Tom Kubinski
Printing Consultant
Direct: 612-278-1568
Fax: 612-334-5879
Cell: 612-760-3700
1109 Zane Avenue North
Minneapolis, MN. 55422
Phone: 612-375-1150
Fax: 612-334-5879
Toll Free: 1-800-230-2828

Branding - 22 Laws Of
Brand Warfare
Clear Dry Ink
Creative Coatings Techniques
Desktop Techniques
Digital Printing - Variable Data or Business Development
Direct Mail Raise Response, Lower Costs
FSC Certification
In House Mailing Capabilities
Ink Tour—Everything you wanted to know
Marketing More Effectively
Paper Mill Tour - Coated
Paper Mill Tour - Uncoated
Picking the Right Paper and Substrate
PDF Formats
PDF Info & Quark vs. InDesign
PODi - Digital Print Success Story
Postal Changes, Mailing Requirements & Rates
Press Check Tips
PURL - Avoid Dog House Campaign
QR Codes
Save Disk Space
Social Media -- The Basics
Social Media vs. Print
Top File Issues
UV Burn
Ways to Save Money
What Sets Shapco Apart?
Why Print in a Down Market?
Why Work With TK?

March 2011 TK's Korner
Emerging Media Solutions - QR Codes

What's this?

Well, it's not an ink blotter test image.

Nope, it's not a paint-by-numbers image ready to be filled in.

And it is not a little kids drawing.

Ok, it's a little something that I put together - I know all of you were wondering. Ha ha

It is ... a QR Code.

(Source for info below,

A QR Code is a specific matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code), readable by dedicated QR Barcode reader and camera phones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be text, URL or other data.

Common in Japan, where it was created by Toyota subsidiary Denso-Wave in 1994, the QR code is one of the most popular types of two-dimensional barcodes. QR is the abbreviation for Quick Response, as the creator intended the code to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed.

Although initially used for tracking parts in vehicle manufacturing, QR codes are now used in a much broader context, including both commercial tracking applications and convenience-oriented applications aimed at mobile phone users (known as mobile tagging). QR codes can be used to display text to the user, to add a vCard contact to the user's device, to open a URI or to compose an email or text message. Users can also generate and print their own QR code for others to scan and use by visiting one of several free QR code generating sites. Frank C. Hudetz, a US Marketing Services Professional, claims to have invented the idea of mapping bar codes to a URL.[2][3]

If you want to know more about what a QR Code is, watch this video - a news report done by CBS Early Show, to see how it will change marketing and our lives.

General content of the video:

*Old Bar Code with lines holds about 20 bits of info

*New Super Bar Code-QR Code-Quick Response Code holds 1000x more info than old

*Use Smart Phone, scan image, goes directly to web site. No need to type in long address

*Powerful Marketing Tool-access videos, contests, promotions, etc.

*Instant Purchases and Payments

*Change how we Shop and Live in the Future

*Order & Pay for breakfast while commuting. No need to wait in line, place order, pay,
carry cash or credit cards... Simply place order, pay for it with smart phone, and pick up!

Game Changer:
Creating Convenience...

Users with a camera phone equipped with the correct reader application can scan the image of the QR Code to display text, contact information, connect to a wireless network, or open a web page in the phone's browser.

Types Of Phones That Will Read QR Codes:

Google's mobile Android operating system supports the use of QR codes by natively including the barcode scanner (ZXing) on some models, and the browser supports URI redirection, which allows QR codes to send metadata to existing applications on the device. Nokia's Symbian operating system is also provided with a barcode scanner, which is able to read QR codes,[4] while mbarcode [5] is a QR code reader for the Maemo operating system. In the Apple iOS a QR code reader is not natively included, but some iTunes Apps, for free, are available with reader and metadata browser URI redirection.

Android Smart Phone

Visit the Android Marketplace on your phone and download the "Barcode Scanner", it works really well.

