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!

 


5 Ways to Re-energise your Brand using Design in 2020

Everyone can certainly agree that the start of 2020 has been tough for a lot of individuals and companies alike, with Coronavirus. Here in Australia, we’ve also had to battle bushfires over the New Year, resulting in a large downturn in business for a prolonged period of time.

However, with every dip comes a rise, and the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel is gaining momentum. With the release of the COVIDSafe app, many people in Australia are hopeful of a return to normality, and for businesses this means reopening. It’s important to reopen safely, so customers can regain trust in your business. Graphic Design is a great way to demonstrate trust, along with well written articles and collateral to assist your design.

To spark interest in your product or service, it’s important to jump the competition, and knowing when that would be can be tricky, but to be ahead of the eight ball is certainly an advantage. We’ve already seen how some companies are already doing this.

The design may be slightly different to your usual, strict brand guidelines, but by having a slightly different design shows versatility in your company too. Customers will love to see you being more approachable that usual, if your companies design doesn’t lend that way.

In my ten years of professional design experience, I’ve had the opportunity to refresh many brands and these five methods are a great way to re-energise your brand through design marketing in the upcoming months:

 

Using design in social media to promote your business as a whole

By using social media to promote your business as a whole is a great idea at the best of times. It can also be used to target a specific service or product, and that’s certainly fine too. However, with some clever graphics and design, using social media to promote your business as a whole is very important. In a time like this, creating a design visual that is friendly and approachable is what people really need. Businesses want to allow customers to feel as though their brand is trustworthy, so using certain colours, imagery, cues and typography can allow that to be the case.

Reminding customers through the use of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn or any other social media platforms that your company utilises, that you still exist, is important. To demonstrate that you’re looking out for them, and supporting them through this period of time (even without trying to sell a certain product or service) can be great messaging for them. The design used to do this can be different to your usual style, but doesn’t have to be too separate from your brand.

Zac Speed Ride the World Graphic Design motorbike

Future-proof your business through design

We know that, when COVID-19 ‘finishes’ that the world will be a different place. Designing collateral, such as print and web advertising knowing what will be different in the future gives you a jump-start on the competition. Will people be outside more? Have people taken up new hobbies, such as cycling, running and walking? Maybe people are reading more books, or using LEGO more (I know I am!). What this means, is if you have an in-demand product or service, which allows the freedom and escape that people are after, your business could thrive using design to communicate that message.

I know if I had a business that allowed people to be outdoors, have fun and use their product or service, that now would be a great time to design based around that. Using design, along with well thought out marketing and text, can certainly get that message across.

 

Designing promotional material for a product or service

We know plenty of businesses and individuals are struggling financially, so having a marketing campaign designed around having a sale for a product or service could be a good idea. Through the use of design, this can have surprising effects too, and whether it’s a print or online focused sale, the design can still be eye-catching and engaging for your customers. It should also be considered that if you have a product or service which is in demand, that helps a customer through this period of time, that a customer will love to reach out to you if you offer a product or service to them.

Designing for a sale should be tasteful and respectful to the customer your targeting. Showing value or worth through design, through the use of colour and type can help. Designing a campaign with different variations of the one product can also allow the campaign to market towards different customers.

Using an engaging website design to sell and market products

You don’t necessarily need an online store to sell your product or service. It is, of course, and option for many, but not critical. A website design that is informative, visually interesting, accurate and usable also, in fact, sells a product or service. Many website designs used for marketing result in a contact form, phone number or email address (much like my own), but to visually communicate the right message to customers is one of the most important messages to get across. This, of course, is done through the use of graphic design and visual imagery.

Having your website reflect the current situation of the world, and having a calm, understand tone and visual imagery not only allows your business to show that you care, but speaks to your customers and notifies them that you’re still in business.

Wordpress website design comparison

Design for your customers and make them feel wanted

I stress, in most of the material I write, that designing specifically for your customers is so important. When your customers are unsure about what to do to begin 2020, showing that your business is calm and stable through the use of design reinforces what they already know. However, as I said earlier, to perhaps alter the colour palette in a smart, concise way or altering the typography and products and services you specifically market can be exactly what your customers are looking for. If, by promoting to help them through isolation, and your product or service will help them achieve that, then design collateral with that at the forefront of your mind. Designing marketing material which soothes them, and relaxes them for the now, but also can re-energise them (and your brand) in the future, is reassuring.

 

So, those are my 5 pieces of design advice to you, and your business, to get you through this difficult time. I know 2020 has been a difficult start for many businesses not only in Australia, but around the world, but by designing material that can get you (and your customers) through this phase and also assist your business when everything goes back to ‘normal’ is critical in the success of your business and customer retention.