QR Code Design Tips: Add Foil Stamping

The incorporation of QR codes into an overall design is still relatively new. The designers have not completely solved the problems of merging the QR matrix into their concepts, while maintaining the functionality of the code itself. But the world of design is catching up fast!

Right now, most companies are printing QR codes with flat ink, usually black. The code doesn’t really blend in or enhance the business card design, which diminishes the overall impression of your brand. Did you know that you can actually use two or more colors in QR codes? You can even embellish the code matrix with foil stamping to make it stand out and coordinate with the rest of your business card design. Using foil makes your code the eye-catching centerpiece of your business card while also beautifully integrating the code matrix with the rest of your card design.

Here are some best practices for improving codes with foil:

  • To make sure that QR code reader apps can correctly read the code, you need a lot of contrast between the color of the foil and the paper. We suggest avoiding stamping codes with metal foil on high gloss papers because it produces glare when the code reader attempts to scan the code.
  • Codes can be printed on plastic materials if the material is semi-transparent to provide the necessary contrast to read the code. Make sure the color of the foil contrasts sufficiently with the color of the plastic or vellum paper.
  • You can use two or three colors in a QR code, as long as you remember the contrast rule above. Code readers will “read” the shapes in the code, not the colors. Therefore, to incorporate your clients’ branding, it is generally best to choose the darker corporate colors for printing the code.
  • An easy way to use foil and color is to use your corporate accent color on the code positioning elements (the three larger squares in the corners) and use your darker brand color for the matrix itself.
  • Some QR code generators allow you to include unique artwork such as logos and other graphics. You can highlight these brand elements with corporate colors on foil. Not a bad idea for that extra punch of attention.
  • Always, always, always test your QR code: after you generate it, if you change it in any way with a graphics editing program like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, and after you incorporate it into your template. If it doesn’t work on screen, it probably won’t work on print.
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