Guest Post: 5 Creative Uses for QR Codes

closeThis post was published 9 years 10 months 24 days ago. A number of changes have been made to the site since then, so please contact me if anything is broken or seems wrong.

This guest post was written by Claire from, where you can compare the top host user ratings and hosting for blogs.

QR codes can look a little mysterious unless you present them in the right way. Lots of businesses are placing QR codes on goods these days, but it’s unlikely that the average consumer will take the trouble to scan them unless they feel like there’s some benefit or interesting angle to make it worthwhile. Here are five ways to make your QR codes stand out.

1. Incorporate a picture in the code itself

There’s a certain amount of tolerance in a QR code, and if you’re clever, you can incorporate a design into the barcode itself. A restaurant in L.A., Ayara Thai Cuisine, commissioned a design agency to cleverly slip a line drawing of an elephant into their QR code. Louis Vuitton incorporated Japanese-style characters, diamonds and multi-coloured flowers into their QR code design.

2. Put the code in a place where people wait

Waiting for a train, standing at the bus stop… there are some places ideally suited to QR codes. While people are waiting for something, they’re likely to take their smartphone out and start playing around with it, so why not give them something new to try? Tesco, the British supermarket giant, recently rolled out QR code grocery shopping in Korean subway stations, entirely powered by QR. HomePlus, its Korean subsidiary, allows bored commuters to fill a virtual shopping basket while waiting for their train.

3. Encourage interactivity

QR codes aren’t just used by advertisers—they can be used to add an extra dimension to the world around us. Kolumbus, a Norwegian company that handles public transport, placed 4,000 QR codes at bus stops. When a passenger scans the code, they get informations about departure times, and messages from people who have been to the same stop. Much like Geocaching or Facebook Places, it encourages users to attach stories to the places they visit.

4. Make your code by hand

The pixellated nature of the QR code makes them relatively easy to re-create on a larger scale, and several artists have created QR codes from real objects. Photographer David Sykes promoted the launch of a new website with a QR code photograph of real objects. The piece was made on a canvas more than two metres square and photographed by a camera directly above it. He used a variety of objects, all painted black, including skulls, hair dryers, briefcases, champagne bottles and shoes.

5. Animate static objects with codes

Several companies have advertised in magazines with QR codes, taking the user to video content which makes the ad appear to leap out of the page. Ballantine’s, a whiskey company, ran a campaign which featured a man being tattooed with a QR code embedded in the design:

Once the tattoo was finished and the code was scanned, the tattoo appeared to ‘come to life’.

This post’s formatting is mine, but the text represents another person’s opinion and does not necessarily reflect my own thoughts.


I am an avid technology and software user, in addition to being reasonably well-versed in CSS, JavaScript, HTML, PHP, Python, and (though it still scares me) Perl. Aside from my technological tendencies, I am also a theatre technician, sound designer, violinist, singer, and actor.


  1. What exactly does that video have to do with barcode scanners?

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