Setting the Record Straight – Part 2

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post on designer codes, please note the following:

First, I do not advocate the use of one type of code versus another (i.e., generic/basic versus designer). The main premise of my post was to say that QR Codes can, in fact, be generated in multiple colors, with images/logos embedded and set at various angles, which enables them to be as “visually stunning” as Microsoft Tag. QR Codes need not be considered “ugly” all of the time.

Second, there was a comment on the original post, which said that designer codes have a history of scanning poorly. Designer codes, as well as generic/basic, will only scan poorly if they are designed and generated poorly. Regardless, 2D barcode best practice states that a code should be tested, repeatedly, using a variety of reader apps, before being launched into the wild.

Third, my article commented on the possibility of the public not knowing that a designer code is just that, a 2D code, and will, therefore, forego the opportunity to scan the code. In other words, the company/agency behind the code gets too clever for their own good. While this can happen, I do not believe it has to if the company explains the code and provides information on where to locate and download a code reader app. Case in point (thank you A), this movie poster for The Mechanic.

The Mechanic Movie QR Code

Hidden in the gun mosaic is a designer QR Code (look above the letters “C” and “H” in Mechanic and you can spot the small code underneath the rifle with a scope), and unless you knew what to look for chances are you would miss the code altogether. While the overall poster and design is visually stunning, I believe the creative team went a bit too far in that the QR Code doesn’t come to the fore, but instead gets lost almost altogether. Also, no where on the poster is there an explanation given or instructions provided on the code and how to scan it. (Scanning the code brings the reader to a mobile website which offers a movie trailer, some background information and a link to an iPhone app.)

In summary, the point of my post yesterday was merely to say that QR Codes can be visually stunning. No more, no less. If a company or agency chooses to go too far and design a code that consumers cannot scan, or even find in the first place, then shame on them. It should be that simple.

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