You’ve seen them lately on posters, websites, and product packaging — those black and white squares that look like pixel versions of a Rorschach ink blot test. Are you supposed to try to read them? Find hidden patterns? Call an eye doctor because your vision’s finally going?
The answer, of course, is none of the above. Those strange futuristic shapes are called QR codes — short for “Quick Response.” QR codes were developed in the 1990s as an alternative to UPC retail barcodes because they were more easily scanned and could contain more information. A UPC barcode is one-dimensional and can hold only 20 numerical digits of information, whereas a QR codes is a two-dimensional matrix that can store up to thousands of digits of information — both numbers and letters.
In other words: you can put a QR code to very good marketing use.