QRStuff.com - QR Code Generator

Styling Your QR Code

Posted: March 29th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: General, Generating QR Codes, QRStuff Features, Styling Your QR Code, Styling Your QR Code | 3 Comments »

Late last year we introduced adding a logo or image to your QR code and recently we’ve rolled out a complimentary QR code styling feature for modifying the look of your QR code – now you can ensure that your QR codes really stand out by branding them with your logo and your colours and giving their appearance a distinctive tweak.

Independently set the colours and shapes for the data modules and the corner eyes and, optionally, embed a logo or image as well all from one interface with a range of options that give you the flexibility to change the look of your QR code a bit or a lot – the choice is yours.

To access this feature, log into your paid subscriber account, enter the details for your QR code, and then look for the “Style Your QR Code” button. Free users can also access this feature but will not be able to save the styling that they apply to their QR codes.

All of the colour choice and shape options are available together with the facility to upload your logo or image, a transparent background selection option, and a real-time preview of the finished QR code – when you’re done, click “Done” and download your completed QR code image.

JPG, PNG and GIF logos and images up to 6Mb in size can be added to dynamic and static QR codes across all data types and, through your paid subscriber account dashboard, you can also style any pre-existing QR code regardless of how long ago it was created.

As with all QR codes that paid subscribers create with us, you can download the finished QR code as a high resolution raster image (PNG, JPG, TIF up to 600dpi) or vector image (EPS, SVG, PDF, and DXF), and all of the usual paid subscriber features – dynamic QR code editing and analytics, password protection, pausing, scheduled release, scan limit setting, sticker template creation – are also available with your styled QR codes.

And Don’t Forget To Test…

Always test your QR code to make sure it works the way you need it to. Unexpected technical issues, misspelt URL’s, problems with the website the QR code links to, poor QR code image colour choices, etc, etc, are always best checked before you go and print 100,000 copies of your brochure!

 


Add A Logo Or Image To Your QR Code

Posted: September 29th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Add A Logo Or Image To Your QR Code, Add A Logo Or Image To Your QR Code, General, Generating QR Codes | 6 Comments »

At QRStuff.com we’ve been meeting the world’s QR code requirements since 2008 and every year we’ve rolled out regular updates and enhancements to what we offer our users, and improvements and upgrades to how things work “under the hood”.

2015 was a big year for new front-end QR code features and QR code management tools. Our 2016 program saw the release of our PDF QR Codes a few months back and the upgrade program continues with the release of our latest new feature – adding a logo or image to your QR code.

QR Code Branding

How To Make One

To create your own personalised and branded QR code image, just log into your QRStuff.com account, create your QR code, upload your logo or image, and it will be automatically placed in the centre of your QR code at an optimal size and position that maintains the scan reliability of your QR code. Once you’ve downloaded and tested your QR code (TIP: you should always test your QR code) you’re good to go!

This feature is available to paid subscribers and supports the insertion of JPG, PNG and GIF files up to 6Mb in size. Images can be added to dynamic and static QR codes across all data types and, through your paid subscriber account dashboard, you can replace or remove a previously inserted logo or image, or add one to any pre-existing QR code regardless of how long ago it was created.

QR Code With Logo

As with all QR codes that paid subscribers create with us, you can download the finished QR code as a high resolution raster image (PNG, JPG, TIF up to 600dpi) or vector image (EPS, SVG, PDF, and DXF), and all of the usual paid subscriber features – dynamic QR code editing and analytics, password protection, pausing, scheduled release, scan limit setting, sticker template creation – are also available with your embedded logo QR codes.

Best Practice

Being one of the very few ISO-standards compliant QR code generation services, we take technical compliance and scan reliability seriously, so we’ve built in some automated features that address several technical issues that are often overlooked when customising the appearance of a QR code. We’ve been doing QR codes globally since 2008 and best practice is what we do.

  • The error-correction level is upgraded to Level H (30%) to maximise scan reliability.
  • The inserted image is automatically resized so that it doesn’t occupy more than 12% of the surface area of the QR code image.
  • The image is optimally positioned so that it doesn’t obscure any of the “protected” areas of the QR code. Obscuring these “protected” areas will cause the QR code to fail.
  • A buffer is added around the image so that scanning apps don’t misinterpret elements of the logo as being part of the data load of the QR code itself. The buffer size is algorithmically optimised for the version number of the QR code you’ve created.
  • After the image has been inserted, any resulting partially obscured or incomplete data modules are removed from the QR code image so that “broken” data isn’t introduced into the QR code.

