The client suggested putting QR code that leads on his website (domain name is 10 symbols). I think there is no reason to do that as it is not that long and can be typed manually. Also, QR codes are used primarily for payment or to redirect on the page that has a really long address.

On top of that business card will be given to clients from Europe and The USA where as opposed to Asia QR codes are not as widely used.

When should I use QR code on the business card?

Is it a common practice to put QR codes on business cards in Europe and The USA?


4 Answers 4


Only time I've ever found QR codes to be useful is to link to something like a hosted video or topic for a short term run. A good example I've had with a QR code and business card is going to an expo and the company's video demo that was on display was also accessible on the business card but to the left was the company details and web URL then on the right it was the QR code linking to a hosted video promo on Vimeo.

So to answer QR codes on business cards can be used for marketing or a business campaign for short term. If you do plan to get QR codes printed on business cards make sure to get a sample first and test the QR code. Nothing worse than spending several thousand dollars on a marketing campaign to find out a sales rep didnt check the QR codes.


The article Will QR Codes Make a Comeback in 2019? says "Twice as many respondents in Europe and North America scanned a QR code in the past month compared to Q3 of 2015." But regardless of such optimistic forecasts, I would still go back to the basics.

I have added QR codes that point to websites, but not since 2012 and not on printed business cards. I probably would not do so unless needed as an accessibility features, such as low visibility. For example, is card's target audience folks in night clubs? See Using QR Codes to Make Presentation Materials More Accessible. Designing for a US audience, nowadays, I might add a QR code to trigger a highly valued experience: a special experience online or sequence of events on the local device. And I would make sure that a prompt or call to action encouraged the user to engage.

The Scan and Shake: A Lesson in Technology Adoption from China’s WeChat is a bit old, but has sound discussion points about adopting technology. They call out three conditions for adding an interaction element: Usefulness, Ease of use, and Discoverability. Given those condition, in discussing QR codes for website landing, I would discuss with the client:

  • Usefulness: In the US, the user would need to know what feature the QR code provides before bothering. How can we incorporate the QR code to make it clear that it can be used instead of typing in the website address?
  • Ease of use: Let's compare QR scanning & triggering URL to typing in the URL. Which experience is easier?
  • Discoverability: A QR code is definitely discoverable on a business card, but see "Usefulness" -- the feature, itself, needs to be discoverable. Otherwise, it's just visual clutter.

I hope going through this sort of thought-experiment with your client results in either dropping the QR code feature, or transforming it into an exceptional experience for their users.


Personally, I think that the popularity of codes is not the most important argument in Europe.

I do not often see such business cards but if I have already seen QR codes on business cards, these were business cards of companies or people very closely connected with IT. I have the impression that they served more emphasis on the modernity of the solutions used than the actual use of codes. The practical use of codes is limited as many phones do not support natively code recognition.

In my opinion, the use of a QR code should be conditioned by the effect a business card has on a user (at least in Eastern Europe). Of course, this does not apply to cases of long internet addresses, contests, special information for business card holders etc.

  • Theres not much modern about QR codes. QR codes are from 1994, standard 1997, compare this to Google (1998), Facebook (2003). So if one tries to convey modernity with 25 years old stuff then one is behind the times.
    – joojaa
    Mar 9, 2019 at 16:12
  • @joojaa The same could be said about electric cars - nothing new, they were produced more than 100 years ago. Do you think that people with electric cars today are "behind the times"? Returning to QR codes... maybe I'm too behind the times because I have been using the QR code on Android Phone (with no additional applications) for just a few years. If you were using QR codes 20 years ago, I'm very impressed.
    – Verbatus
    Mar 9, 2019 at 17:08
  • Yes i have used qr codes ~20 years ago. Some people like qr codes but the truth is people do not tend to use them except in asia.
    – joojaa
    Mar 9, 2019 at 17:12

QR codes are technical stuff too often misused as something special. Start to compare QR codes to barcodes to change your mind about them. When will be most useful and convenient way to put barcode on the business card or poster? Answer is simple: never except of some special design where barcode is more as a visual addon, not as a practical tool.

Same goes to QR codes. They are perfect for product tracking, when you need more information than barcode can fit. They are elegant for data loading, when you have some scemas where you need to manually enter long text lines often.

But I can't imagine rational usage of QR codes in case of URLs. If you have URL www.somelongname.com/blahblah12345/gotothis122455632/boomspecial then there is more logic in asking your IT to give short link to same address than use QR code to hide this garbage. I.e. somelongname.com/boomspecial is absolutely normal and easy link to type in + instead of using special app for QR scanning, you force user to learn website address by typing it in at least once and save it in user's browsing history.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.