You have probably run into QR Codes at some point in your life. QR Codes are used on everything from food packaging, magazine ads, signs, and even billboards. Since you can scan them with your smartphone or tablet, they give you easy access to a product’s website or a businesses’ VCard information. Most people think you need to be a computer programmer or graphics designer in order to generate QR Codes. This notion is a myth. In this post I am going to show you how to generate free custom QR Codes.
What is a QR Code?
A QR Code is a two-dimensional bar code. QR Codes were originally developed in 1994 by Denso Wave Inc., a corporate member of the Toyota Group. Today this technology is free for public use. As such, the QR Code can encode over 4,000 characters into the code’s two-dimensional space. This makes the QR Code more versatile than linear bar codes. It can easily be read by smartphones and tablets thereby giving you immediate access to content. When you scan a QR Code with your smartphone, the QR Code reader app will automatically carry out a pre-programmed action, like storing business card information into your phone’s contact list or opening your web browser to a specific URL. QR Codes can be seen on billboards, magazines, consumer packaging, business cards, newsletters, etc.
How to Generate Free Custom QR Codes
The internet is populated with several websites that provide free QR Code generation. I have tested many of them over the last 4 years. My favorite QR Code Generator is the one provided by GOQR.me. GOQR’s QR Code Generator is very versatile and yet simple to use. Figure#1 below depicts the home page for GOQR.me. In the upper left hand corner you see the 1. Type selection region. Here you can choose from the following 9 types of QR Codes: url, text, vcard, sms, call, geolocation, event, email, and wifi.
For the purposes of this instructional post, we will create a VCard QR Code. For grins, we will create this QR Code for Yosemite Sam, a cartoon gunslinger who works at Yosemite National Park. From the home page click on the vcard icon. Figure#2 below shows the VCard form. As you can see, you can enter in a wealth of business information including email addresses, multiple phone numbers, and website url. I have entered Yosemite Sam’s business title, company, city, zip code, country, phone number, and website url. Once this information is entered, you have two choices for the QR Code generation, you can either Download the QR Code or you can Embed it. You will download the QR code file (JPEG or PNG file) when you want to place the QR Code into a graphic design file for printing or publication (i.e. Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, Quark XPress, MS Word, MS Publisher, etc.). You will click on the Embed option when you wish to obtain either the HTML code for embedding the QR Code onto a website or inserting it into an Instant Messaging/Text/Email message.
For our example, I have clicked on the Download button. Figure#3 below shows the QR Code Generation Download screen. You have the option to change the error correction code, foreground color, background color, border size, and overall QR Code size. I have always used the L Error Correction Code. You can select the foreground & background colors based upon your personal preferences. However, you will want to perform a test scan using a printed sample of the QR Code to make certain it is readable. For example, you would not want to use a black foreground with a dark gray background. Choose the QR Code overall size based upon the end use. For business cards, I have used the smallest size of 150. In most cases, you will resize the code in your graphic design software. Please note, if you filled out most of the information in the VCard Form you will want to be careful of how small you make the final code. I have found that for a completely filled out VCard Form, I cannot make the final printed QR Code smaller than between 0.500″ & 0.625″ (on a side). Any size smaller than this and the QR Code will be un-readable. Always perform a scanning readability test on a sample of your QR Code before sending it on to final publication! Figure#4 shows the final QR Code I created for Yosemite Sam. Check out how it works by scanning the example with your smartphone.
This post has shown you how to generate free custom QR Codes. This simple, fun process will empower you to add powerful interactive capabilities to your advertising publications, business cards, website, and even your volunteer organization’s community flyers. I highly recommend using GOQR.me free QR Code Generator.