What Are QR Codes?

According to Wikipedia, A QR Code (abbreviated from Quick Response Code) is a specific matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code) that is readable by dedicated QR readers, smartphones, and, to a less common extent, computers with webcams. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded may be text, URL, or other data.

Common in Japan, where it was created by Toyota subsidiary Denso Wave in 1994 to track car parts, the QR Code is one of the most popular types of two-dimensional barcodes. The QR Code was designed to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed.

Read the full Wikipedia description here.

How do you read the Code?

All you need is a QR Code reader for your camera-equipped cell phone and there are many apps out there that will work on nearly all smart phones. Most of the apps are free and you may want to have more than one as they have different features and some work better on certain QR Codes than others.

According to 2d-code.co.uk, the best of the available readers in alphabetical order are:

i-nigma is pre-installed by all of Japan’s major mobile manufacturers and reads QR Code, Datamatrix, EAN13, EAN8, UPC-A and UPC-E.
Compatability Download Instructions

Mobiletag scans 1D barcodes EAN 13 and UPC as well as the 2D barcodes Datamatrix, QR Code, Flashcode and Fotokody.
Compatability and download instructions

NeoReader supports a range of mobile devices and reads QR Codes, Datamatrix, Aztec Codes, EAN, UPC and Code 128.
Compatability Download Instructions

QuickMark supports a range of mobile devices and reads QR Code, Datamatrix and the proprietary code QuickMark.
Compatability and download instructions

ScanLife supports a wide range of mobile devices and reads and the proprietary code EZcode.
Compatability and download instructions

UpCode supports a range of mobile devices and reads the proprietary code UpCode, and in Symbian phones QR Code and DataMatrix.
Compatability Download Instructions

BeeTagg supports a wide range of mobile devices and reads QR-Code, Datamatrix and the proprietary code BeeTagg.
Compatability Download Instructions

Kaywa supports a range of mobile devices and reads QR Code and Datamatrix.
Compatability Download Instructions

Zxing has clients for Android, Java, and iPhone but not Windows mobile devices and reads QR Code, Code 39, Code 128, UPC-A, UPC-E, EAN-8 and EAN-13.
Compatability and download instructions

How do I generate a QR Code?

QR codes are easy to create using a QR code generator. The number of QR Code generators out there is dizzying. Here’s a list of the best, again according to 2d-code.co.uk:

QR Code and 2D Code Generator
Kerem Erkan has produced an excellent QR Code, Micro QR Code, Datamatrix and Aztec Code generator with many interesting features including URL shortening.

QR Generator
Configure size, version, error correction etc., and save as PNG, TIFF, JPEG, GIF, XAML, SVG, EPS or all in a ZIP file.

Create QR Codes for telephone, SMS, Maps, URL, MeCards and Raw data.

Jason Delport’s Create QR Code
User interface for the Google Chart API with 500px x 500px maximum size.

50px x 50px images can be inserted in the code and output can be saved as gif or pdf.

Foreign language versions available in Español, Português and Italiano.

One size but generates a QR Code and a Datamarix Code simultaneously.

Select encoding mode, multiple colors and upload background graphic.

Any color background or modules and many other options.

Includes full VCARD implementation.

QReate & Track
Includes iCalendar and vCard formats and an option for real-time reporting.

QR Stuff
Lots of options here including color, batch printing with Avery label compatibility and send by email.

Can specify error correction levels.

One size but choice of six colors.

Options to round the corners of modules and apply color gradients and shadows. Also an option to rotate the code in 45° units with output in PNG or SVG format only.

PNG and JPG in standard sizes.

Includes encoding in MECARD format.

Stand alone Decoder and Encoder

The only known online Micro QR Code Generators are Kerem Erkan’s and TEC-IT.

How do I use a QR Code in my MARKETING ATLAS ad?

There’s no shortage of ways to use QR Codes in your ad. The coolest aspect of the QR Code is that it allows you to keep your ad current even though the ATLAS prints once a year.

You can have your QR Code link to a special page on your website with a coupon just for the readers of the MARKETING ATLAS that you can update as often as you like! You can also alert our readers to new services or products or changes in your company. Or you can incorporate some or all of the things below:

  • Product or service details
  • Contact information. Electronic information that the reader application adds to user’s address list.
  • Event information
  • Contest participation
  • Start an email message with subject line like, “Send me more information” or “Add me to your mailing list”
  • A coupon
  • Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn IDs
  • A link to a YouTube video

Here are some samples of cutting-edge ATLAS advertisers who utilized QR codes in their 2011 ads! (And one Tag!! Way to represent, Jim and Betty!) Notice the different sizes of Codes used and the variety of emphasis put on them.





Looking for more information on QR codes?

As we run across useful sites and articles, we’ll provide links to them here.



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