You might not know exactly what a QR code does, but if a client asks for one on their business card it’s time to learn. First, the basics. This is a QR code:
QR stands for ‘quick response’ and that’s a pretty apt description of what it does… Just scan the QR code with a smartphone and half a second later you’ll find yourself sent to a web page with the information you’re looking for.
Do QR codes have a place on business cards?
Absolutely. In fact, they’re ideal for things like business cards.
First of all, they can turn a business card into an interactive experience. The code can take you somewhere informational (like an individual’s contact information), entertaining (a short video) or valuable (a discount coupon), but no matter what it will add extra value to the card.
This is also a great way to integrate your online marketing strategy with your printed collateral. Attach QR codes to your business’s Facebook ‘like’ page or a mobile optimised version of the site (HINT: freelance graphic designers might like to print up some business cards with QR codes linking to a mobile optimised gallery of your work).
In terms of the design and content, one QR code can share a lot of information. This means you can cut down on the clutter in your business card designs.
A freelance graphic designer, for example, could create a mobile optimized gallery of sample work and link it to a QR code on the back of a business card. Not only would that designer save having to explain what kind of work they do, but the card becomes an info-rich resource for potential clients.
Where should the QR code go?
QR codes are read by mobile devices so you should only direct your codes to mobile-friendly sites. These sites are smaller and simpler than regular websites, and are easy to view and navigate on a small screen.
You should also think about what the user was looking for when they scanned the business card… Probably some basic information on the company and the contact information for the person who gave them the card. Think about what you hope to achieve with the cards and link the QR codes appropriately.
How do I do it?
It’s a lot easier than you might think… There are a number of websites that will design a business card-appropriate QR code for you (for free). Search for ‘QR code generator’ and take it from there. A simple QR code generator can be found here.
Once you have your code, it’s just a matter of incorporating it into your business card design. You can either put it in as is, or you can tweak the look of it. Of course, because these are functional bar codes, you can’t change them too much. If you play with the colors, just keep them highly contrasting. Pushing things further, you can change the angle and also round off the corners a little so the codes look softer.
And don’t even think about sending the design to the printer without testing it first! Changes in size, color or shape can affect how well a smartphone can read a QR code. Don’t end up with 500 business cards that don’t mean anything.