QR Codes and Retail Packaging Design

QR Codes and Retail Packaging Design


QR codes are a special topic when it comes to marketing, design, and packaging. As marketers, QR codes are a good idea because it allows a brand to expand on any promotion, topic, or information about the company. It gives the opportunity to invite traffic to a particular website or landing page. Many designers have QR codes as pet peeves. Creating a design that a designer feels strong enough to present to a client takes a lot of time, and having a QR code completely disrupts the look of the design. The other aspect of QR codes is that not everyone interact with it. Yes, it is a great opportunity to engage with people, but not everyone uses them. In this post we give three reasons to stop using QR codes in your retail packaging design.


In order to scan a QR code you need to install a scanner on your smart phone. Unless a user already has a scanning app, having a code on packaging will not do anything to those that don’t. It would have to encourage consumers to download a scanner in order to use them, and some people simply don’t bother doing so. The incentive would have to add a lot of value in order for a consumer to download an app, just so that they can find out the what is the benefit they get from scanning the code. In our opinion, it is not worth the hassle.

Does it Add Anything to The Retail Packaging?

If anything a QR code disrupts the design. A lot of the time there are issues with where the code directs a browser to, or it gets directed to a site, or landing page that is not mobile friendly. Also, from a consumer perspective, after someone purchases a product, the main thing they want to do is rip through its packaging to get to it. Having a QR code, unless it comes with an incentive that persuades purchase behaviour, really does not affect the impact of a product’s packaging.

Ugly Element to Retail Packaging

Let’s be honest, QR codes are not easy on the eyes. It is a black and white large square in the middle of a design. Retail packaging is effective if it attracts a consumer’s eye in order to influence purchase behaviour. Having  QR code does not add any design element that would  influence this behaviour. Designers feel like they have to design around a QR code rather than integrating it to the design. Because of this, we think it is not worth the hassle.

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