How Do QR Codes Work?

By now you have no doubt seen a QR code, and, if you are reading this page, you are interested in them. When you try to look up how QR codes work you are most likely met with how easy they are to put together, how easy they are to design and order and use to make your company better. But what if you just want the answer to your question? What if you just want to know how QR codes work? You finally came to the right place.

If you have ever so much as looked at a QR code, you know they have a distinctive design, which is part of their marketing appeal. They are made up of small squares within a larger square, and each of these smaller squares is called a module. QR codes are able to be read and differentiated because there are certain modules which cannot be manipulated and others that can, and the combination in which this happens makes a unique QR code.

Usually you will see three large squares among the smaller modules. These tell the QR scanner where the edge of the QR code is. There is another square on the code which is smaller than most yet not as big as the largest squares. This square allows the reader to orient itself to the QR code, ensuring that no matter how the code is mounted or at what angle the reader is positioned, the code will be able to be read.  Though less immediately recognizable, there are also strips of alternating white and black squares, which are called timing patterns, and these timing patters define the rows and columns.  Furthermore, the patterning of white and black squares immediately surrounding the three largest squares tells the reader what it is meant to do, for example go to a website, play a video, or download information.  

The reason knowing this information is important is all the above information concerns the parts of a QR code which cannot be manipulated. Depending on the version, the purpose of the code, etc, there are simply some parts of the code which must remain constant in order to allow the code to work. Other than that, every other part of the code is able to be manipulated in order to suit your needs.

This might mean nothing to you now, but that is because you now only have had only your first introduction into how you can actually play with your QR code, making it distinctly yours. Now that you know what modules must be in certain places, you can play with what is left, and, if you follow the link below, you will see how other people have taken advantage of this flexibility.

Fun QR Code Designs



by Michael Costa