Using QR Codes in Design in 2021

They're back! Who would have thought? QR codes seemed to be dead and burried when we needed an app to point our mobile device at, and it all become just too difficult. But now, with integration into cameras and COVID-19 bringing QR codes back from the dead, 2021 poses an interesting blend for print and web design thanks to QR codes alone! Back in 2011, QR codes were implemented in stores such as Macy's and Best Buy in the US, however consumers internet speeds were slow and they were riddled with problems. These days, we're checking into places, finding out more information about products and services in a much faster (more efficient) way.

What is a QR code?

A QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response code) is a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional barcode) first designed in 1994 for the automotive industry in Japan. A barcode is a machine-readable optical label that contains information about the item to which it is attached. In practice, QR codes often contain data for a locator, identifier, or tracker that points to a website or application. A QR code uses four standardized encoding modes (numeric, alphanumeric, byte/binary, and kanji) to store data efficiently; extensions may also be used.

Who is using QR codes?

According to statistics website Statistica, in the US alone, 11 million households will scan a QR code in 2020. You can only imagine that the amount of QR codes and their use will skyrocket in 2021 as it's a safe, hygenic way of finding out information. Furthermore, companies will see this as an opporunity to help market their business and track campaigns.

How can I use a QR code on my flyer or brochure?

A QR code is a perfect solution for restaurants, gyms, stores and cafes to keep track of which people enter their facility, but it can also be used very effectively in print design to redirect epople to your website. Take a flyer or brochure for example, where you have limited space on a physical medium, but now you can allow people to find more information through the use of their mobile device.

What are some clever ways of using QR codes for my business?

Here are a few great ways to use QR codes for your business:

  1. Use the QR code as a business card, to share information about yourself, your employer or business.
  2. Use the QR code to call a phone number.
  3. To allow people to register and gain access to your facility due to COVID-19.
  4. Reveal discount codes and coupons for your store.
  5. Follow or display a social media page.
  6. Add an event to a calendar.
  7. Connect to a stores Wi-Fi or service.
  8. Display your company website and gain more users.
  9. Generate leads, so to scan for a free trial or guide.

There are a mountain of other ways QR codes can be implemented, but that's just the tip of the iceburg.

Needless to say, QR codes are back in a big way in 2021. Embrace them!


Top 10 Google Fonts 2021

Top 10 Google Fonts for 2021

The world has absolutely changed in the last 12 months, and that can certainly create uncertainty going forward and what trends we may see for typography and fonts in 2021. These fonts, all found on Google Fonts are great to use for your next web or print based design. Some of these fonts are tried and tested, standing the test of time even in a very difficult 2020. Some are brand new, making their way onto websites, screens and print media right around the world. And, others I've felt could be standout fonts in 2021. Nevertheless, these will be popular fonts in 2021 and the beauty of them is that they can be found through Google Fonts.

Top 10 Google Fonts 2021

What's great about all these fonts is that they all have different characteristics. Some are modern, some bold, some sans-serif, serif, variable – the list goes on. And, that's what is great about typography is how different fonts can be used to really personalise and individualise projects.

Lets take a look at my top 10 Google Fonts for 2021.

1. Rubik

Rubik is a slightly rounded sans serif font family designed by Philipp Hubert and Sebastian Fischer at Hubert & Fischer. It's beautiful in use, providing a clean and is very readable. The great thing about Rubik is that it's Variable meaning that sizing and styles are almost limitless.


2. Anton

Only available in one condensed, bold style, Anton is a re-creation of many traditional sans-serif typefaces. It's deliberately been redesigned for web use with opened counters and stems that are perfect for web. I can see this typeface being used for many projects particularly in hero images or banners to make a bold statement.


3. IBM Plex Sans

Already one of my favourite typefaces, IBM Plex Sans captures IBM's spirit and history in this unique font aimed at demonstrating the relationship between machine and mankind. Available in Sans, Sans Condensed, Mono and Serif, this typeface has so much versitility, and all varations can suit any projects needs. I feel as though we're so lucky to have this font on Google Fonts to use for projects as the quality seems a cut above a lot of other fonts.


4. Balsamiq Sans

I've been a long time user of Balsamiq Wireframes for my wireframes for web pages, so I'm so glad to see a Balsamiq Sans typeface available on Google Fonts. I can see this font taking off in 2021 and getting a lot of use, especially for the more friendly, family orientated websites or adventure websites – something that needs a calming font to allow the website to communicate effectively.


5. Playfair Display

How nice is this font? Such a lovely, presentable Google Font, Playfair Display oozes a certain amount of class needed. Very traditional in design, it's serif background stems from ink and pointed steel pens, giving it a certain historical touch. It's also a variable font which is what's needed in 2021 to hit the mark.


6. Oxygen

Need a font for graphical user interfaces (GUI), desktops and devices? Oxygen is the perfect sans-serif font, optimised for the FreeType font rendering system. I can see this font being used in 2021 similar to Roboto or Open Sans in a big way, and with similar characteristics, theres no reason why it shouldn't!


7. Poppins

Poppins has been red hot in 2020, and it's one of my favourite Google Fonts. I can see it being hugely popular in 2021, also. It's extremely versatile, with a nice geometric edge to it. It's a style that's been extremely popular where each letterform is nearly monolinear and a beautiful typeface thanks to the Indian Type Foundary. I can't wait to use this Google Font in 2021!


8. Roboto

Roboto is the most popular font on Google Fonts 2020. And, I can see Roboto potentially holding its title in 2021. Extremely versatile, unoffensive and a really simple and easy to use sans-serif font. It's quite geometric in shape and structure with friendly and open curves. And, what's also great, is its readability at both large and small sizes. It's hard to see Roboto being used less, in fact it could be up there with the likes of Arial and Helvetica in terms of usage.


9. Space Grotesk

I can see Space Grotesk being used widely now that's it is well established. It's only a couple of years old, designed in 2018, but what I love about it is the idiosyncrasies that make this font so damn good to look at. I can see web fonts in 2021 having a bit more risk, and I think something that has most of the characteristics of a stable sans-serif, with with a quirky nature like Space Grostesk, starting to be more widely used.


10. Major Mono Display

One out of left field is Major Mono Display, a very monospaced geometric sans-serif that only comes in all-uppercase. But it's extremely playful, and would be a great choice for a quirky website especially for web-banners and used in a larger size. Would I use this Google Font on a lot of projects? Probably not. I'd be very selective in using it, but certainly if the opportunity were to come up to design a website with a lot of impact, and abstract in nature, I'd be tempted to use this in 2021 for sure.



Top 10 Google Fonts for 2021

So, that's my list of my top 10 Google Fonts for 2021. I hope you benefit from the list. It might be a case where you want some font inspiration of what to use, or want professional advice. I'd love to know what your opinions are and if there's any fonts I've left it from Google Fonts, please let me know in the comments below.