Creative QR Code Uses & Designs

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QR (Quick Response) Codes were created in Japan by Denso Wave Inc. for tracking vehicle parts in car manufacturing plants. This was back in 1994, almost 20 years ago, and in those 20 years the QR code has made a very impressive move into the public arena, with thanks to smartphones being able to read QR codes.

Most places you go today you’ll see a QR code somewhere. They’re placed on product packaging, they’re placed on printed advertisements and banners, they can be found on clothing, tattoo’s and even haircuts, businesses are using them on business cards, flyers and other printed materials – there are tons of uses for QR codes and people are making the most of them!

The past couple of years have shown us a real change in the way people are using and interacting with QR codes, and here are a few of my favourite examples of creative designs, and creative uses for QR codes.

Painted QR Codes in Art

Below you will find a couple of beautiful examples of creativity when it comes to QR codes in these paintings by Yiying Lu (creator of the Twitter ‘fail’ whale). The QR codes are painted by hand, along with the rest of the picture and can be scanned like any standard QR code.

Click the Image for Full-Size




QR Code Advertising Campaigns

There have been a few very effective marketing campaigns done utilising the QR code. One that springs to mind is Victoria’s Secret’s ‘Reveal’ campaign, which used a sexy image of a model who looks practically nude except from one area which is covered with a QR code, upon scanning the code you’re taken to the website where you see the full image which reveals the model wearing underwear in place of the QR code.



I’m sure that you all will agree that you would be much more likely to scan this QR code, than you would a standard QR code with no creativity – nothing to entice you to want to scan.

QR Code Resume

This is a great use of QR code which I hadn’t seen until recently, it’s an awesome way to add some life and your own personal touch to your CV or resume.

The front of the resume contains all of the individuals information; skills, work experience, past employment, education and so on. The back of the resume has a full page portrait photograph of ‘Victor’ with his mouth replaced by a QR code! Take a look below:


So not only does the resume have all the vital information, but it also has a nice portrait photograph, and once the QR code is scanned, it opens up a video on your smartphone of Victor’s mouth and he starts talking! So you get a nice personal statement too. This would certainly make any CV or resume stand out from the crowd.

QR Code Store

My favourite QR code usage has to be for shopping! A few companies have started to trial virtual stores, where customers can shop on virtual displays using QR codes. Customers simply scan the QR code for the product they want to purchase, they can then pay and checkout straight from their smartphone and have their goods delivered to them at home.

Two companies that have put these QR Code stores to use are Tesco and Ralph Lauren:


Tesco placed a virtual store at an underground station in Korea, allowing commuters who were waiting for a train to do their shopping on their smartphone while they wait and have their items delivered to their door in time for when they get home.

Tesco have confirmed that they are looking to trial these virtual QR stores in the UK too during 2013, so the results they had in Korea must have been good.

Ralph Lauren
Ralph Lauren come up with a very clever way to make QR codes useful for their customers. They added QR Codes to their store window displays, so if you were walking past and saw something you liked – even if the store was closed – you could whip out your smartphone, scan the QR code and purchase the item right there online. I think we’ll see more uses like this in the future.

QR codes have certainly come a long way since 1994, and it shows no signs of stopping now. I’m sure we’ll see a lot more of QR codes, and many more creative uses for them as we head into 2013.

The author of this article is a marketing and design professional with over 10 years’ experience. He recommends using for all of your visual QR code needs.