How to Create a QR Code
Creating QR codes are quick and easy, providing a visual mechanism to connect with the ever increasing majority of mobile phone users with smartphones through multiple distribution mechanisms. Creating QR codes with logos, color and light gradient will help them stand out.
This post will explain what is a QR code, why QR codes are valuable to marketers, how to create a QR code for your next marketing campaign. For bells and whistles, we will also show how to add a logo to a QR code, add color, a light gradient, to make the QR code trackable with campaign parameters.
What is a QR Code Anyway?
Just to make sure we are all on the same page, a QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response Code) is the trademark for a type of two-dimensional barcode first designed for the automotive industry in Japan according to QR code information on Wikipedia.
At its essence, the QR code is a scanable label which encodes information such as a web page or social media profile address. QR codes can encode different data types for different applications, but for the sake of this discussion let’s keep it simple and focused on encoding web address dat.
QR codes consist typically of square dots arranged in a square grid which can be read by camera enabled smartphone outfitted with any number of applications that can be downloaded and installed for free. These popular scanning apps are available to run on popular smartphone operating systems such as Apple iOS and Google Android enabled smartphones and native apps on windows phones.
Where are QR Codes Used?
Even if you did not know what you were looking at, you have no doubt seen hundreds or more likely thousands of QR codes in magazines, on billboards, direct mail pieces, on TV and possibly even a roof top QR Code such as the real world example below as seen through Google Maps Satellite View.
For fun, try scanning the QR code above in the Google Map for 1 Hacker Way, Menlo Park, CA 94025. Let us know in the comments what company this is and what you thought of their campaign.
If interested in the background and context of the 42 ft rooftop QR code featured above, check out this article on techcrunch.com. Here are some other creative applications of QR codes from iMediaConnection.com.
Why QR Codes are Valuable to Marketers
Though QR codes can have many applications, the most popular is encoding a website or social media profile web address to enable smartphone user to scan a QR code and be taken directly to a webpage or social media profile.
This can have a positive impact by making it easier for smartphone users to get to more information such as navigating to landing page or social media profile without to type in a web address, which can be a chore using a mobile phone interface. They can also be used to drive traffic to a particular webpage or social media profile.
OK, Now to Create a QR Code
For this example, we will create a QR code for this blog post and encode the URL http://www.eBizROI.com/how-to-create-a-qr-code/. We are going to use three online applications to make our trackable QR code with the eBiz ROI logo directly embedded. These include:
Step 1 – Create a Custom Tracking URL for the webpage, in this example, this blog post. Go to the Google’s URL-Builder tool and add the custom campaign parameters to your URLs so that we can track referrals to our website from QR code scans. For this example, we will enter the minimum required fields which include:
- Website URL: http://www.eBizROI.com/how-to-create-a-qr-code/,
- Campaign Source: twitterpic
- Campaign Medium: qrcode
- Campaign Name: qr post twitter pic
Once we click Submit button, the Google’s URL-Builder tool creates the following tracking URL for promoting this post through a customer QR code posted to twitter as a picture:
Now we have created a custom, trackable URL that which includes campaign parameters that can be tracked in Google Analytics.
Step 2 – Shorten Customer Tracking URL. There are a number of popular URL shortening services that will allow you to create short URLs that can be tracked. For creating QR codes, the shorter the URL, the less information that must be encoded in the QR code, making the resulting scan able image less dense and easier to customize. For this example, we will use the Google URL shortner http://goo.gl. Here we enter the custom tracking URL created in Step 1.
Once we click submit, we now have created a shortened URL which includes all of our campaign parameters from step 1 and a generic QR code that can be used straight out of the gate if no QR code customization is required or desired. To get to the QR code click on the details link under the shortened URL (see above).
We are not going stop here. We’ve come too far! Now its time to create a QR code with logo, color and and light gradient effect like the one at the top of this post.
To accomplish this, one can copy and paste the http://goo.gl/T7eHZP shortened URL into an online qr code generator in the next/final step.
Step 3 – Customize by creating a QR code with a logo, custom color and gradient. For this step, we will use a free online QR code generator from QR Code Monkey. http://www.qrcode-monkey.com. There are many choices of online QR code tools with various features and readers are encouraged to explore other options by Googling “online qr code generator“.
To create our custom QR code with logo, we will enter our shortened URL in the field labeled: Website URL where we will enter http://goo.gl/T7eHZP , enter the Color of QR-Code: 15A6A6, Effect: light gradient. Next we will check the check box next to include Logo/Image in QR-Code and then select the Own Logo-image tab to upload our image. Click either of the Set Image-URL or Upload Image buttons, depending on your situation.
Now on the right side of the interface, select Resolution in Pixel/QR-Point 40. We recommend that users always use the highest resolution as it will provide the most options for QR code distribution. Next click the Create QR-Code button to create your Customer QR Code, complete with logo, custom color and light gradient effect.
You will be able to see a preview of your custom qr code and download a .png-formatted QR code image file as a raster graphic (limited ability to scale).
QR Code Monkey creates other file types more conducive to large print applications such as.eps format (vector graphic), but those file types are limited to QR codes generated without logos since logos uploaded are in raster format.
QR codes can be used to integrate multiple marketing channels through scan able labels that can easily be read by smartphones making it simple for users to get to the get to where you want to direct them on the devices they use most and nearly always have within arms reach.
QR codes customized with logos, color and a light gradient will make your QR code stand out in the sea of existing standard QR codes already in existence and currently circulating.
Creating custom, trackable QR codes that include logos is a simple 3 step process that can be completed marketers in minutes, providing a mechanism to reach the coveted smartphone audience in a way that fits their lifestyle.