Did the Pandemic Help Bring Back the QR Code?

Quick Response (QR) codes—those black pixel squares that you scan with your phone—seem to be having a resurgence. Outside of the design world, I never really gave them much thought. I most certainly didn’t use them on a regular basis.

As a designer, I’ve personally hated QR Codes. I loathed having to place this large pixel graphic eyesore in the middle of my nicely-designed poster, ad, or packaging. I’d do whatever I could to convince clients that displaying a web address was perfectly fine. I even thought the QR Code was starting to fade as I was having to use them less frequently. I thought the battle was finally over.

Boy was I mistaken. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been seeing the QR Code everywhere—especially while shopping and dining. As you know, touch-free experiences have become extremely important to stop the spread of the virus. And being touch-free is what the QR Code does best. When it comes to contactless payments or looking at digital menus in a restaurant, the QR Code works perfectly. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that new phone camera technology has made scanning these codes much easier.

And believe it or not, I’ve started to embrace them.

Clearly, I’m not the only one. According to a study by Juniper Research, the number of QR Codes scanned will reach 5.3 billion by 2022, and the technology is expected to grow exponentially over the next couple of years. In particular, you will see the codes used for:

  • Contactless payments
  • Downloading apps quickly
  • Targeted digital marketing
  • Consumer tracking
  • More immersive digital brand experiences, including virtual reality
  • Discovering additional product information in stores
  • Learning patient health information quickly through wrist bands
  • Connecting directly to social media accounts

So functionally, I think QR Codes have begun to win me over. Now, I just need to figure out how to place them neatly into my designs.

Taylor Design Blog