their smartphone and they will be redirected to websites, mostly of companies but also of bands, cinemas, museums, etc., or they will be linked directly to an app store. More and more newspapers such as Stern, Bild or Spiegel are also using OR codes to direct readers to further articles. In recent years, the QR code has been used more and more for marketing purposes.

Originally, OR codes (“Quick Response”) were developed in 1994 by the Japanese company Denso Wave for the automotive industry. The aim was to store as much information as possible in the smallest possible space and to be able to retrieve it at any time. The QR code can still be read even if it is dirty or if small particles are missing, because the error correction compensates for the lost information.

With the help of free programs on the Internet, anyone can now design their own QR code. Moreover, there is also no need for a license to design and use OR codes. For example, you can offer a direct link to the homepage on vc-cards. This finally eliminates the need to type out entire URLs. Meanwhile, it is also possible to create your own design OR code, whether by inserting logos, images, color schemes or simply with lettering. More and more companies are having so-called custom QR codes created, which are increasingly becoming the main components of advertisements.

However, as with almost all innovations from the web, caution is advised. Since the reading programs do not check the scanned link before execution, it is easy to catch a wrus. In Japan, the country where it was invented, the QR code is a firmly established part of the public street scene. Here in Germany, the code is only just gaining ground, but its ease of use will soon make it an indispensable tool – just like the code in the supermarket.

Leave a Comment