QR Code - What is a QR code?
QR stands for quick response. A QR code is a 2D matrix barcode; where a 1D barcode stores information as a series of lines that must be read in a linear direction, a 2D matrix uses modules (square dots or cells) that are arranged in a specific square or rectangular pattern that is scanned as a whole image, allowing more information to be stored in the same area. QR codes are usually square in shape and use black modules on a white background to create specific patterns in black and white, although colours can also be used.
The code is scanned by an imaging device (such as a 2D barcode reader or a camera on a smartphone); standard QR codes have three larger squares, which are used to define the edges of the code, and one or more smaller squares to determine the size, orientation, and angle of view of the code. The image is validated using the Read-Solomon error correcting code and the patterns created by the modules are converted into binary numbers, which represent the information stored in the code.
QR codes usually store information about the item they are attached to, but they can also perform functions such as displaying a particular message, launching a particular webpage, or even purchasing a particular item. QR codes are a popular way of hardlinking or object hyperlinking; an item can be labelled with a QR code containing a URL that, once scanned, will instantly launch a webpage on an individual's device to allow them to buy the item, find out more about the item (whether an item is in an advert, on display in a store, or is an item on display in a gallery or museum), or simply provide contact information relating to the business or individual who produced the item or provides a particular service relating to the item.
QR codes are most commonly used on products for tracking or information purposes, but are increasingly used on advertising materials ranging from small individual leaflets, magazine and newspaper adverts, to billboards and posters.Go Back to Glossary