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FLEXO Magazine : April 2012
“dark” vs. “light” non-image area. The reason for this is that many of the QR code readers and apps for mobile devices need to universally read the code and having a stark contrast to image versus no image is important. At the end of the day, the code should be tested on a variety of apps and readers to ensure positive scans. Second, one should avoid knockouts with a QR code. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, but as in the first parameter, the QR code should be able to be read by mobile devices and QR code readers. Third, there needs to be sufficient white space surrounding the QR code. The purpose of this is to ensure that no surround- ing copy interferes with the ability of the code to be scanned. Other parameters that are important for QR code repro- duction include, a recommended minimal size of 1.5 in. x 1.5 in. Smaller codes are obviously used on a daily basis, but the recommendation is to test to ensure positive reads. One challenge that we have in graphic communication is that many feel the QR code is ugly. When CPCs are trying to create a beautiful package some feel that the QR code ren- ders the resulting package ugly. To combat this, many try to “spice up” the code. This can be done successfully. One can add corporate colors, designs, and interesting artistic aspects to a QR code. The codes can be brought into application pro- grams, such as Adobe Illustrator, and be altered and scaled positively. However, be aware that if a designer changes the look of the QR code, it should be tested, tested, and tested again to ensure a positive read. QR codes have great functionality. An easy and free scan from a mobile device will take the consumer to a website or other destination to further engage him/her to the brand of the product. However, for the CPC, building the mobile marketing campaign is not free. SNAPTAGTM There is some technology available to challenge the shortcomings of QR codes. Spyderlynk is a mobile marketing company based in Denver, CO. It has a 2D code technology called SnapTagTM. This technology is similar to QR codes in that it engages consumers at the point of sale, allowing them to “snap” a photo of a tag, and send the photo via text or e-mail and get a response such as mobile coupons, web site information, etc. But unlike QR codes, SnapTagsTM use the company logo as the primary image element. Surrounding the logo is a ring with three or more notches in it. Depending on the location of the notches, the reader will lead consumers to different types of mobile marketing campaigns. In addition, one does not need to own a smart- phone to use SnapTagsTM. Any phone with a camera can be used with this type of 2D code, which opens up the population of users to the CPC. SnapTagsTM are not free, however. Spyderlynk will license this technology to the CPC and build the databases and market- ing campaign for it. This is an interesting departure from QR codes because CPCs can use their own logo (with color) and have the mobile marketing campaign built for them. This packaging option can enable more targeted advertising ap- proaches to the consumer. Like QR codes, reproducing the SnapTagTM comes with strong recommendations. The first is the tag within the frame needs to be approxi- mately1.5 in. by 1.45 in. That frame includes a white space requirement of 1.25 in. around the code ring of .86 in. 34 FLEXO april 2012 www.flexography.org