Add A Logo To A QR Code

We also separately store the original uploaded logo image file so that if you subsequently resize the QR code image, or change its output file type or resolution, we can regenerate a fresh new insert image that matches the new QR code image specifications rather than just re-using the perhaps lower quality thumbnail image from last time.

And Don’t Forget To Test…

As we mentioned earlier, you should always test your QR code to make sure it works the way you need it to. Unexpected technical issues, misspelt URL’s, problems with the website the QR code links to, poor QR code image colour choices, etc, etc, are always best checked before you go and print 100,000 copies of your brochure!

 


Colour QR Codes

Posted: September 9th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Colour QR Codes, Colour QR Codes, General, Generating QR Codes | 1 Comment »

rainbow-qr-code2One of the more common reasons why a QR code won’t scan is because there isn’t enough contrast between the foreground and background colour used.

For a QR code to be scanned reliably the contrast difference between the foreground colour and the background colour used in the QR code image must be large enough for the camera in the scanning device to be able to identify the QR code pattern against its background.

If the contrast between the foreground and background colours isn’t large enough then the scanning device won’t able to “see” the QR code image against the background and hence won’t be able to scan it and decode it.

So, how much contrast is required? The answer is in two parts.

1. Tonal Contrast vs Hue Contrast

Many QR code scanning apps scan in black and white (grey-scale) and not in colour so the “contrast” value actually relates to the difference in the grey-scale tone (or brightness) of the two colours used and not the differences in their hues (colour).

To show the difference between Hue Contrast and Tonal Contrast here’s two QR code shown in colour and as their grey-scale equivalent – basically what we see versus what the scanning app “sees”.

colour-to-grey

While there’s an obvious difference in foreground and background colour used in each QR code, the grey-scale tonal contrast in both cases is pretty much zero. Because it scans in black and white the scanning app won’t “see” the colours, just the greys, and hence not being able to discern the QR code image, the scan attempt will fail.

2. How Much Tonal Contrast Is Enough?

The amount of tonal contrast to ensure a reliable scan is going to depend on several factors:

  • Ambient light – not even a black and white QR code will scan in the dark.
  • Surface reflection – a shiny QR code image will reflect white. Not good if it’s on a white background.
  • Scan distance – the further away the QR code is, the smaller it looks to the camera and hence the more pronounced the distinction between foreground and background areas needs to be. This distinction is enhanced by a higher foreground to background colour contrast.
  • Camera quality – some cameras have a better tonal range response than others.

With a few variables at play it’s probably best to set a conservative tonal contrast level that’s going to work in the majority of situations and we reckon that safe contrast level is 40% or greater – ie; in terms of their relative brightness one of the colours should be at least 40% darker than the other one.

So, if your background colour has a grey-scale equivalent of 20% grey and your foreground colour has a grey-scale equivalent of 75% grey, then the tonal contrast is 70% – 20% = 50% tonal contrast. As this tonal contrast is greater than our recommended minimum of 40%, there’ll be no contrast-related scanning issues with this QR code.

Obviously a traditional black and white QR code will have the maximum possible scan reliability since its tonal contrast is 100% (white is 0% grey and black is 100% grey). As tonal contrast decreases from this 100% maximum so will the QR code’s theoretical scan reliability, but selecting a foreground/background colour pair with a tonal contrast of greater than 40% (and ideally greater than 60%) will ensure that your QR code functions as expected under most conditions.

The image below shows the approximate grey-scale equivalent of various shades and hues across the colour spectrum. ie; the black-and-white version of every colour in a particular row is represented by the same shade of grey.

grey-colours

Tonal Contrast Calculator

Here’s a handy tool that will help you determine the tonal contrast between two colours so that you can choose a QR code foreground/background colour combination that can be used with confidence.

Reverse Image QR codes

While we’re talking about QR code foreground and background colours and scan reliability I thought I’d briefly touch on another issue – reverse image QR codes, where the foreground is a lighter colour than the background.

While a reverse image QR code is supported under the ISO standard, it’s quite surprising how many scanning apps can’t read a reverse image QR code. Unfortunately this a scanning app thing and not a QR code thing so if you are intending to publish a reverse image QR code it might be a good idea to do a test scan on it first.

