QR codes are used a lot today, and are common place on things such as advertising poster, packaging, even clothing. They’re everywhere it seems. The idea behind them is is that they are a readable via a smartphone camera, and are commonly used as a website redirection. The code essentially is a website URL, and they have become an extension to things such as billboard posters, where a person can scan the code with their phone and be taken to a website which corresponds to the advert they are viewing. They are only readable with a QR code reader app though, and to benefit from them, a person would need to download and install one on their phone, which not everyone will do. Also, they are everywhere, and no longer seem to be a novelty anymore which means they can be easily missable by a viewer. To overcome this, some designers have thought up clever ways to reproduce the QR code.
The above examples show codes used in alternative ways; Heineken have used bottles tops to create a layout of QR code, while the right example shows how the pattern can be used to create a clothing design. Both of them will work as a QR code, and being that they are common place, viewers would instantly recognise them, and become involved with them. But are there alternatives to this form of code?
The above video shows a demonstration of a Marvel Comics app which uses augmented reality to expand a comic book further. This requires the user to download the Marvel AR app onto their phone or tablet, and using the app and their camera can point it at any page, and via the screen will see an augmented reality, which brings a new dimension to the physical comic book, seemingly bringing it to life. This only requires a single app download and works without the use of a QR code.
Clickable Paper is another app that doesn’t require the use of a code. Again, the user has to download the appropriate app, and once opened the idea is is that they can scan anything; book, advertising, and via the app, information will be viewable regarding the scanned item. Google Goggles
is a similar app, but requires the user to take a photo using their smartphone. The app will identify the image and bring up useful information about it.
Essentially, Snap Tag is an evolution of the QR code. The idea behind it comes from the use of a circle which contains a set of uniquely placed dots. The user can either scan the circle via an app, or they can take a picture of it and send it via an sms, and receive appropriate information. With QR codes, the user has to have an app dowloaded to their phone or tablet to scan the codes. In theory, Snap Tag only requires the camera, and the ability to send it via sms. Also, only needing a circle to be identified means that a company logo can be centered within it, bringing the two together. In many cases a QR code would have to be placed separately, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as they are instantly recognisable.
I myself rarely use QR codes, simply as I never have an app on my phone to read them. I also believe that they can stick out like a sore thumb when used on such things as advertising; they’re not exactly pretty. They are very simple though, and have become very popular, which means most people will know what they are and what they do. I feel though, that the alternatives I’ve shown here like the Marvel AR app involve the viewer more, and give them an experience rather than simply directing them to a web page where they can be advertised to further. Using a phone or tablet, and engaging with someone via the use of augmented reality brings them instantly closer to something, and involves them more, as well as having that certain wow factor.
I have an idea of how I could use the Marvel AR app idea for my self promotion. It would involve creating an app that the user would download, and they could interact with one of my typography books (example above). The viewer could open up the app and scan one of the pages of the book. This would bring up a 3D view that was viewable in 360 degrees on the screen, making a 2D design three-dimensional, and getting the user to interact with it. This could become an augmented reality app like the Adidas shoe. The problem I have with this is how I would animate the idea. It would also require me to turn my work into a 3D design to show it in action, but at this stage I am unsure how to achieve this.