Most iPhones already have a QR Reader preloaded on their phone; otherwise you can download one from iTunes.

users can download the BeeTag Reader

For other phones see

How one might use QR Codes:

QR Codes storing addresses and URLs may appear in magazines, on signs, buses, business cards, or on just about any object which users might need information on.

Standalone Applications
While the adoption of QR codes in some markets has been slow to take off (particularly in markets like the United States where competing standards like Data Matrix exist), the technology is gaining some traction in the smartphone market.

Non Profits
QR codes on bus stop signage, etc. where one can simply scan and donate while waiting - fastest and cheapest form of donations there is.

Professional Sports Teams
Offer specials where one can scan it in off a billboard, display, signage, etc. to get discount tickets, apparel and ad specialty items; even get something delivered to their seat while at game (beer, hot dog, etc) and a whole lot more.

Personalized Marketing
Most QR codes only lead you to a generic landing page and not a PURL one. This is a really cool and useful tool for a lot of companies to incorporate. Your customer or prospect simply points their smart phone with the app and it leads them right to their personalized registration page or whatever specific marketing program you incorporated.

Your Own Personal Information QR Code
You could create your own QR code with the specific information that you like to share and simply transfer or share with others. Try the one I have created for my TK's Korner issues - It is the one at the top of this issue and will take you directly to the current issue on the site.

Use in Marketing:

Recently, QR codes have become more prevalent in marketing circles and have been integrated into both traditional and interactive campaigns. Media where QR codes have been deployed include: billboard ads, in-store displays, event ticketing and tracking, trade-show management, business cards, print ads, contests, direct mail campaigns, websites, email marketing, and couponing just to name a few. QR codes are of particular interest to marketers, giving them the "ability to measure response rates with a high degree of precision"[20] allowing for easier ROI (return on investment) calculation, thus helping justify spending on marketing budgets. QR codes have also been used at trade shows and in conferences.

QR codes can be seen on an art festival map for Canton Ohio's "First Friday". The QR code was designed by Think Roth, (a multi-media marketing company from Ohio). The QR code on the festival's map takes you to a 'phone friendly' map with coupons for free coffee and art discounts around town.

In street art, La Pluma Eléctri*k (a street art collective based in Madrid) and Space Invader (from France) are only two artists who use it in the street for art purposes.

In July 2009, QR code was created for character design and promotional materials in the Shane Acker film 9. The use of QR code was part of the characters in the movie and culminated into a promotional campaign with unique QR code cards, posters and street advertisements on billboards or public transportation for major popular art events. These advertisements were largely focused upon the attendees of the 2009 San Diego Comic Con and 2009 Oscars. QR codes were integrated into the artwork and symbolized individual characters in the movie. Instructional pamphlets and videos were released to explain how the codes could be retrieved and deciphered. QR-coded artworks could be read with QR-capable cellphones for prizes and access to exclusive online content. This was one of the first major integrations of QR code with Hollywood studios and urban environments

Use as Artwork:

Edible and scanable, a QR code waffle created at NYC Resistor in 2010.

Since 2006 the Italian artist Fabrice de Nola uses QR codes in oil paintings or embedded in photographs.[11]

In 2007 the British pop group Pet Shop Boys used QR code for the artwork of their download-only single Integral. The videoclip for the song also features QR code. When the codes are scanned, users are directed to the Pet Shop Boys website, and web pages about the British national identity card plans, respectively.

In 2008, the Australian born artist Simone O'Callaghan created a series of screenprinted artworks called RGB, based on QR codes. Here she challenged the latitudes of scanning technologies by altering the codes to take on more organic and less pixelated forms, whilst still ensuring that they could be scanned by a mobile phone.[12] They link to quotes about media. She also exhibited another series of works called home.html featuring QR codes linking the photographic prints to online content about the places in which the images were taken. They were exhibited as part of an exhibition called Signals in the City at the Hannah McLure, Abertay University, Dundee, Scotland.[13][14]

In 2009 the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, in collaboration with creative agency SET and Louis Vuitton, created a design QR featuring the LV pattern and one of the artist's characters.[15]

In 2010 the musician and artist DJ Spooky used QR code in a fine art print exhibited at Experimenta Biennale, Melbourne. Scanning the code takes users to an experiential web based artwork called the Nauru Ellegies,[16] about the complexities of the South Pacific island of Nauru.

