Everything You Need To Know

How Do I Add An Image To A QR Code? - Feb 2017

You will have seen them, QR Codes that have images within. We are not just talking about images faded in the background of the image or colours on the modules, we are referring to the QR Codes where a central chunk of the image has been replaced with an image, logo or word. Here are some examples.

How can you create your own? There are a few ways depending on what you want.

Method 1

QR Code generators today are becoming more and more complex, and the best part, are mainly free. This means you can very easily come across QR Code generators online that will allow you to build your own QR Code with an embedded image in the middle. This takes away any complexities and often come with templates.

They don't just allow you to upload an image to place in the centre, but you can often alter the colours of the modules, the shape of the modules and a whole host of other elements to create a code truly unique to you. We discuss a few generators here.

Method 2 (not recommended)

Frame QR Using Frame QR Codes! (more about those here). Frame QR Codes are a newer type of QR Code that have an in build space within the code for you to place whatever it is you want within the code. This means you have ultimate flexibility and still benefit from things such as error correction.

The problem with Frame QR Codes however is that they not compatible with standard QR Codes and therefore not as widely read by QR Code scanners. You may therefore get into issues so its best to stick with traditional QR Codes for the time being.

Method 3

The Manual method is fully dependant error correction. Standard QR Codes can be configured with up to 30% error correction. This will keep a QR Code readable when up to 30% of its surface has been damaged.

This is useful because it allows you to make alterations to the QR Code after it as been generated or even cover up small parts without making it unreadable. This is a very skilled craft, and some companies specialised in doing it for customers.

If you want to try it yourself, you can generate your QR Code as you normally would, and then make the necessary alterations after. There are some key things you have to watch for:

  • Image Too Big - If you make the image you insert too big, error correction cant overcome the content it blocks and the code becomes unreadable.
  • Image Too Small & Dark - If the image you add is small and dark, readers may think it forms part of the data and try and read it.
  • Positioning Blocks - Positioning blocks shouldn't be obscured as they are key to the QR Codes readability.
  • Border - If you don't leave at least a 1 module border around the image you insert the reader may try and read the image as data.
  • Error Correction - Set the Error Correction level as high as possible

When you use this method, you compromise the future effectiveness of error correction. So if your code does get damaged, error correction may no longer be able to help keep the image readable.

If you plan to give this a go yourself, then here are a few more tips that may help.

  • Avoid the corners - don't obscure those positioning blocks
  • Keep your image less than 10% of the size of the overall code
  • Test it when you're finished, on multiple scanners or apps
  • Only leave whole Modules, any partially covered you should completely remove.
  • Try not to chose an image to embed that looks like a QR Code
  • Generate a bigger code than you typically would so you have more room to work with

If you're new to QR Codes and want to learn a little more, then take the time to read What's A QR Code

Or return to our FAQs

If you want something a little more technical, try The Technical Stuff