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2D Bar Codes

By now you’ve probably seen a 2D (QR Microsoft Tag, etc.) bar code. Originally designed for use in manufacturing, these codes are now becoming a very popular and effective way to link offline marketing collateral with information available online. Since smartphones are capable of scanning 2D barcodes, and smartphone use is growing rapidly (over 50% of cell users in the US have smart devices) they can serve as a great way for retailers and consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies to drive traffic to their websites and social media pages.

At Innomark, we know that managing a 2D barcode campaign takes more than just printing the code on a display, package or brochure. You’ve got to understand the audience and their willingness to use the technology. You also need captivating design, a compelling call-to-action, and the ability to deliver the data these tools can capture. For this reason we offer both QR and Microsoft Tag solutions.

QR Barcodes

The quick response (QR) code was originally designed in 1994 for the automotive industry by DENSO to track vehicles during the manufacturing process. While not technically open-source, DENSO has allowed the patents for the code to be freely available to the public. QR codes come in a variety of formats and are read by almost every smartphone bar code reader. They are typically printed in black & white or using basic colors. While they allow some customization, they are best suited for simple designs that don’t require a lot of integration with your branding

KEY POINTS: Easy to create, reads on almost any scanner, very common in retail


Microsoft Tags are a newer version of 2D bar code. They offer more flexibility than other formats in both the barcode design and the content they contain. Because Tag barcodes are linked to data stored on a server, they can deliver a more robust experience and allow users to update content without updating the Tag. Tags can be black & white or full color and can include custom images such as brand logos.

KEY POINTS: Must be created and scanned using specific software (Microsoft), offer more flexibility in design and data, used most commonly in magazines and other periodicals

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