I first heard about QR (Quick Response) codes during a CALI meeting I attended late last year. Another attendee handed me his business card, which had this odd looking symbol on it. Even though I now understand that QR codes have been around for awhile, that was the first time I’d ever seen one. I asked him what it was, and he excitedly pulled out his phone and proceeded to open up an app and show me how the phone scans the code and reads the information that it contains. The information could direct you to a website, provide you with information on something, or even directly call a number for you. I was quite impressed. Of course, right after that day, I started to see QR codes more and more. They soon became ubiquitous. I couldn’t open a magazine, newspaper, or even my mail without seeing one. A lot of people started putting them on their business cards. I kept it in the back of my mind that I ought to do something with QR codes.
Then, earlier this week I noticed a new Meetup group called Inspiring Change: Successful Business & Marketing Strategies. The topic for their first meeting was “What exactly is a QR code and how it can help your company.” I thought that would be a great meeting to go to and an opportunity to learn more about QR codes, and so I did. I learned a lot about the future of QR codes. There is a prediction that eventually we’ll just scan for purchases and the amount will automatically be debited from our bank accounts. Apparently, there’s also tracking software out there that can tell where someone scanned a QR code, whether that be from a magazine or business card. Anyways, after this QR code session, my interest was built up again to go out and generate my own QR codes for TBS.
There are plenty of websites out there nowadays that will generate a QR code for you. Simply search for “QR Code Generator” and see what pops up. The website I found and liked that easily generates a variety of QR codes is http://goqr.me/. I went to the “URL” tab, typed in the URL that I wanted to direct people to, and quickly created and downloaded this QR code:
When scanned, it should bring you to the TBS Facebook Page. While you’re there, be sure to like the page! (You can do a search for “QR Code Reader” on your smartphone to find plenty of free reader apps to download onto your phone. The one I use is called “QRReader” and it seems to do what I need it to do.)
Then back to http://goqr.me/, in order to create a contact QR code, I went to the “vCard” tab and entered in all the information requested. It’s really cool watching the QR code image change as the information gets inputted.
After I downloaded the file, the final step I wanted to do was embed my logo into the contact QR code. I’ve started seeing this more and more. After doing a search on how to do this, I found this website (http://qreateandtrack.com/2011/01/05/adding-an-image-to-a-qr-code/) that had probably the easiest explanation on how to do this. In fact, when I created my own, I didn’t even have to follow all the steps about the white space. That may be because my logo was smaller to begin with. I even used the less sophisticated MS Publisher to accomplish this task.
To embed the logo into the code was as simple as overlaying the logo on top of the QR code image, resizing the logo, grouping the two items together, and then saving the new image. The two important items mentioned in the above link was to make sure the logo does not touch the larger corner squares and to “test, test, test” the code as sometimes they may conflict with different devices. I only had access to an iPhone, so I’m hoping there are no problems with other devices. In any event, I couldn’t have imagined it would have been any easier to customize a QR code, and when I scanned the new image, it worked! Here’s what I came up with. Scan it and try it yourself.
Now I’ve got my new QR code (with embedded logo) containing the TBS contact information added to my Contact page so that visitors can quickly and easily add the information to their phone’s address book.
Isn’t technology great!?