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QR code failure

QR codes are continuing to grow in popularity across Europe and the United States, according to a report by 3G Vision (Global Growth in Mobile Barcode Usage – Q2 / 2011). I’ve been suggesting for a long time that it might be worth adding one when you get your business card translated into Japanese. Well now it seems that you should maybe have one on your English business card already.

On a related note, last weekend’s newspaper carried an advert for the 20th anniversary edition of Nirvana’s groundbreaking album Nevermind:

It might not look like it, but that yellow blob at the bottom right is a QR code. Unfortunately the designers of this advert have mangled the thing up so much that it’s unlikely anyone will be able to scan it successfully. The inventors of QR codes (a Japanese company called Denso Wave) clearly state in their specifications that codes should be surrounded by a clear margin of at least four dot-widths (or “modules”). Without this margin, your scanner will probably be unable to locate the QR code at all, let alone decode it.

To make matters worse, the designers have also pasted a doodle of a stoned-looking smiley face right in the middle. Although QR codes are capable of withstanding a certain amount of degradation before they become unreadable, this really isn’t going to help.

Here it is, anyway. Let me know if your mobile manages to decode it. Hey, you might even win something. Apparently.

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Header image: Maple leaves and bamboo stems in autumn at Tenryū-ji garden (天龍寺庭園) in Kyoto. Photo: Frank Gualtieri.

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