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Updated
May 17, 2024
Read Time:
3
 minutes

How To Customize the Shape of Your QR Code

Using QR Codes
How To Customize the Shape of Your QR Code
Kayla Uytengsu
Growth Marketing
How To Customize the Shape of Your QR Code


If you're exploring the world of customized QR codes, now's the time to begin! Here we’ll dive into exploring QR code shape and how you can use this design element to stand out. Custom QR code shapes enable you to create artful and striking designs that match seamlessly with your brand or vision.

Ever wonder why most QR codes are traditionally square? We’ll dive into an explanation of QR code shapes, and explore why and how it’s now possible to customize your code. Flowcode QR codes uniquely stand out in an instant with our signature circular codes.

In this article, we’ll highlight two shape features you can leverage to customize your QR codes:code shape and data pattern shape.

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). QR codes are arranged with two important design elements -- eyes and data points:

  • Eyes are the three bigger boxes that exist on every code that help your phone camera recognize that it’s looking at a QR code.
  • Data points are the smaller squares 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.

Without these elements designed intentionally, QR codes either won’t be recognizable, or will have poor scannability. This means you run the risk of a certain phone model not reading it, or a user having a tough time getting the link to pop up.


Why are QR codes square?

When you scan a code, your smartphone has to process a lot of information in a small space to accurately read codes. The square arrangement of a code is the most effective way for this data to be digested, and matches with the positioning of the eyes. That said, designers and engineers at Flowcode have gotten creative with working around this.

The functional or ‘readable’ part of a code is always a square – you’ll notice that even if a QR code is another shape, such as a circle, you can usually notice a smaller square within it demarcated by the edges of the three eyes of the code. The shape of a QR code is essential as it helps to optimize scannability – so it’s important that no matter which shape a code is, that there’s room for a square arrangement within another shape.

custom qr code shape on packaging


Can a QR code be any shape?

At Flowcode, we’ve found that a circle is the most optimized custom shape for a code – plus, it’s eye-catching! That’s why with every level of our plan you’re able to make a signature circular code that is sleek and interesting, without sacrificing scannability.

Technically, a QR code can be embedded into any other custom shape; this requires the code square to be placed within the area of your larger shape. However, this creates limitations. As we mentioned, the ‘useful’ part of your code always has to be a box. So if you choose a highly intricate shape, it’s going to have to be big enough to have a high-resolution square code within it. That typically means your code needs to be a lot bigger. It isn’t impossible, but best practice is to focus on circular and square codes optimized for readability and customize your data points.

Can I customize other shape elements?

Data points (or the dots) of your QR code we mentioned above are another great way to customize your QR code! Instead of a pattern of squares, you can use smaller circles, triangles, or even hearts and stars to impress your customers. These basic shapes are all available with Flowcode for free, but you can get even more customization by working with the Flowcode design team! Check out some examples of custom datapoint shapes we’ve made before!

Best practices for QR code shape

1. Use Simple Shapes

As mentioned, there’s a tradeoff between customizability and scannability. A complex overall code shape isn’t always recommended, as it usually means the size of the QR code you make could need to be 5x as large as others in order to have a large enough code embedded in it. Keeping your code body simpler is a sure way to know that you won’t have to work around other placement constraints.

2. Keep the “Eyes” Visible

The eyes of the code are made up of three squares – they’re essential to code scannability. Without these, your phone won’t know it’s looking at a code. It’s vital that whenever you try to customize codes, you don’t mess with these.

3. Keep Placement in Mind

If you’re planning to place your customized code on a very small space or from a hard to access location, it’s important to consider how highly specialized body or datapoint shape may reduce a code’s readability. For example – making an overly detailed code that will be placed in a small corner of a billboard isn’t a great idea because phones will struggle to read the data. Always keep your prospective uses and placement in mind when exploring designs.

When you work with Flowcode, we take the work out of it. Our free generator tool is optimized for building codes that scan. Better yet, our in-house code design team does an even better job of suiting your needs.

custom qr code shape

Benefits of customizing shape

Shape choice can be important in fitting your QR code into other branding and marketing collateral. We find that custom circle codes perform better because they surprise and delight users. Here are some benefits of customizing your QR code's shape:

1. Stand Out From the Crowd

Square codes have been around forever. Leveraging customization of your overall code shape or data pattern shape can make your codes stand out from competitors. 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 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 the code body or datapoint shape, 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!

Aside from shape, you can also augment the border of your code, or add your logo in the center. These are two more great features for helping make your code recognizable – and they’ve never been easier to experiment with than with Flowcode. With Flowcode, at whichever level you chose, you get to adjust both code shape and data-point shape in order to build a code that suits you. Here’s more on our features.

  • Free Tools: With our free QR generator, you can automatically customize the shape of your code to be square or circular depending on your preference. You can also customize your datapoints to be 7+ different shape patterns to suit your needs.
  • Paid Tools: With our paid tools, you get access to everything at the free level, as well as an auto-design tool that automatically suggests different customizable and complex designs – without any added work! With paid tools you also get access to our in-house design team. Working with them, you can explore even more complex custom shape decisions.

We offer a suite of in-house designers and on-deck 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. Reach out to us today, and let us show you how we can help bring your vision to life!

Try it out now and make your QR code stand out!

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Kayla Uytengsu
Growth Marketing

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Design colorful and branded QR codes for your brand.

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