That square shaped pixellated puzzle holds within it an ginormous amount of information when compared to its better-known ancestor-the barcode.

QR codes store information in two directions- horizontally and vertically and can store up to 1,520 alpha-numeric characters like email addresses, names, websites, geolocations and text. On the other hand, a barcode stores information horizontally and can stores identification numbers with up to 25 characters.

QR codes are available in various colours and are customisable with logos and shapes being added within them. Seeing these customisations, I became inquisitive about its form and did some experiments uncover where the essence of a QR code lies.

Image for post
Image for post

I found that a QR code remains valid albeit it was multicoloured or if some of its pixels (or data bits) were adjusted. In the case of the QR code for Plai design’s website (my research and design practise), its essence was towards the right side of its form and so if I adjusted any pixels on the right, the QR code wouldn’t scan. It’s also important to keep the Finder patterns untouched as those are markers used to scan. Each QR code has its own encryption, so these findings may not be applicable to yours.

Some readability issues such as low contrast, inadequate quiet zones (white spaces), printing inconsistencies, scanning angle and distance should be considered when modifying these zones.

This flexibility in form is shaping the design of an interactive installation of an ongoing project- Project Smart Campus, where I’m helping Amsterdam School of Applied Sciences improve the campus facilities for its students.

Here’s a useful article that helps understanding QR codes better-

Here’s a guide on how you can make your own QR code from scratch-

Written by

Plai design in a transdisciplinary practise specialising facilitating emotion-rich experiences and envisioning utopian futures, ethically and collaboratively.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store