What are QR codes?

QR Codes are a popular type of two-dimensional barcode, which are also known as hardlinks or physical world hyperlinks. The quick response (QR) barcodes can store a variety of text information, be read very fast, even upside down and can be scanned from a screen, a newspaper or magazine, flyer or even a billboard.

QR Codes store text, which can be:

  • A website address (URL)
  • A telephone number
  • An SMS message
  • Contact details (VCARD)
  • A Google map or destination
  • A Facebook  profile
  • or any other information

QR codes can be read by high speed scanners or by smartphones.

QR code
A very large QR code at Madison Square Garden in 2010 – Photo: MS

QR codes can be placed in magazine ads or on outdoor billboards, pointing to further information or additional media about products. These hyperlinks help integrating paper into the information and marketing media mix, they can be found on books, McDonalds packaging, pointing to information about your burger and there is even an example where codes on a cemetery point to information about people. Another very cool application is Starbuck’s loyalty IPhone app.

Pegasus has completed a large number of projects which included variable data items, text and images as well as 1 and 2d barcodes. We have produced high value items like games with codes, postcards, event tickets and even personalised and barcoded tickets for the Manly Sea Eagles. Pegasus produces barcoded mail items daily that have to be kept in sequence for lodgement with Australia Post with volumes of up to 1.4 million per job.

Pegasus uses specialised software packages to generate the barcodes and prints on high quality, high volume digital production printers (HP Indigo at 120 pages/min; Xerox IGen 5 at 150 pages/min; colour inkjet at up to 3600 pages/min).

Pegasus employs barcode readers in all production areas and is able to check and match barcoded information throughout the production process, packing and despatch and ensure readability of every QR code generated.

If you would like to know more or place QR codes in your printed publication,  talk to us.



Updata: this article is from 2010 and a lot has happened since then. QR codes are still used in marketing to link print/display to online content, more so in Europe than in the US and Australia. Apple has finally integrated a QR code reader into its mobile operating system, so that you don’t need to download any additional software to use these handy squares.

And in 2020 QRs are the id tag during Covid tracking in hospitality and other venues.