Monday, April 25, 2011

Stop trying to make QR codes look pretty !!

qr codes

Reading over a coffee this morning only to find this - ugh..... must manage blood pressure rising only Monday morning must relax......

Web developer David Szotten had an idea to add a bit of color, branding and design to QR 2D barcodes. Above you can see an example of a QR code that has been converted using his Pretty QR application. David allows you to add a dash of color along with a logo – now that’s hot!

My comments are below

Ugh fail fail fail on so many levels.

Firstly Allen you know i'm a huge fan of QR codes but this is terrible (btw did you try and access the example above? it wont read using my moto droid).

QR code reader software requires there to be variation between the two colours eg black and white is used most often but you could just as easily use Blue and white or red and white - it's the contrast that is key NOT the actually colour.

I'd suspect that what is happening above is the black+orange both equalling + or "1" is confusing the reader against the white or "0".

Now regarding the logo sitting inside of the QR - fail fail fail.
As you already know QR codes have "redundancy" built into them in the form of error correction.This is normally there to allow for a print smudge, camera capture aberration etc.

As you've seen above it's easy to put a "logo" or brand into the Qr code as long as you only wipe out "so much" of the QR code area the code will still read fine. If it doesn't just increase up the error correction redundancy to the point that it works but each time you increase error correction it increases the size of the QR code..... basically making the QR code bigger kind of defeats the purpose of trying to make it pretty in the first place.
If you must do QR code "enhancement" please use Overlay and not embedding. Overlay positions the QR code "within" a logo and builds a surrounding design.

Want to see some examples of what that means - check out for my contact details and get in touch.



  1. so we should all go back to using grey coloured computers and regulation coloured cars, houses etc that all look the same. Duh. Get real.

  2. if coloured cars failed when driven by some of the people then yes we should.

    the fact you think its colour related means you dont get it.

  3. I completely agree - the have the rest of the world for customization, what should be just about enough :-)

    Any QR-related accessibility issues are just... accessibility issues. I was able to access the code (iPhone 4 + RedLaser)... and then saw not mobile optimized site on the other end :-)

  4. Didn't work on my iPad. Fail. QR Codes are only good if they work... lol...

  5. scanned perfect with Barcode Scanner on Samsung Galaxy S2