QR codes and Barcodes

What is the difference between QR codes and barcodes for your business?

So, you’ve done your research and decided that QR codes are the best solution for your marketing campaign. You download an app, set up an account, watch a few tutorials, create a QR code with your logo and URL, run some tests, etc., etc., etc. You feel that it is 100% perfect, but then you see barcodes.  A lot of people are asking, “What’s the difference between QR codes & barcodes? Which is better? Which should I use?”

The right barcode, QR code, or other type of symbol can be the difference between your product getting to market or remaining in obscurity. In this article, we’ll be looking at the technology behind the seemingly ubiquitous QR codes and barcodes whilst giving you a bit of an idea about the best of both worlds.

The Quick Response Code

The QR (Quick Response) code and the barcode are both machine-readable labels that serve mainly to provide additional content about a product, business, or service. Think of your t-shirts, filing systems, portfolios or makeup cases that have them on. If you spot someone flashing a QR code that is typically in a black-and-white picture, it is most likely they are trying to sell you something. Encoding information digitally and holding 2500 characters is what the QR code is most renowned for. Whether scanned via smartphone, tablet or other devices, a customer will be directed to a digital location like a webpage, competition site or even a list of product ingredients providing a convenient user experience.

The Barcode

Although barcodes are typically scanned using a scanner and contain a maximum of 25 characters, they have been used to display simple information for over 60 years and have been a trusted and most reliant source.

1D barcodes are very simple to use and are typically used for basic identification and inventory tracking. They have a single row of cells with varying dark and light cells. Additionally, their vertical lines have a thickness and a distance between them that determine a code that is tied to a specific product. Interestingly enough, a principal based on the Morse Code!

Although, QR codes are a more recent inclusion into our world that’s been credited with advanced technology, QR codes don’t take up quite as much space as barcodes, they can still be printed on a variety of labels and materials.

Final thoughts

Both the Barcode and the QR code have their deserved accolades and despite serving different purposes, the modern business simply cannot imagine surviving without the best of both (unique) worlds. The best of both technologies should be picked on the basis of fitting the best to YOUR world.


For more information on QR codes, check out our past article, “QR Labels for Products”.

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