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With the number of people using smartphones continuing to increase, the likelihood is that the use of QR codes will also increase, and so we have  prepared a brief guide to QR codes to help explain what they are and how they can be used.

What is a QR code?

QR stands for Quick Response, and is a two dimensional matrix barcode. Here are some examples of QR codes, and as you can see they don’t have to be just a black and white box:

Japan qr resize – Spindogs LV QR resized – Spindogs
sd qr resized – Spindogs time resized – Spindogs


Where have they come from?

QR Codes were invented by Denso Wave, a subsidiary of Toyota in 1994 as a way of tracking vehicles during the manufacturing process, and are now commonplace in Japan.

What do QR codes do?

The code acts as a link to a specific destination, for example an email, your contact information or a page of your website.

How are QR codes being used?

At Spindogs we’ve been monitoring QR code usage and over recent months have seen them used to fulfill many purposes, most notably for promoting events, advertising new products, distributing vouchers or offers and driving traffic to websites.

Did you know?

Each code has a 30% correction allowance, meaning a third of the code can be replaced with unique design features and the code will still generate the digital link. This means the QR code can have an element of creative design to help reflect and organisations own branding.

QR codes pros and cons?


  • Very quick to generate
  • Can be designed to look funky and eye catching
  • Becoming more popular as awareness grows
  • Many smartphones already have the technology built in to scan the codes
  • Cost effective


  • You need to download an app to scan QR codes from your iPhone/Smartphone
  • Not everyone is familiar with QR codes and so may not know what to do if they saw one

Who should use them?

  • Businesses who want to avoid content heavy print literature or packaging but have more information that they would like to get across to the prospect or client.
  • Companies who use vouchers as a promotional tool regularly and want to move away from customers having to print off the voucher, for example restaurants or bars.
  • Companies who want to appear cutting edge and make use of new technologies which may appeal to their existing clients and prospects.

How to use them:

  • QR codes should be considered as part of overall communications. This is important as many people still don’t either have the appropriate smartphone or have yet to download a QR code reader.
  • When using them, as the technology is still growing in terms of uptake, consider adding a brief explanation next to the QR code. For example you could say: “Download a QR code reader to your smartphone to access this message.”
  • Remember the information will be accessed on a smartphone, so ensure it will be viewable on smaller screens.
  • Take care to ensure the information/message/offer/voucher your QR leads to is going to be of interest to your audience or customers.

If you have any queries about QR Codes, or to discuss how your business could be using them to promote your goods or services, get in touch!

How can we help?