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It’s far too often that I find QR codes wandering the streets alone, unexplained and irrelevant. It seems these days that everything has one slapped on it in the hope that some unsuspecting consumer will be enticed by it’s sexy random rectangles and appealing black border. I mean, who wouldn’t want to take a picture of one of these bad-boys?

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The reality is consumers, for the most part, aren’t that interested in QR codes that do nothing except take you to a website they could have otherwise found themselves. As an Art Director I find them to be huge eye-sores that can draw visual attention away from the concept itself. What really grinds my gears are people who’ve decided to ruin the overall visual esthetic of their work with a QR code but chose not to give it a function beyond arbitrarily linking you to the company’s home page. In my entire portfolio you can see one QR code and I promise you it has a purpose – both conceptually and functionally.

In cases where the code links the consumer to an app they might use on their phone that actually allows them to interact with the product, QR codes work great. For example, if the product allows for any kind of customization, a link to the page where they can start customizing the product would be an excellent idea – or perhaps a link to an app that shows different customization options. Simply linking the user to the home page adds extra steps that will likely cause frustration and confusion. At the very least it will cause your target market to have to do more work than they expected, causing you to loose their attention and miss out on an opportunity to convince them your product is what they want.

For the most part I guess what I’m saying is: a QR code is generally redundant unless it serves a functional purpose beyond simply doing what your standard contact information does already. Remember, not everyone can read QR codes, you may be missing out on a portion of the market if you’re design relies too heavily on a QR code.

– Josh Bezemer