The QR code is a simple, effective and inexpensive method of identification. One can easily generate a code online and it’s easy to scan with a smartphone. In other words, this is a quick and effective way to convey information from a printed product to a connected person!

Because it’s so easy, it’s important to avoid adding a QR code everywhere, or as soon as you get a chance. Here are three general rules about when a QR code shouldn’t be used.

  • On a banner. The idea is a good one: to offer people the opportunity to go on your website with a simple scan. But the QR code will be difficult to scan on a banner, even with the best phones. The code is also likely to break the visual balance of the banner. A QR code on a pamphlet is preferable.
  • A QR code by itself. A QR code is a barcode and offers no information before being scanned. A code floating alone on an ad, a poster or elsewhere is pretty useless. It requires a legend, something that shows what you have to gain by scanning it.
  • When you cannot scan. Sometimes, we see a QR code in a rather unexpected place, and it’s difficult or impossible to scan it. If this is the case, it’s a fairly good sign that a QR code is not the right solution.

Sometimes, it is so easy to use that it leads to… misuse. The QR code is a very effective way of identifying and passing information along, but don’t forget that it is effective only if used and usable!