QR Codes in Graphic Design

QR Codes in Graphic Design: A Hive Manchester Guide

In today’s digital age, QR codes have emerged as powerful tools for seamlessly bridging the gap between print and digital media. They have become integral components of marketing strategies, allowing businesses to engage with their audience in innovative ways. At Hive Manchester, we are here to guide you on how to correctly and effectively use QR codes in your design and print materials.

QR Code Basics

QR codes, short for Quick Response codes, are 2D barcodes that store information, such as URLs, text, or contact information. When scanned using a smartphone or a dedicated QR code reader, they instantly connect the physical and digital worlds, providing users with access to web content, contact details, and more.

Choosing the Right Size

One crucial aspect of designing effective QR codes is getting the size right. A minimum size of 20mm x 20mm is recommended to ensure that the code is easily scannable. Smaller codes may not work as efficiently and can lead to frustrating user experiences.

Consider Your Material

The material on which you print your QR code matters. While glossy finishes may look appealing, they can make scanning difficult due to glare and reflections. Opt for matte or semi-gloss paper for the best results. Test your QR code on different materials to ensure it works as intended.

Design for Scanning

Your QR code’s design should encourage people to scan it. Here are some design tips:

Contrast: Ensure a high contrast between the QR code and the background. A dark code on a light background or vice versa works best.

Positioning: Place the QR code in a prominent location where it’s easily noticed by your target audience. Consider the natural flow of the reader’s eye on your marketing material.

Call to Action: Accompany the QR code with a clear call to action, such as “Scan to learn more” or “Unlock exclusive content.”

Clear White Space

To enhance scanability, always include a clear white area around the QR code. This “quiet zone” should be at least 4 times the width of the QR code’s modules (the individual squares within the code). This prevents any surrounding graphics or text from interfering with the scanning process.

Verify Your QR Code Link

Before finalising your design and going to print, double-check the link embedded in the QR code. Broken or incorrect links can lead to a frustrating user experience and damage your brand’s credibility. Ensure that the link is up-to-date and functioning correctly.


QR codes are a valuable asset in your marketing toolkit when used correctly. Hive Manchester encourages you to leverage these versatile tools in your design and print materials. Remember the essentials: size, clear white space, appropriate materials, and user-friendly design. By following these guidelines and verifying your links, you can create QR codes that engage your audience and drive them to explore your digital content seamlessly. So, go ahead and integrate QR codes into your marketing materials, and watch your campaigns thrive in the digital age.

Get in Touch

For more information on creating state-of-the-art design and print materials. Contact Hive Manchester today!