Who uses QR codes

The QR Code 101: A Guide for Beginners

What is a QR code and how does it work?

The Quick Response, or QR for short, code is a two-dimensional version of the barcode that is able to transmit a large amount of information almost immediately via a scan with a mobile device.

Up to 7,089 digits or 4,296 characters, including punctuation marks and special characters, can be stored in a QR code. This means that each code can encrypt not only individual words, but also longer expressions such as Internet addresses. However, there is one important aspect that you should always keep in mind, especially with regard to the visual design of a static QR code: the more information is encrypted in a QR code, the larger and more complex its structure becomes.

In the event that the code is damaged, the data field of the QR code contains duplicates. Thanks to this redundancy, up to 30% of the code structure can be damaged without affecting the overall readability of the code.

A brief history of the QR code

In 1994 the Japanese company DENSO WAVE, a subsidiary and supplier of the Toyota Group, was looking for a better, faster and more powerful technology than the barcode. This should enable the processing of larger amounts of characters in order to be able to mark vehicles and parts more effectively. Masahiro Hara and two team members took on the task of developing what we know today as a QR code.

One of the biggest challenges for Hara and his team was to find a way to make two-dimensional codes readable as quickly as possible while avoiding reading errors after adding the position detection pattern. The structure had to be absolutely unique, which is why the development team spent almost an entire year investigating what the relationship between the white and black areas should look like after they were reduced to print materials. The result? They defined an ideal ratio of 1: 1: 3: 1: 1.

By setting this ratio, they were also able to determine the black and white areas in the position detection pattern so that the code could be detected regardless of the scanning angle. In short, this unique relationship allowed the code to be scanned from all sides without any problems, whether from above, below, left or right.

The original area of ‚Äč‚Äčapplication of QR codes was in the manufacturing industry, but with the triumph of smartphones and the fact that they were never patented, the codes developed into an open source technology that is freely available to everyone.

Today you can find stylish QR codes everywhere that offer large amounts of information and completely redefine marketing at the interface between print and digital media.

This brief overview probably didn't even begin to quench your thirst for knowledge. That's why we recommend our blog, where you can find out everything about the different types of code, such as: B. the micro-QR code.

How do you scan a QR code?

Modern smartphone models have a QR code reader integrated into the device camera, such as Bixby Vision for Samsung and the iOS 11 operating system for Apple. But don't worry if your smartphone doesn't have such a QR code reader. The app stores offer a wealth of alternative options that are easy to download and easy to use. With our instructions for Android and iOS, this will be child's play.