Cool uses of QR codes

Aug 30, 2009
Updated • Dec 4, 2012

In March, Martin discussed QR codes, a form of 2D barcode that phone cameras can rapidly decode, with appropiate software (which can be found easily on Google). The practical uses are for phone numbers to be quickly entered or websites to be quickly launched; QR codes can feature in magazines, websites or on packaging, for example, to take users to related mobile websites.

QR codes can also feature in much less conventional mediums, a few of which I will highlight.

In Japan, most phones come with integrated QR code readers and, as such, QR codes are slightly more prominent than they are in the EU and US. When you read Wikipedia's article on QR codes, one of the first things you see is a picture of a billboard that features a QR code. Whilst this is definitely an interesting concept, I don't know if I'd feel comfortable pointing my phone at random objects in the middle of a large city at night!

Bulls Eye T-shirt

© Nicolas1981, 2009, under a CC-BY-SA 3.0 licenceAnother interesting example is a QR code t-shirt. Dozens of these are available; in fact, there's an online shop who primarily sell such shirts. My favourite is the shirt to the right, which has a QR code which decodes to 'Don't miss me'!

The Pet Shop Boys used QR codes on one of their single's, Integral artwork. Cooler yet, the song's video too featured QR codes which could be scanned and led to their website and a campaign against identity cards in Britain.

I'm a big fan of 'design' QR too. This is where the barcode is made to appear to contain a picture. For example, the below barcode leads to a page on the BBC's website:

BBC QR code

This QR code leads to a company who specialise in the creation of design QR codes:


That same company worked on these QR code chocolates!

QR code chocolate

Have you seen any cool applications of QR codes?


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  1. JohnDoe said on February 26, 2012 at 9:48 am

    QR does not stand for Quick Response. There is a QR decomposition for matrices, and which is the reason.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on February 26, 2012 at 9:57 am
  2. Kevin said on October 1, 2011 at 2:11 am

    Here is another website that has a cool use of QR codes on their products:

  3. @erikg1 said on September 21, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    QR Codes are very new in Canada – here is a campaign from Stella Artois –

  4. ASR said on September 7, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    QR codes in business cards can be useful!

  5. Kevyn said on September 1, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    This technology really sounded exciting when I first got my N95, but I haven’t seen it used much at all here in England…

    (hopefully that might change one day!?)

  6. kazounet said on August 31, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    Hoping to see QR codes here one day. I never saw one outdoor in France. However, I’ve installed the mobile app UpCode on my phone, just in case you know.. It may save my life one day ;)

  7. Dave said on August 31, 2009 at 2:15 am

    A couple of local guys just put up a sign for their businesses in front of their building using QR Code:

  8. Christoph Wagner said on August 30, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    I don’t have a picture, but in Saarbrücken is a gigantic (around 1-2 m²) QR Code which has some text + url of some underground art installation.

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