10 Awesome Uses for QR Codes

It seems that QR codes are everywhere these days, but some people have actually managed to be creative with them.

Those strange-looking pictures that look like smashed bugs or misprinted UPC codes are actually QR codes, also known as Quick Response codes.

Advertisers love them because smartphone users can scan them without fumbling to key in Web site URLs.They’re turning up on everything from coins to magazine ads. Here’s a list of some creative uses of the codes, with a special thanks to the excellent Mental Floss blog.

True Blood

True Blood QR Code

Couch potatoes who managed to pause their DVRs recently could see a QR code with a drop of red blood coming from it in a commercial for the TV show “True Blood,” appropriate since the show is about vampires. If they snapped the screen with their phones, they’d be taken to a sneak preview of the show’s third season.


QR Billboards

QR codes are not only showing up on TV but also in the real world. Some companies have done some creative things with billboards using QR codes. A giant billboard in the U.K. advertising the release of “28 Weeks Later” on DVD. Calvin Klein, known for their racy advertising, also did a QR billboard, allowing anyone to scan it and see an uncesnored version of one of their commercials right on their phone.

QR Tattoo

QR Code

Music fans have shown their dedication to their heroes by getting band names and logos and album art tattooed on their bodies, but Good Charlotte fan Jully Nascimento of Brazil chose a high-tech twist on the old-fashioned tattoo. She got a QR code that read “Hold On,” when scanned, which is one of the band’s songs. I’m not going to pass judgements on anyone’s musical tastes, but if you get a tattoo, QR or otherwise, make sure it’s something you’re not going to regret in 10 years.

Mental Floss Contest

Mental Floss also had an innovative use of QR codes with a contest to give away a Ford Fiesta. They had people scanning QR codes in coffee shops, in storefronts, even the back of a guy’s t-shirt.

Amy Goodman Portrait

Amy Goodman QR portrait

You’ve probably seen ASCII art, but artist Scott Blake might have invented QR code art with his post of Amy Goodman , host of the public radio/TV news show “Democracy Now!” that¬†we’ve covered before. The potrait was made up of a bunch of QR codes that linked to segments of her program from the last 9 years.

QR Code On The Beach

Some enterprising people made a QR code completely out of sand, hopefully before some mean kid decided to trample it or the tide came in.

QR Code Scarf

Becky Stern demonstrates how to make your own QR scarf using a computerized knitting machine and a QR code generator. You can knit a scarf by hand, but that would get tedious very quick.

QR Code Made out of M&M’s

One YouTube user by the name of sakibomb222 made a QR code out of brown M&M’s, probably getting them for real cheap when David Lee Roth was in town. (If you didn’t get that joke, Van Halen’s contract rider forbade brown M&M’s backstage, though it was less a matter of rock star excess as it was a way to make sure the person reading the contract was paying attention.) When scanned, it takes you to the M&M’s Web site. I don’t know if I could stop eating the candies long enough to finish the code, myself.


No self-respecting geeky blog can lest a post go by without mentioning LEGOs. So here’s a QR cube made out of LEGO bricks, 5816 of them, to be exact.

QR Tombstone

QR tombstones

Even in death, these things are seemingly everywhere. Japanese tombstone maker Ishinokoe is offering a decidedly 21st Century way for your friends and loved ones to remember you after you’re gone with these QR tombstones. In the States, Seattle-based tombstone maker Quiring Monuments is marketing them as “living tombstones.”