QR Codes 101: A Beginner’s Guide

Learn about the basics of QR Codes

A bit like the Huns in Mulan, QR Codes are popping out of the snow like daisies. You can now find them enhancing your favorite product packaging, or optimizing the effectiveness of your business cards and resumes. You are intrigued by the potential of these Codes, and we have answers.

What is a QR Code and how does it work?

The quick response, or QR, Code is a two-dimensional version of the Barcode able to convey a wide variety of information almost instantly with the scan of a mobile device.

Able to store up to 7089 digits or 4296 characters, including punctuation marks and special characters, the Code can equally encode words and phrases such as internet addresses. One thing to always keep in mind, especially when it comes to designing the Static QR Codes aesthetic is that the more data is added, the more the size increases and its structure becomes more complex.

Even when damaged, the QR Code’s structure data keys include duplications. It is thanks to these redundancies that allow up to 30% of the Code structure to take damage without affecting its readability on scanners.

QR Codes on Marketing Materials

Add a new element to your print campaigns! Get inspired to create effective marketing collaterals with these QR Code ideas and turn browsers into buyers.

The QR Code: A brief history

In 1994, DENSO WAVE, a subsidiary manufacturing company, required a better, faster, stronger technology to the Barcode to process higher amounts of characters and to aid them in tracking vehicles and parts. Masahiro Hara with a team of two, undertook the task of developing what we now know and recognize as the QR Code.

Some of the most challenging problems for Hara and his team were figuring out a way to make 2D codes read as fast as possible, while preventing false recognition once the shape of the position detection pattern was added. It needed to be unique, which meant the development team spent the better part of a year doing a survey of the white to black areas’ ratio after reducing them to patterns on printed material. The results? They identified the ideal ratio as 1:1:3:1:1.

By identifying this number, they were able to determine the black and white areas in the position detection pattern which enabled the Code to be detected regardless of the scanning angle. In short, this unique ratio simply meant you could scan it from up, down, left or right.

Though the initially targeted field for QR Code use was the manufacturing industry, with the rise of smartphone use and the fact that it remained without a patent meant it became an open-source technology, available to anyone and everyone.

You can now find QR Codes stylishly delivering great amounts of information and redefining the print to digital marketing scene.

We know you thirst for more knowledge, so to find out about the different kinds of Codes, like the Micro QR Code for instance, check out our blog.

How to scan a QR Code?

Nowadays, the newer versions of smartphones have an integrated QR Code reader in the phone camera such as Bixby Vision for Samsung and the iOS 11 operating system for Apple. But no worries. If your phone does not have a QR Code reader, there are a plethora of options in the app stores that are easy to download and use with just the touch of a button. We prepared a guide for Android and iOS to make it easier as well.

What is a Static and Dynamic QR Code?

Static QR Code

A Static QR Code contains information that is fixed and uneditable once the Code has been generated. They are great for personal use and for QR Code API, a key to creating large batches of Codes for employee IDs, event badges, technical product documentation, and much more.

On the other hand, and because of their fixed nature, they are not ideal for businesses or marketing campaigns as Static Codes do not track metrics or allow for editing post creation.

Static QR Code TypeDescription
WiFi Make it easier for your friends and family to connect to your home network, or for guests to access your business WiFi with a simple scan of this QR Code.
Bitcoin By turning your Bitcoin or other crypto address into a QR Code, you will smooth out your cryptocurrency transactions, with the option of adding a label indicating the receiver and amount requested.
Plain Text Display up to 300 characters and the chance to offer your customers any message in any language, regardless of internet access.
vCard If you have printed business cards, share your email address, phone number, website URL and your company details instantly with a simple scan of a vCard Code.
Email You can provide customers with a convenient way to contact you with this Code. A pre-filled message can be sent with the simple tap of a button, with customers having the option of also editing before sending it.
See more qr code types

Dynamic QR Code

On the other hand, Dynamic QR Codes allow you to update, edit and change the type of the QR Code however many times you need, which makes them the best fit for business and marketing purposes.

As we mentioned earlier when explaining the QR Code basics, the more information you input into a Static QR Code, the bigger and more complex the structure becomes. For a Dynamic Code, however, the content you present to scanners is not directly contained in the Code, but instead has a short redirection URL assigned to it. That means the code remains small and is easier to integrate into your print material and packaging design.

Capturing and measuring your advertising statistics each time a Dynamic Code is scanned is, perhaps, the best feature for optimizing marketing campaigns. You can have access to when, where, and with what device a scan took place. You can add campaign info like medium, start and end date, print run and you can even reset scans and download results as a CSV report.

Dynamic QR Code TypeDescription
App Store Linking to multiple app stores with just one scan, it makes the promotion and download of your mobile apps much more efficient by reaching a wider target audience, regardless of the scanner’s cellular operating system.
PDF Digital magazines, brochures, eBooks, with this Code you can simultaneously boost your marketing, save on printing costs, and offer customers the chance to save and share documents all from the palm of their hand.
Social Media Share all of your social media platforms on a mobile-friendly landing page. Whether it’s Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube or Instagram, your audience can choose which platform to follow you on.
Coupon Remove the hassle of couponing for your customers with this Code. With one scan, they can save your promotion to their mobile devices, share it on social media or by email, and redeem it with ease at your nearest location or online store.
Business Page Let your audience get to know you a little better at their own convenience. If you don’t have a website, then this QR Code is the perfect, mobile-friendly platform to let customers know your mission statement, how to reach you, your physical store locations, opening hours and how to find you with Google Maps.
See more qr code types


The QR Code has evolved over the last few years. It is no longer constrained to character, numbers, and kanji. With a customizable, mobile-friendly landing page, for instance, you no longer need to link to a website in order to provide your audience with information. Additionally, it can store a gallery of pictures, video playlist, sound demo, PDF, information on how to reach you or your business, and so much more. This truly makes it a one-stop QR Code solution for marketers and businesses.

Once you already have an idea of the kind of information you want to share with your target audience, go to QR Code Generator and select the appropriate type of Code, input the necessary information, and design your QR Code to fit your brand image or your own personal taste. Easy-peasy. Or sign up to QR Code Generator PRO where you can unlock a plethora of Dynamic QR Codes and features, free to try for 14 days!

As bridges between the online and offline world, QR Codes can help you connect with your audiences by providing more information about what your company stands for, where you source materials for products, or the many services you can provide. Additionally, the metric tracking feature helps you understand better the strengths and weaknesses of your campaigns, learn more about where and who your audience is, and improve how you deliver content on your website, social media platforms, and through your print marketing.

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