Everything You Need To Know

Does a QR Code Have To Be Black And White? - Feb 2017

Although most QR Codes are black and white, they don't have to be. A QR Code can be any colour and can even include more than 2 different colours. There are 2 examples of coloured QR Codes below.

Example
Example

Each QR Code is made up of modules (small squares) and these modules are split into two types. The difference between the two modules is obvious when looking at a black and while QR Code (some are black and some are white). For simplicity, let’s call the black squares "foreground modules" and the white squares "background modules". The key thing for any QR Code is that a scanner can distinguish clearly between what is a foreground and what is a background module. If it can't do this then it cannot detect the valid pattern of the QR Code.

While the images above use a variety of colours in order to stand out, they also ensure that there are still very distinguishable foreground and background modules. This means that your barcode reader won’t have any difficulty in picking up a valid QR Code pattern.

When scanning the QR Code, the scanner is looking for 2 distinct groups of modules and it's simply the positioning of those that holds the data. A good way to visualize it is to imagine the code in gray scale. The same 2 previous images are shown in grey scale below.

Example
Example

Despite removing the colours and the QR Codes looking different to the original images, it's still easy to see the difference between the foreground and background modules meaning the scanner can easily read any data encoded within.

Just by adding colour and a bit of clever design, some companies have created some very interesting QR Codes. A number of which can be found on our QR Code Art page.

 

Keep Reading: 4. Can QR Codes Be Inverted Or Mirrored?

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You should also look over most FAQs and consider reading What's A QR Code?