All you need to know about QR codes

QR codes make communication more effective by connecting the real world & the virtual world.
In the offline world they are paper links to Mobile apps and experiences.

QR code Anatomy Explained

What are all these squares?

  • Symbol: other name for QR code, used from graphic context perspective
  • Quiet zone or margin: is used to isolate the code from other packaging information. This zone is four modules wide
  • Position detection patterns: located in three of the four corners. This allows 360 degree (omni-directional) high-speed reading of the code
  • Data area: is an array of rows and columns. Each cell is stored as a binary number (1 and 0). Error correction codes are inserted into this area as well
  • Alignment pattern: they can appear in more complex QR codes and they will be located in the lower right hand corner. This pattern allows the QR reader to correct for distortion when the code is bent or curved. The number of alignment patterns used depends upon how much information is being encoded and appear on Version 2 and higher
  • Timing pattern: helps to detect the position of each cell in the QR code
  • Version info: Span from Version 1 (21 x 21 modules) to Version 40 (177 x 177 modules)
  • Format info: It contains the error correction rate and mask pattern of QR code. The format information is read first when the code is decoded
  • Error-correction (Reed-Solomon code): is applied to restore the data when a part of QR code is missing. The restoration rate varies on 4 different error correcting levels. For example, if a damaged area is up to 15% of the entire code size, its data can be restored by level M error correcting

QR code pixel density

A QR code is built out of modules (pixels) and each higher version comprises 4 additional modules per side. When the amount of data increases more modules are required to create the QR code, resulting in larger QR code symbols. The size of the final code will depend on the amount of data you intend to have in it.

QR codes Version Density
  • Version 1
    21x21, 10-25 chars
  • Version 2
    25x25, 20-47 chars
  • Version 3
    29x29, 35-77 chars
  • Version 4
    33x33, 67-114 chars
  • Version 10
    57x57, 174-395 chars
  • Version 40
    177x177, 1852-4296 chars

Best practices

  • The less modules the QR code has the less it is prone to errors
  • Always try to use the short links service when coding long URL links to get more optimization and a more durable QR code
  • Use level Q or H error correction level for QR codes used in factories or dirty places. For offices or clean environments the largest amount of data may be selected - level L. Level M is still most frequently selected and it is used by default.

Scanning a QR code

How to scan QR code
  • Step 1

    Open QR code
    reader app

  • Step 2

    Point your camera phone at
    the QR code and scan it

  • Step 3

    Wait for app
    to decode QR code

  • Step 4

    Content revealed
    (URL, vCard, Coupon...)

Customized QR codes

With customised QR codes your marketing can become more interesting and colourful. QR codes come by default in black and white pixels and sometimes it is hard to include such codes in the colour scheme of a marketing campaign without some design sacrifices. All these colourful pixels can be more interesting to scan and can reflect and enhance the brand, product or service at first glance.

Custom QR code art is trying to solve this problem with uniquely designed QR codes while still retaining its scanability. Another important aspect is that users can easily identity the brand or company behind the custom code and this delivers a bigger impact with proof of authenticity, that this code is safer to scan.

QR code Custom Design
Dynamic QR code Scheme

Dynamic QR code

The name “Dynamic” for this type of QR code is very appropriate. It has a dynamic component which means that the user can simply change the QR-landing page anytime after the QR code has been printed on the product, poster, etc.


A QR code on a poster points to the URL address: this invites users to scan the QR code to get a discount coupon. When the coupons are sold out, the link can then be changed to other web content.

QR campaigns

Today QR codes are appearing in marketing and advertising campaigns on posters, digital screens, products, estate agent boards, business cards, promotions, etc. They have already been used by the big mainstream media companies and brands.