Here’s the same QR code in normal and reverse image versions – see how your scanning app works with them.

reverse-image


How To Make QR Code Labels & Stickers

Posted: March 15th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: General, Generating QR Codes, How To Make QR Code Labels & Stickers, How To Make QR Code Labels & Stickers, How To Make QR Code Labels & Stickers, QR Codes Use Cases | 1 Comment »

Make QR Code Labels & StickersHere’s some step-by-step instructions on using a label template in MS Word 2010 to create QR code sticker labels from a pre-made set of QR codes using the mail-merge function. We’ve used the Avery 22805 label template (1.5″ x 1.5″ 24 per sheet) but you can use any digital label template you want.

The point we’re assuming you’re currently at is that you’ve already created your QR code images and have saved them locally into a folder on your computer, and the end result of the instructions shown below will be a sheet of labels containing each of these previously created QR codes.

Create A Data Source

The mail-merge process intially requires a “data source” which should be prepared first. The data source contains the path location on your computer for each of the indivdual QR codes images that will be displayed in each of the labels (24 in our case since we are creating 24 different stickers on a single sheet of labels). The simplest way is to create an MS Excel spreadsheet contining the image file paths for each QR code in column 1. This column also needs to have a field label in row 1 which will be used as a reference in the mail-merge process later on. We used the label “qrcodes”.

Set up your Excel mail-merge data source file

Create and save this spreadsheet for later use.

TIP: MS Word can be a bit fussy about file paths so it’s best not to have any spaces in name of the folder your QR codes are saved in, or in the names of the QR code images themselves. Any weird characters in the folder name or image names should be avoided as well – just stick to a-z and 0-9

Open Your Label Template

Either open your digital template in MS Word (we downloaded our Avery 22805 label template from the Avery website) or use one of the templates pre-loaded into MS Word.

  1. Select the “Mailings” command ribbon
  2. Select “Start Mail Merge” and then “Labels”. Choose the template you require and press OK, or if you have already opened your own downloaded digital template just press Cancel (don’t know why this step has to be done when using your own template, but it won’t work if you don’t)

Open your label template

Choose your label template

The Mail-Merge Process

  1. Click on “Select Recipients” in the toolbar ribbon and then “Use Existing List” and navigate to the Excel data source file created above.

Open your Excel data source file

A dialog box will then appear –  ensure that both “Sheet1” and “First row of data contains column headers” are both selected and press OK.

Open your Excel data source file

  1. Position the cursor in the first label cell:
    1. Press CTRL + F9 to open the curly brackets, type INCLUDEPICTURE and then a space.
    2. Press CTRL + F9 again, type IF TRUE and then a space.
    3. Press CTRL + F9 again, type MERGEFIELD and then the name of the field identifier you used in your Excel spreadsheet created above. We used “qrcodes” so we type that.
    4. Cursor across to the just before the last nested curly bracket and type \d.

After completing these steps you should have ended up with the following in the first cell:

{INCLUDEPICTURE {IF TRUE {MERGEFIELD qrcodes}} \d}

TIP:The scripting shown above won’t work if you just copy and paste it in. You will need to do the whole CTRL + F9 thing as outlined in the steps shown above.

NOTE: You can also include other columns of information in your data source (such as a text label associated with each QR code), and the scripting could be extended at this stage of the process to include another MERGEFIELD parameter that pulls that data into the label as well.

  1. Click on “Update Labels” which will populate all label cells with the mail-merge scripting. Each script is set up to pull consecutive images from your Excel data source file. eg; first listed QR code into the first cell, second QR code into second cell, third QR code into third cell, and so on.
  1. Click on “Finish & Merge” and select “Edit Individual Documents”.  Select Merge “All” Records and click OK. This will run the script in each label cell and replace the actual script with the QR code image referenced in it.

Merge your data source with label template

A new document will be opened showing each of the individual QR codes in their own label cell.

The finished label template populated with the images from your data source

TIP:If you can still see the script text in each cell of the label template, rather than the actual QR code image, the press ALT+F9 to switch from Text View to Image View.

Save and print. Done!


Create QR Codes in Bulk Using Our Batch Processing Feature

A standard part of the QR Stuff paid subscriber feature set is the ability to automatically generate batches of up to 500 QR codes by simply uploading a spreadsheet file containing the details of up to 500 QR codes. The end result is a whole heap of individually and uniquely named QR codes that are ready to be imported into a label template using the process outlined above.

Click here for our batch processing user guide, or visit our FAQ section.