Every day seems to bring more and more ways to bridge the gap between the printed page and the digital world. Here are just some of the latest attempts to do so – some more successful than others.
Typical. Just as the U.S. Postal Service embraces QR codes, the rest of the world seems poised to ditch the troublesome graphic squares in favor of other, more user- (and designer-) friendly options. Top of that list: Clickable Paper from Richoh Innovations, which gives users all of the functionality of QR codes without the hassle involved in properly photographing a single, ugly icon.
We love the USPS as we would a sibling caught in an abusive relationship. It keeps coming up with new ways to better its fortunes, but until it can find a way to tear itself away from the government, we know things are never really going to improve. The latest scheme: including scannable codes on direct mail. Really.
There’s an inspiring mania for trying new things that you find in national postal services that is really never glimpsed in the private sector. Take Australia Post’s push this holiday season to get already-harried shoppers to record a short video message that is then linked to a QR code on the gift package they’re mailing. The service is free to use with the purchase of any Express Post service.
QR codes are like that weird little kid your parents were always trying to get you to play with because he looked funny, had no friends, and couldn’t even come up with a cool-toy dowry to spark your interest. (We’re not being cruel – we were that kid.) And like that weird little kid, the only value QR seems to provide is in the unintentionally humorous ways it is used by companies aching to appear trendy. Scott Stratten has packaged a number of these QRazy uses in his new book, “QR Codes Kill Kittens”.
By Aaron Berman
You sit across the table from your client, your favorite pen poised over your favorite notebook, quietly trying to broadcast your thoughts into his brain. “Please don’t say it, please don’t say it…” A childlike expression passes over his face like a cloud before he speaks: “I like the design…but can we make it interactive?”
Every time some new print-digital product comes out, we can’t help but picture one of those lottery machines in which ping-pong balls shoot to the top of a contraption with the winning numbers. The paper-digital combinations always seem that random… and come up trumps about as often.