We’ve all seen those funny looking little square boxes with either squiggly black lines or some kind of artistic array of black splotches.


What looks like it could be an elaborate form of a psychiatrist’s ink blot is actually a sophisticated piece of technology that opens countless doors for marketing, customer relations and just some plain old fun.


Those little boxes are called QR (quick response) codes. They are a two-dimensional barcode with encoded information such as a website address, text, or lots of other pieces of information. QR codes can be read by a QR code scanner (imagine that!) including QR scanner apps that are available in most smartphone app stores. If you have a smartphone (and the right app), all you have to do is click a picture of the QR code and watch the magic happen.


The Belford Group is leading NWA in its design of custom QR codes that include a client’s logo and signature colors in the code itself. This helps to effectively brand the QR code and mesh it with the design of the company’s other materials so the code is less generic looking.


custom QR code

Our own custom QR Code is branded with our colors and is more fun to look at than a simple block block of splotches and squiggles.


Print Lives!

QR codes are a fantastic way to link printed products or materials with online content. They bridge the worlds of offline and online for the consumer, giving companies and organizations the ability to impart more information about a product, service or event. In essence, a QR code is an offline way of linking to more information in much the same way a website does with its links.


Let’s look at a few examples:



When our own Whimsical Wordsmith Jamie Smith went to see her family in Kansas last September, she visited the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson. Throughout the entire state fairgrounds, simple signs with a QR code told users they could see a full fair schedule at that link. For those with a smartphone, that meant having immediate access to the schedule and not having to carry around the bulky printed version.

QR Code at Kansas State Fair

The Kansas State Fair featured QR codes at the entrance to all the builders that provided an online version of the fair schedule.


The state fair’s use of QR codes didn’t stop there. Displays like the sculpture made out of 700 pounds of butter had a QR code that told you more about the sculpture and the artist.


Having a large community event? Add value for patrons by giving them access to more information about the services and products available at your event. You could even offer it as an “added service” for vendors to create a QR code about their company that would be displayed at their booth.


Marketing Materials 

One of the many cool things about QR codes is that they can come in just about any size–yet another reason they are ideal for printed marketing materials. Rack cards or business cards have a limited amount of space to convey a message. A QR code on those materials can guide people to more information about a company or even about a person. We have QR codes on all our business cards at The Belford Group.

QR code on business card

All of our business cards at The Belford Group have a tiny QR code that links users to more information about the company.

In-Store Info 

qr codes for restaurants

Our Visual Surgeon Sarah Thurstenson visited a mall food court in Indianapolis last year when she was there for a convention. This QR code (at the bottom) allowed the user to change the song on the juke box! How cool is that?

A restaurant or grocery deli can add a QR code in the menus with more information about specific menu items. A QR code placed next to a display of products can give more information such as reviews, manufacturer information, or just about anything else people might want to know.


More Ideas for QR Codes:

  • Personalized gift tags
  • On a help wanted sign, linking to more info about the job and company
  • On a missing pet sign
  • In the header of a print publication, leading the reader to the publication’s website (the Washington County Observer, a small local newspaper does this)
  • On exhibit pieces at a museum (the Cleveland Museum of Art and Bologna’s Museum of Archeology are using QR codes to do audio tours of their collections)


Need Help? 

The Belford Group is an experienced image-building marketing and website development agency, with more than a decade spent providing creative marketing and advertising solutions to fit any budget …and any medium.


Call us. We’d love to work for you.