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Quick Response (QR) Codes

QR codes for Howard Printing, Inc.Quickly connect your clients to your website via your printed materials with a new technology called QR codes.

Short for "Quick Response," QR codes are a new, easy, and cost-free way to effectively — and literally — connect print with mobile technology.

Similar to the horizontal bar codes familiar to us on store products, QR codes are square, two-dimensional, matrix codes that can be scanned with today's smartphones (e.g., iPhone, Blackberry, Droid).

Clients will see your direct-mail postcard (or brochure, business card, poster, etc.), point their smartphone camera at the QR code, snap the picture, and — voila! — they will be linked instantly and directly to your website for more detailed information.

For instance, include a QR code on your next "save-the-date" postcard for an upcoming event. A postcard has space for only so much information. Provide the basic details along with a QR code for your invitees to scan, linking them to an early registration page on your website.

In addition to linking to a web page, a QR code can also activate a number of smartphone functions, including email, adding contact information to an address book, instant messaging (IM), and short message services (SMS) such as texting.

Originally invented in Japan in 1994, QR codes were created by Denso-Wave to track warehouse parts for vehicle manufacturing. According to Denso-Wave (www.denso-wave.com), the QR code instantly provides approximately 100 times as much information as the traditional bar code.

Since Denso-Wave allowed the technology to be freely shared, the QR code has become a world standard and is rapidly expanding with the proliferation of smartphones.

So exactly how do QR codes work?

To create a QR code, you need four basic items: a URL (e.g., your website domain name), a URL shortener (e.g., bit.ly, tinyurl.com, goo.gl), a QR code generator, and a place to display the QR code (e.g., ad, business card, newsletter, brochure, poster). Plenty of free QR code generator software is available online. (Here is a link to a good place to start.)

Since we here at Howard Printing are familiar with generating QR codes and sizing them appropriately to be read by scanners, we are happy to generate the QR code for you at no extra charge.

To read a QR code, you need two items: a smartphone with a built-in camera and a reader application ("app" for short), which can be downloaded for free. Then you just point your smartphone camera at the QR code, snap the picture, and the app will decode the image and link you directly to a website or a phone number.

There is no one universal reader app that works well with every kind of QR code and every kind of smartphone. No worries, though, because you have a multitude of choices. We have listed several below for your consideration:

BeeTagg (www.beetagg.com)
i-nigma (www.i-nigma.com)
Kaywa (www.kaywa.com)
Neo Reader (www.neoreader.com)
QuickMark (www.quickmark.com.tw)
QR App (block5.com/QRapp.html)
ScanLife (www.scanlife.com)
Semacode (www.semacode.com)
UpCode (www.upc.fi)

By adding a QR code to your printed materials, you can quickly bridge the gap between print and web, connecting your clients or prospective customers immediately to you!

We hope you’ll take advantage of this sophisticated and smart marketing tool.

Ink Bar
Howard Printing, Inc., of Brattleboro, Vermont, is a full-service commercial printing company providing offset
and digital printing, wide-format printing, graphic design, computer-to-plate prepress technology,
variable data printing, mailing services, and bindery and finishing services. Howard Printing is also the publisher
of the New England Showcase real estate magazine and two Vermont coloring books.

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