Do QR Codes Have to Be So Ugly You’ve seen them. Those ugly, black and white splotchy looking things that exhibit up in magazine ads, on billboards, even on your box of cereal. Called QR Codes (for Quick Response Codes), they look like gibberish or almost as if some accident had occurred in the printing process and left this awful looking blob on the page. But it’s what they do that counts. Invented in Japan in the late 1990′s and first used to keep tabs on parts in automotive plants, these codes are now information-rich marketing tools. The codes are designed to be read by camera phones with certain reader applications installed. When the code is scanned, the phone’s screen displays text and images, connects to a wireless network, or even opens a web page. The term for linking information from a physical image is called both hardlinking and hyperlinking. And as the use of smart phones continues to explode, the marketing opportunities are virtually endless. But why do QR codes have to be so ugly? The truth is…they don’t. Not anymore, at minimum . As we speak, custom QR Codes are rapidly taking the place of the older, boring, and downright distasteful codes. Now they can be as unique as your company. You can add color. You can embed your symbol . You can even use your customized QR Code with photographic images. So your code not only does what it’s supposed to do, it looks attractive and can be used as an effective way to extend your brand. One very important advantage of using customized codes is that they reach out to the person who sees them. By avoiding that “What is that ugly thing?” reaction, customized QR Codes actually stimulate a positive response. After all, standard codes don’t say anything, at minimum not to the naked eye. But custom codes identify themselves as an important piece of the marketing message so customers are more likely to scan and respond to them. QR Code design is a special area of code creation. Because the technology is so precise, designers must use both sides of their brains (the analytical, problem solving side as well as the creative side) to create QR Code art that isn’t only more attractive to the reader but too works well. After all, the reason these codes are called Quick Response is that they work almost instantaneously. And designing them to be more attractive and to incorporate your company’s image enhances that image as well as drawing attention to it. The result? A tall tech see and an even higher response rate. Once you own one of these customized codes you can adapt it to your changing needs. So if you need to offer a money saving coupon today and access to a special offer on your website next week, you can do that. Or, you might need to use a customized code for redirecting readers to a URL, an email address, or a phone number . With the right QR Code design you can do all that. And you can do it in a way that makes your potential customers want to use the code, over and over again. Isn’t that what it’s really all about?

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