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November 13, 2011 / carlispina

Make Your QR Codes Visually Appealing with QRHacker or Unitag

QR Code made with QRHacker

QR codes are increasingly popular in marketing. While they can be a good way to direct users to online resources, particularly those that are mobile-optimized, they don’t tend to be particularly nice to look at as many have noted online.  But some services are aiming to change all of this.

Pixel-by-Pixel Editing Menu

First up is QR Hacker.  QR Hacker is an easy to use website that will create a QR code for text, a URL, a phone number or a VCard. Once you input the content you want encoded, QR Hacker allows you to edit it to change both the background and foreground colors. You can also modify the pixel roundness with a simple slider. For more complex projects, QR Hacker also allows you to use a photo in either the background or foreground, add a logo to your QR code or edit it pixel by pixel. The service is easy to use and doesn’t require users to create an account. Finished QR codes can be

exported as .pdf or .png files. I used it to create a QR code for my website (the one seen at the beginning of this post). I found the service very self-explanatory and didn’t have any difficulty creating a code that could be read by the scanner. The entire process only took a few minutes and the end product was a QR code with rounded-pixels and the desired color scheme.

QR Code made with Unitag

Unitag is another QR code generator that walks users through the steps of modifying their QR codes in a variety of ways. Unitag offers more options for the types of information that can be encoded in the QR codes, including email address, geolocation, SMS text and Wifi Network. It doesn’t appear to allow users to encode phone numbers. Unitag walks users through the steps to create a QR code in much the same way that QRHacker does, but it also provides lots of links to helpful explanatory information for users who are not as comfortable with QR codes. It allows users to include color gradation in their QR codes and also supports uploading logos to be included as overlays.  However, it does not support pixel-by-pixel editing.  I used it to create a QR code for my blog with color gradation and found that it created a QR code that could easily be read by my scanner. However, I tried using a lighter color for my initial attempt and found that the QR code it created wasn’t readable. Unitag also offers a premium service which offers batch generation, editable URLs (meaning that you can edit the QR code to change the target URL) and analytics.

Both services are easy to use and offer a way to quickly create an attractive QR code. The choice of which one to use will likely depend on what you hope to do with these codes. For users who want to be able to edit their QR code pixel-by-pixel, QR Hacker is the way to go, but if you are looking for more flexibility in the type of information you encode or if you are interested in subscribing to additional premium services, you may want to consider Unitag. Either one will put you on the path to prettier QR codes.


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