Last week, a contributing author posted an article on Search Engine Land contrasting the pros and cons between QR Codes and Microsoft Tag. While I take no sides in the debate, there is one item that I wanted to address that the author, as well as many others, seem to misunderstand, as it relates to QR Codes. The author stated that, "Microsoft Tags can be visually stunning—QR Codes are border-line ugly." While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the author and others should know that QR Codes can be anything but "border-line ugly" and, in fact, can be quite aesthetically pleasing. Look at the work from QR Code "designer" companies such as Warbasse Design and QR Arts, and it is easy to see that QR Codes can look just as visually stunning as Microsoft Tags.
In my mind, there are two reasons why we probably see more basic or generic QR Codes (i.e., codes made of black and white modules) in the wild, as opposed to more visually appealing or designer-based QR Codes. First, brands and their agencies probably don't know or aren't aware that QR Codes can be generated in multiple colors, with images/logos embedded and set at various angles. Second, since 2D maybe something new to a company, the company is probably reluctant to invest the time, money and resources necessary to create and produce a designer code when a basic code can often be generated at no or much less cost.
It's any one's guess as to how and why people have stated and or believe that QR Codes cannot be generated in color or embedded with images/logo, but hopefully this post helps to dispel that myth.
Lastly, in the Search Engine Land article, the author questions whether or not consumers will become used to seeing basic codes and not realize or recognize that a designer code is just another form of 2D. Of course, this will be the case in the beginning, but as more and more companies make use of 2D and help to educate the public about them, consumers will then become more familiar with codes of all types. And the same holds true with QR versus Tag versus JAGTAG versus ezCode, etc. Yes, there are many code providers in the market place, and there is bound to be some consolidation, but for the most part it's just a matter of time and education until 2D falls into place within the U.S. market and consumers know one type of code from the next.