More Examples -

A QR code that scans to produce the word "LOVE" was also featured prominently in Australian artist Kylie Minogue's music video for her 2010 single All The Lovers.

In June 2010, the Design Exchange, Canada's National Design Centre, unveiled a large QR installed created by Rollout Wallpaper. Rollout Wallpaper is a custom wallpaper company operating in Vancouver. The installation is part of the 'Bent Out of Shape' exhibit, curated by Design Exchange staff.

In July 2010 SYCO Music recording artist Labrinth started using QR codes as part of a campaign to promote his debut single "Let The Sun Shine", as well as a cartoon video to educate users on how to use QR codes[17]. They were placed in different media ranging from street posters and stickers to music videos, websites and social networks. The QR codes take users through to Labrinth's YouTube videos, website and social network profile.

The webcomic QR Comic is made entirely out of QR codes. The first 28 entries are Isaac Asimov's short story The Last Question converted into QR codes.

The 2010 comic, Carnivale De Robotique uses a QR code to reveal a subplot in its third issue.[18]

In October 2010, at the Toronto International Art Fair, artist Jeff Tallon displayed Canada's first QR code painting in collaboration with the Engine Gallery. The work was a diptych that, when scanned, provided information about the adjoining panel.[19]

Use in Interpretation:

QR Codes have been used to interpret natural and historical points of interest on nature trails and walking tours, adding to or replacing expensive signs.[22][23

In this issue, we have covered one element within the Response Mechanism. Future issues of TK's Korner will cover the other Emerging Media Solutions as they pertain to:


  • Acquisition
  • Processing
  • Analytics
  • Consulting

Delivery Mechanisms-

  • Variable Direct Print (VDP)
  • Email
  • SMS (Texting)

Response Mechanisms-

  • GURL (General URL)
  • PURL (Personal URL)
  • 1-800 Tracking
  • SMS (Texting)

Tracking and Linking Mechanisms-

  • Redirect Pages-Web Media
  • QR Code
  • Short URL Creation

Dynamic HTML and Publishing-

  • Micro sites
  • Blogs
  • Forums
  • Documents
  • Photo Galleries
  • Web Apps

Social Media-

  • Consulting
  • Tracking
  • Twitter
  • Linked In
  • Facebook
  • YouTube


  • Tracking
  • Reporting
  • Data Access


  • Domain Name Registration
  • Short Code
  • Keyword Registration
  • QR Code Creation, Quick Response Codes, aka QR Codes
    (These can be general or personalized and are a great way to break into mobile marketing)
  • Return Mailbox
  • Media Hosting (For file downloading or streaming)

If you would like more information for your next printed project, to see some of the really cool samples I have or regarding this article, please give me a call at 612-278-1568.

Stay tuned for the next issue of TK's Korner. You just might be surprised!

Please refer back and visit often the entire library of TK's Korners where you will find information on subjects that may be of interest to you like:


If you have a production issue not discussed above that you would like me to address, or a project that needs to be looked at, please give me a call or send me an email. I will do whatever it takes to ensure you get the best value for every marketing dollar invested.

You can also check out my profile, join my network and view more client comments on LinkedIn at:

Referrals are greatly appreciated, if you know someone I could help, or who might like to receive TK's Korner, please let me know.

Take care and have a great day!

Tom Kubinski, Printing Consultant
YOUR Eighth Wonder of the World

Printing Consultant Who Helps You Make Good Impressions
Direct: (651) 255-1225
Cell: 612-760-3700

Selected portions reprinted in Print & Media Buyer, a national magazine for the print industry. (Search for Tom Kubinski)

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