1 | Colorize

QR Codes do not have to be standard black and white in order to be scanned. Adding color is the easiest way to make them lively and draw attention from consumers. You can incorporate your brand or campaign theme depending on the goal or content you want to provide. Color the whole Code or only certain elements like the eyes which are the positioning marks that indicate the direction the Code is printed (learn more about the QR Code structure here). Play around with different possibilities and know that you don't have to stick to one color with QR Codes.

2 | Use high contrast

When it comes to colored QR Codes, pick colors for your background and foreground that are distinctly in contrast with each other. This is because most scanning apps have difficulty reading Codes that are faded or too monochromatic. Also keep in mind that colors may vary slightly after printing, so pastel hues that are too soft may come out lighter than it looks on screen. Always choose contrasting colors to be confident that your QR Code is scannable.

3 | Skip a dark background

When the background is darker than the QR Code’s foreground, it’s called an inverted Code. These types of Codes typically have a dark background such as black, navy or dark grey. While a few scanners can read an inverted Code, some apps are not able to scan them. Same goes if your QR Code has a transparent background, so think about your color scheme the next time you decide to print on a dark poster. To make sure that your QR Code is scannable, stick with a light colored background and dark foreground.

4 | Add an image

Another way to capture your customer's attention is by placing an image into the center of your QR Code. This could be a short phrase like “Scan Me!” or as simple as your business logo. Choosing illustrations for your logo is ideal since more detailed images (ex: a company group photo) can come off distorted and blurry. Always use an image that is sharp and clear. Your image should be placed in the center of the Code to avoid obstructing any elements which are important for the Code’s readability. You want the image to enhance your Code, not eclipse it so customers can still scan the QR Code.

5 | Reshape the edges

As with colors, you can design your QR Code by slightly reshaping the edges or “eyes”. You can use a variety of shapes but the key is subtlety. You don’t want the edges to completely reshape your QR Code. Keep in mind that extreme deviation from a QR Code’s overall shape will make it unrecognizable and unscannable which ultimately results in fewer scans.

6 | Keep it square

When you customize and resize your QR Code, aim to keep it a proportional square. Creating distortions like angled slants, bevels or stretching the Code actually causes it to be unreadable. This is exactly the case for QR Codes that are extravagantly reshaped, they are difficult to decode by almost any scanning app. Keeping an overall square shape will allow your customers to still be able to recognize and successfully scan your QR Code with the app they have already installed on their devices.

7 | Mind the quiet zone

The quiet zone is the space around the QR Code that’s important for scanners to distinguish the Code from its surroundings. If the distance between the pixels of the Code and the surrounding elements is too small, it can’t be scanned. The rule of thumb is to have a quiet zone that is at least four times the width of the modules of your QR Code. Modules are the (typically) black pixels that form the Code. Also when you enter a lot of information into the Code, pixels get smaller and more complex to accommodate that amount of data. When this happens, don’t try to compensate by reducing the quiet zone perimeter.

8 | Make it stand out

Is your QR Code big enough to stand out on your design? Since Codes provide high value information, they shouldn’t be tucked away in the back of your brochure where nobody will bother to scan them. Too small Codes can end up unnoticed or even unscannable. To increase your chances of getting more scans, place it towards the center of your layout for easy scanning accessibility and make it as large as possible. The goal is to attract user attention and make them scan your QR Code.

9 | Include a call to action

Why would a customer scan your QR Code? With the case of Codes, your content is available at all times, waiting for your customers to take action by scanning. Initiate by telling them what to expect when they scan. You can either place the call to action in the center of your QR Code as an image or around it if your Code already has a logo there. Our custom designed QR Code Frames are the perfect solution. Frames are colorful borders with different CTA messages that help you get more scans. Check out our free QR Code Frames here.
Learn more about QR Codes in the next article:
Top 10 Tips for Printing QR Codes

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