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How To Create A Unique QR Code Design

December 19, 2022
Kayla Uytengsu


Colorful and customizable QR codes
 stand out from the sea of black and white dots we’re tired of seeing. Today, QR codes have the possibility to be more than just a clunky tool you hide in the corner of your campaign. Customized QR codes can be an extension of your carefully crafted branding, catching the eye of any passer-by in the street, and never sacrificing your unique brand image.

There are several elements of QR code design you can opt to customize to suit your needs, but it's often hard to know where to start and how to best execute on these design decisions. This article provides an overview of three QR code design decisions: color, shape, and size.

Read on to learn about how you can creating a striking but highly effective QR code. Flowcode's here to help!

How do QR codes work?

QR codes are two-dimensional barcodes that are scannable from any orientation. QR codes contain lots of information in a condensed area, which allow smartphones to process information and prompt your phone to direct you to a URL (webpage). When scan a code, your smartphone has to process a lot of information in a small space to accurately read codes. Here are they key design elements of a code:

  • Eyes: The three bigger boxes that exist on every code that help your phone camera recognize that it’s looking at a QR code.
  • Datapoints: The smaller squares or dots that create a pattern within the code – you can think of these as the unique composition of information that makes each code distinct from another, kind of like a fingerprint.
  • Frame: Frames are usually added to the outside of your data pattern as a border. This can make it easier to add a call-to-action in the form of text (i.e. scan here or only today) without it confusing the viewer.
  • Background: The background of your QR code can be solid, gradient, or have images and other embellishments around the border!
customized qr code

Can a QR code be any color?

Traditionally, QR codes have been black and white as this high contrast color scheme makes it easy for smartphone cameras to detect codes. Color customization on QR codes used to be limited by a tradeoff of readability. Poorly chosen color patterns have historically made it difficult for for cameras register the unique datapoints on a code that help detect it and redirect users to the correct location.

Today, readable and colorful QR codes are simple to achieve. With Flowcode's QR code generator, you can pick from up to 20+ colors to create a design that is artful and matches your brand standards. Better yet, any Flowcode paid plans includes the opportunity to create a fully customized design with our in-house design team. Build a code that matches your brand's requirements down to the exact HEX color and explore designs with unlimited possibilities.

Now, every QR code you put on your packaging, billboards, and other OOH marketing can perfectly match your creative direction without sacrificing functionality. As a rule of thumb, always pick darker colors for your datapoints and eyes that will make it simple for a camera to pick up your code.

Read here for more tips on color customization

Does the shape of a QR code matter?

QR codes are complex boxes of data for your phone to read. Mentioned above, the eyes and datapoints of a code are vital to a camera correctly identifying a code and directing a user to the correct URL. The square arrangement of a code is the most effective way for this data to be digested, and matches with the positioning of the three eyes.

That said, designers and engineers at Flowcode have gotten creative with working around this. While there always needs to be a functional or ‘readable’ square within your QR code design, you can embed it within a more complex shape such as a circle, or other. The only tradeoff is that highly customized shapes need to guarantee readability.

Datapoints (or the dots and squares) of your QR code mentioned above are another great way to customize your QR code! In the past, most QR codes have had all squared features both as the code shape and data point pattern that fills the code — now you can customize your code pattern to resonate with your brand more! You can now turn those datapoints into triangles, hearts, or stars to impress your customers and match your brand.

With Flowcode, you can customize both overall code shape and datapoints. Our free generator offers customization, and our paid plan offers access to our in-house design team for further options!

Looking for more info on shape? Read the full article here.

Do QR codes need to be a certain size?

Selecting an appropriate QR code size is important to guaranteeing its efficacy for users. When you display a QR code you should consider the following factors:code shape, printing resolution, and placement. Codes with complex customization, poor resolution, or difficult to reach placement are all considerations in increasing the size of your QR code. Codes for different use cases, such as jumbotrons or TV adds require custom sizing that ensures high efficacy. As a rule of thumb, it’s best not to create a code smaller than 1” (1 inch x 1 inch).

With Flowcode, you can print quality QR code materials through our print store. Want more information on QR sizing? Check out this post.

colorful qr code

Why is QR code customization important?

Using elements such as shape, color, and size to customize your QR code transforms a boring functional element into an integral part of your packaging or campaign. Customization helps you differentiate your brand and product from others, and draws users to interacting with your code.

1. Stand Out From the Crowd

Square, colorless codes have been around forever. Leveraging customization of your codes shapes, colors, and borders automatically sets you apart. At Flowcode, we encourage exploring this customization because novelty helps surprise and delight users – boosting their engagement. Our research has shown that custom codes convert 18% more users than regular QR codes, which means that you can leverage this boost to improve your conversion rate.

2. Boosts Brand Resonance

Customizing the shape and color of a QR code is a great way to help your code seamlessly integrate into your brand and make it a memorable and recognizable experience for customers. By adjusting these design elements, you can seamlessly plug these decisions into your greater branding and design aesthetic to make a lasting impression on customers.

Why is working with Flowcode best?

If you're looking for a unique way to take your custom QR code to the next level, Flowcode is here to help. Flowcode offers customization at both the free and paid levels, depending on your needs!

Free Tools

  • With our free online generator, you get access to:
  • Signature circular QR codes and 7+ unique data pattern shapes
  • 20+ custom colors
  • Logo insertion
  • 8+ pre-made fully customized seasonal codes
  • Download and print to any size

Paid Tools

  • Any HEX color; create a code with up to three at once
  • Unlimited data pattern and border shapes
  • Collaborate with our in-house design team for a fully custom code
  • Discounts to our print store with pre-made templates for all OOH physical marketing materials

Flowcode is more than just a QR code generator; we power your offline to online connections at every step of the process. Our talented  in-house designers and customer success teams to bring your ideas to life. That’s why 70% of Fortune 1000 companies have opted to work with Flowcode to bring their brands to life via QR.

It's never been easier to stand out. Make your Flowcode today!

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