How Artists Can Use QR Codes

by Carolyn Edlund

QR codes can be used in many ways to promote your brand, share information and even provide immersive experiences.


QR Code example Artsy Shark


Looking like a strange twist on a barcode, QR (quick response) codes are unique digital images designed to be scanned by smartphones and other devices. Their purpose is to deliver additional content of your choice to the viewer. Originally developed back in the 1990’s, these codes have flourished and are extremely versatile. Business of all types use QR codes for many reasons. Artists can take advantage of these useful codes too.

How do you make QR codes?

Easily make basic QR codes on websites designed for this purpose. Basic QR codes are free to create, but these providers offer additional services that are paid. Some options are:

These sites have full instructions which are simple to follow. Upload an image or type in a website URL to create a unique and permanent code. If you like, you can get a bit fancy by using custom brand colors, or embedding a logo or wording into the code (like the image above). Frame your QR code with a message that grabs attention or asks you to scan it for more information.

Codes can be created for website URLs, images, videos, questionnaires, forms and more. These codes can be static (which means they only lead to a single destination) or they can be dynamic, which allows you to edit the code after it’s made. And because they have a digital signature, they can be tracked, which allows you to determine the number of scans they have generated.

QR codes are everywhere, and they can easily be scanned. Anyone with a smartphone can use their camera to scan the code, although QR reader apps are available to be downloaded. When scanned, the QR code immediately opens the website, image, video or other content.

How can artists can use QR codes in their business?

  • Place a QR code on your business card, brochure or other printed material. Codes on physical collateral are lasting and can lead to a great deal of information you can’t provide in a personal conversation or meeting. Make a code that leads to your art website or a page with a specific offer or collection.
  • Use QR codes in signage. This could be in your art show booth, at your studio entrance, or even on a vehicle wrap.
  • QR codes can be  printed on labels placed next to each work of art in an exhibition. Typically these list title, medium and size, but a code expands that information. Link to detailed descriptions on a web page that tell the story of that piece or art. Or, lead to a video that shows the making of the work, or even a shopping cart.
  • Integrate QR codes into a work of art itself, whether a painting, mural or sculpture, to activate an augmented reality experience. Viewers can scan a code on the art that triggers audio, video or other experiential enhancement.
  • Customize a QR code for a particular prospect, giving them a link to a webpage featuring a collection or grouping created just for them. Use this for a curator or gallery prospect, or an existing collector who wants to see more of your work.
  • QR codes are perfect for use in advertising. They fit on any surface from a magazine to a billboard, and bridge the physical ad with the digital world.
  • Link to a survey with a QR code, designed to learn more about your customers. Consider including these in shipped orders to get feedback from your customers.
  • Place QR codes in social media posts to create curiosity, encourage interaction and drive visits to your website or other page of your choice. Consider your marketing goals and create different codes that will help achieve those goals.
  • Printed QR codes can be placed on product packaging or shipping boxes. These may lead to an informational page about your work, or even a coupon to be used on a future purchase.
  • QR codes work well on flyers. If you have a show, exhibition or sale coming up, include a QR code to help people find your location, learn more about the details of the event, or share other information.

Have you used QR codes in your own business? Have they worked successfully for you?



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  1. Hi Carolyn
    I use a QR code with my online gallery in my smartwatch. If I’m with a collector of fine art photography all he or she has to do is scan my watch with their phone to instantly go to my web.
    Regards, David Cochran, Light Through Glass

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