QR Codes 101: A Beginners Guide to The QR Code

I’m sure you have noticed that QR codes are popping up everywhere. 

If you have ever wondered what they are, who came up with them, and why so many businesses insist that you scan their QR codes, you are not alone. 

This article will hopefully give you a better understanding of the basics of QR codes, their history, and the places you are most likely to find them. 

What are QR codes?

What are QR codes?

A quick response code, aka a QR code, is a 2-dimensional barcode developed by a Japanese barcode developer in 1994 called Denso Wave Develops. 

QR codes are generally used in marketing, healthcare, business, and schools. They can be scanned with a smartphone, and an app generates the codes to connect to a website when scanned.

When someone uses their smartphone to scan a QR code, they will be redirected to the website, landing page, payment page, or social media account to which the code is connected. This makes it easy and convenient for customers to find the information they need instead of trying to input a website address. 

You may see a QR code on products, billboards, restaurant menus, business cards, flyers, and brochures. 

There are two available QR codes for people to use: Static and Dynamic, which we will break down and explain further in this article.  

History of the QR code

The QR code was created in 1994 in Japan by a company named Denso Wave. Its original purpose was to keep track of vehicles during the manufacturing process. It was meant to speed up scanning and ultimately improve and optimize the process of manufacturing vehicles in Japan. 

Static and Dynamic QR codes: what’s the difference?

static and dynamic qr codes

Static QR codes

This type of QR code is free; once you put in the information, you cannot change it. These are often used for email addresses, Wi-Fi passwords, links to social media, and texts. 

A couple of features of a static QR code are:

  • Free to use
  • It has one purpose only 
  • After being set up, you cannot change the information generated by the code, or you risk compromising it. 

Dynamic QR codes

Using a dynamic code allows you to change the information that is linked as needed. After publishing your QR code in a brochure, website, or email, you can change what information is shown to the person scanning it. 

A couple of features of the dynamic QR code are:

  • Can use Google Analytics to see how your code is doing
  • It is editable and allows you even to change the URL your code is linked to after publishing
  • The codes are trackable

How do you scan a QR code?

How do you scan a QR code?

You are not likely to find a new smartphone these days that doesn’t come with a QR code reader already installed. If you do find that your phone doesn’t have a code reader, you will easily find a code reader in the app store on your phone. They are generally free and quick to download. 

Are QR codes free?

Some QR codes are free, such as static codes because they are very basic. You would need to pay for a dynamic code if you want a more complex code to enter more data and measure metrics. 

QR code Generators can also be free or paid. QRMAGICK is a great free QR code generator with many customization options like colors, logo , frames etc.

QR code readers are free. They generally come with your phone, but if you need to download a code reader app, there is an assortment of free apps to choose from. 

Where are you most likely to find QR codes in everyday life?

To connect to Wi-Fi

Going into a public space offering free Wi-Fi, you may encounter a QR code to scan to connect to the Wi-Fi. This is a real-time saver and convenience at its best. You won’t have to enter a password, just scan the code. 

To use coupons

Making your coupons accessible through QR codes makes it so much more convenient for your customers. People can easily store them on their phone, so they don’t forget a coupon at home or even email it to a friend to share in the savings. 

Coupons connected to QR codes are as easy as it gets for businesses and customers alike. 

You might find a QR code on an event flyer. The code is great to use to help generate interest in an event or to offer up more details or special offers. 

To easily download apps

Businesses put QR codes on their advertisements to encourage customers to download their apps. This can help to increase downloads of the app and increase engagement with customers. 

Linked to website

If you are advertising or trying to get people to your website through online ads or physical paper ads like flyers or brochures, including a QR code that directly links to your website will increase the odds of people actually visiting your website instead of hoping they remember the web address. 

Social media

With social media being such a force these days, platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter support the use of QR codes. They allow people to follow content creators easier without having to search through the whole platform. A quick scan of the code will land them on their favorite influencer’s social media page. 


Email QR codes aim to make it as easy for your customers to email you as possible. They can be included in your marketing campaigns, so your customer doesn’t have to fumble around typing in your email; instead, just scan the code, and your email is readily available to send you a message. 

Business cards

You may have got a business card or two with a QR code on it. These are prime spots for a code, and you can attach whatever information you want to the code. It can take your customers to your email, website, social media, or landing page. 


QR codes are everywhere, and they are making our lives easier and information even more accessible. Just about any business can include a QR code in their marketing campaigns to increase engagement with their customers. 

We hope reading this article has been helpful and you have learned something new about QR codes. Not only do they look cool and pop up everywhere, but they are also very practical. 

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