I also came across this article about making QR Codes more beautiful . The title of the article included “HOW TO:”, but trust me – this wasn’t a tutorial. There were some great examples though.
I have been tinkering around in GIMP a lot. I am definitely no master but have been learning as I go. QR Codes are pretty rough around the edges. Plus, adding customization to QR codes makes them unique and helps them stand out from the rest. Here is a short tutorial on things you can do in GIMP with QR codes.
Generate your QR code
First, you will need to generate your code. Different websites offer different options. The one thing you really need to make sure you do is get the 30% error correction option. This lets us edit the QR code and you can still scan it.
I went Raco because of the 30% error correction. I really like the different options from qrstuff’s generator though.
Most QR codes direct a user to a website. If that URL is very long, use a URL-shortener like bit.ly. This reduces how much data is generated with the code. More data = more chance for loss during editing.
Import your image into GIMP
If you want to change the color of your QR code, don’t do that yet. Save that for another layer.
To round all of the edges in your code the easy way:
I’ve found that adding color before gaussian blur doesn’t add good results. Here’s what I did:
Add a new layer and fill the entire layer with the color you want. You can also do a Gradient here, just make sure the contrast stays high. Otherwise? You guessed it: It won’t scan!
Here I did a radial gradient so that the edges of the QR code are closer in color.
Add Text or logos
Every time you change something, make sure it scans! Also, if you have the ability to, scan the code with multiple devices. The devices utilize the camera, so lower quality cameras could have problems.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. You can add drop shadows and larger logos. QR code design is really one big experiment. Just don’t sacrifice functionality for design.
So play around with it, post some designs and let me know how to improve on what I’ve got going so far!