The design community is seeing more and more of a transformation in the convergence of print and online mediums. One of the most recent emerging trends is the addition of printed barcodes that are encoded specifically to direct users to a web site.
QR Codes, or Quick Response codes are created so that viewers with the appropriate scanner can quickly scan the code and travel to a new destination. Think of it as a treasure hunt for adults. What is required to 'scan' this unique barcode? Just two things:
1. A smart phone with internet connectivity. (Think iPhone, Droid etc. . . .)
2. A QR reader app. (Most smartphones come with a QR reader pre-installed)
QR Code Generators:
For designers there is any number of ways to easily generate a base QR code. The best news is, it doesnt require special software to do so. There are tons of URL shorteners and online web converters that will specifically generate these codes for you for free!
If you do happen to already have Barcode software, many of these have free upgrades to enable you to create your own QR codes directly from your machine. I personally use Barcode Producer for Mac and it allows me to create my own codes and then easily send them to my other programs.
QR Code Generators:
Recently, I had the opportunity to do my first project that was going to incorporate a QR code as part of the contact information. It was for the back of a conference brochure. I was elated just to generate one—I had no idea I could also customize it to match my branding. Starting out simple here is what I came up with! I can't wait to really play with this and create some sharp ones.
What you might not realize, after generating your QR code, you can actually customize it. I've played around with customizing them a bit and the best advice I have for you is TEST frequently! I've read several posts that say the key is to alter less than 30% of the code to enable it to continue to read properly. One thing to keep in mind however is, that you can also creating stunning codes WITHOUT actually altering the code itself, but simply putting it in a fun environment.
The following images are courtesy of Custom QR Codes, they do phenomenal work!