I’m not a huge fan of QR Codes, I think they’re a great idea that just hasn’t taken off. Regardless, if you have a client that wants to use them, you’ll need a way to create them. There are more than a few iPhone and OS X apps that can create them for you, but most only allow you to save a JPG or PNG version. Not very flexible.
I set out to find one that allowed me to save a vector version so I could edit the colors freely, and scale the QR Code to any size I needed. Here’s what I found.
After visiting quite a few sites, I came across LittleIdiot (odd name, eh?), an online QR Code generator that saves EPS, SVG, PDF, and PNG files. This particular site can generate a QR Code of any hyperlink, as well as email addresses, phone numbers, vCards, WiFi settings, and more. You’ll also have the ability to choose the foreground and background color of the QR Code prior to saving, as well as adjust the complexity of the generated code (which improves the accuracy).
As I stated earlier, I’m not a huge fan of QR Codes. The idea is great, but the reality is that they’re more trouble than they’re worth for most people. According to a recent study of college students by Archrival, while the studious survey respondents were clever enough to get in to college, just 21% managed to scan a QR Code example presented to them. You can read more about it here.
The other problem I have with QR Codes is that most marketing folks don’t use them properly. There’s not much benefit to forcing a potential customer to pull out their iPhone, scroll through their app screens, launch a third-party QR Code scanner, snap the photo, then wait for the site to load, rather than just showing your base web address. Most savvy users can type TheGraphicMac.com faster than they can perform all the previously mentioned steps.
Instead of using a QR Code to send the viewer to your home page, consider sending them to a specific landing page catered to the marketing material they found the code on to begin with. One of the best examples I’ve come across can be found at BestBuy. The QR Codes on the shelf sticker beneath the inkjet printers take you to that specific model printer, rather than just HP or Epson’s main website, where the potential buyer can read reviews and get a full feature list.
QR Codes can be useful, but only when used properly. And if you’re going to create QR Codes, it’s best to create a vector version for maximum flexibility.