QR Code – What is it, and do artists need one?

What is a QR Code and would an artist benefit from having one? Have you seen those things popping up here and there, those crossword puzzle-like looking deals without any numbers on them? They are called a QR Code. QR is short for quick response, and is essentially a different and more exciting way for people to access your website, contact information, or anything else you want to promote.

QR Code – What is it and do artists need one?


Above is the QR code for my website. It took less than one minute to get it, and it was free. Now anyone with a QR code reader on their smart phone can access my website by taking a picture of  the above image, without any typing.

QR Code – A little background

These little black and white bar codes were first developed in Japan, and are much more popular there than they are in the United States, although they are gaining momentum in the U.S. and other countries. The QR code was created to provide the fast delivery of information.  The QR code was actually developed by a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Company.

The QR Code makes it faster for someone to access a website URL, a text, a phone number, or an SMS, with no typing. Just take a photo of any QR Code with a smart phone that has a QR Code reader application, and that’s it.  Once you take the picture, you are then taken to wherever the owner of the code wants you to go to. 

I don’t know about you, but I am starting to see these things more and more. I see them in real estate ads, product packaging, coupons, cosmetics, paint, etc. I have heard that in Japan, they put these codes on the sides of  apartment buildings. If someone is interested in renting an apartment in that building, they can take a photo of the code, see what the apartments look like, how much it costs, who to contact, and learn all about the amenities that particular place has to offer, right on their phone. It enables you to catch consumers at the exact moment they are interested in what you have to offer.  

How do You get a QR Code for yourself?

Like I mentioned above, I got mine in less than a minute, and it was free. I got mine here.   So that part is easy. For someone to be able to read it, they have to have a smart phone. If you have a smart phone, you can do a search for a reader, or use the same site where you got your own QR Code. Once you have that particular app installed on your smart phone, your camera on your phone will be able to read any QR Codes, including your own, just by taking a photo of the code.

How can an Artist use a QR Code?

To me, the best thing about the QR Code at this point is that it’s a faster way to get access to information. No typing. It’s also part of the new way younger and tech savvy people are using the internet and their smart phones. I have just got my QR Code, and I haven’t really used it much up to now, so it hasn’t had an impact for me just yet. Here are some of the ways I can see myself using the QR Code. You can probably think of some other, better ways to use it to fit your particular situation.

  1. Put it on a business card, brochure, or other printed material 

  2. Making labels for the back of paintings, prints, or anything that comes from my studio

  3. Creating a special QR Code for a show, or a special event

  4. Creating special QR Codes for individual works of art to give potential buyers more information about that particular piece.

  5. Creating a new QR Code for a unique promotion or offer

  6. Print out your code on pieces of paper and hand it out at show, fair, or a special event 

  7. Tattoo it on my forehead 😉

Does an Artist need a QR Code?

At this particular time I am of the opinion that an artist doesn’t really need a QR Code. However, it is new, it’s trendy, it’s interesting. It’s relevant. It is easy, if  the people you are marketing to have a smart phone, and millions of people do. Millions of people don’t. To me, It’s just another tool in your marketing arsenal that makes it easy for someone to check out what you have to offer. It’s a cool tool.

Marketing your work is about getting more eyeballs and the right eyeballs, to see your stuff. If having a QR Code helps someone quickly grab your information or your website URL to check out at a later time, that’s a good thing. Maybe otherwise they would not have taken the time to talk to you, or type your information into their phone, or write down your phone number on a piece of paper.

Get a QR Code just for fun

If you go ahead and get your code for your website, then you have it, and you can start thinking of ways to use it to suit your own personal situation. Put it on the back of each painting or photograph you do, along with the traditional information. If you do shows, print a large QR Code out and have it on display so the tech savvy crows can scan it while they are walking around. Who know’s? In a few years everybody may have them and you were one of the first. It’s also possible that the QR Code will be replaced by something even better. You know how technology is.

When You see a QR Code – Do This

  • Download a QR Code app on your smart phone
  • Hold the phone over the printed QR Code until it’s scanned or read
  • Click the link appearing on your phone
  • Check out the photos, videos, or whatever is there

Parting Shot – The QR Code is new, and gaining momentum. So it’s worth a look. Don’t be afraid to try something new, but do be weary of spending too much time on this kind of stuff. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t mess around with it. I could see people spending more time asking you about your code than that great piece of art you just made. The most important thing is your work. There has been plenty of art sold in the world without a QR Code.

Was this article helpful? If so, go ahead and share it to someone. You can also leave a comment, or subscribe…it’s easy and just like the QR Code, it’s free!   




Leave a Reply