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Colourful barcodes hold out hope for QR

Colourful barcodes seem set to become commonplace ... at least in Japan.

Last month we looked at the next-generation barcodes commonly found in Japan and pondered why few people seem to actually use them . It seems we aren't alone in thinking that something can be done to encourage their use, as the latest versions of the QR Codes now include images and video.

The so-called Design QR barcodes move things on a step from plain black and white squares to spruce them up with personalised logos and even moving pictures. Although no new functionality is added, the thinking behind the development is to catch the eye, drawing attention to the new codes and thus to whatever mobile websites they link to.

More clicks, more money

As with advertising on regular internet sites, more clicks on mobile sites equate to more revenue for advertisers or greater exposure for non-commercial sites. Examples given by IT DeSign, the company behind making QR look better, include portraits in barcodes that connect to online resumes, cutlery to indicate a restaurant and, of course, cutesy characters just for the heck of it.

With a concerted effort to promote Design QR due to begin in Japan later this month, it seems likely that our initial gloomy prognosis for the dotty little squares was a little premature.