Let’s face it, QR codes are fugly — and take up valuable design real estate.
Additionally, if they’re not used correctly, you just messed up a perfectly good design for no reason. I’ve seen them used correctly and they can work, but I have to say, incorporating them into smaller marketing materials like a business card design for instance just cuts a third to a half of your valuable design space and alternatively if they’re too small on a billboard, what’s the point?
I was recently in Times Square and saw a QR in one of those huge building type of billboards, but the code was so dinky that unless you were up 5 floors and directly in front of it the QR would not capture. Either use them the right way or don’t at all. Here’s a shot of one used in a billboard right above a Starbucks that the designer thought they’d get cutesy with and guess what, that cute idea ended up with a non-functional QR. You’d think this would have been tested before it went to press. This stuff drives me nuts. Don’t assume something will work — ever, test it, then retest it.
Look, only time will tell for sure whether or not customers like to interact with QR codes on their smart phones and if designers will learn to live with them as part of marketing and design projects, but for now there are a handful of reasons to think they will continue to be a powerful way to increase your business for a long time to come. You may want to start getting use to them whether you’re on board with them or not.
Here are just a few things to consider or be aware of about QR codes:
The numbers don’t lie.
Sales of iPhones and Droids are only accelerating, with phones by Samsung and other manufacturers picking up steam, too. The one hundred million plus web-ready mobiles currently in use already make them an important marketing avenue… the fact that those figures only represent the tip of the iceberg means that QR codes are likely to become more common, not less.
QR codes are quick, easy, and cost-effective for marketers of all sizes.
It takes almost no time to generate and implement a QR code, have it ready for use, and start measuring the results. Like pay-per-click ads, the ease with which they can be put into place makes them even more attractive than they otherwise would be. Who doesn’t love an idea that they can try and test almost instantly?
Customers and businesses both love QR codes.
We’ve already covered the reasons that businesses love QR codes, but what about customers? As of this posting, QRing is an exciting app novelty that could get old fast or on the flip, become ingrained in how we do our day to day interactions with brands moving forward. Perhaps there will come a day when we are inundated with too many of them, but at the moment, the fast nature of QR codes makes them an unmatched tool for marketing through e-mail, brochures, billboards, and other outlets.
I’m personally on the fence with these new tools. Whenever a client says they want to integrate it into a marketing piece I think… “there goes the design.” I don’t think I’m resistant to new tech, there’s something about this one that has me pulled in both directions. Love ’em or hate ’em, they’re here so like anything else adaptation is the inevitable step.
or is it…