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What are the QR Code Printing Guidelines & Best Practices?

What are the QR Code Printing Guidelines & Best Practices?

Sizes listed always refer to an exact square shape. Sizes are provided in Metric and Imperial / US Measurements. The Imperial / US sizes (Inch / Inches) equivalents are rounded.

Standard QR codes

For print applications, such as placing standard black and white QR codes on packaging or in magazines, use the following specifications.

Standard QR code size guidelines

  • Minimum size for standard QR codes
    • 10 mm (.4 inch), excluding the margin (Quiet Zone), is the minimum size for scanning standard, ISO 18004-compliant QR codes.
  • Recommended size for standard QR codes
    • 12 mm (.5 inch), excluding the margin (Quiet Zone), to ensure best performance.

Labels and packaging may require deeper bespoke analysis especially when deviating from a standard black and white code. This starts with a review of a PDF of the layout, requires an understanding of the type of printing method and materials, and may then move to a print trial.

Always Test.


Custom QR codes

QR codes do not have to be the standard black and white design. Brands today are incorporating custom colors, logos and more into the QR code design.

Delivr's QR Code Designer enables you to effortlessly merge a dynamic QR code with any part of an image or logo to create a beautiful and clear call-to-action. Delivr's QR Code Designer combines the visual design that people LOVE with the QR Code call-to-action that people KNOW, creating an experience that draws peoples attention and invites them to make the leap from print to mobile.

However, the specifications for these custom QR codes are slightly different than standard QR codes, namely that the minimum size increases.

Custom QR code size guidelines and best practices

  • Minimum size for custom QR codes with light customization
    • 2 cm (.75 inch)‍
  • Recommended size for custom QR codes
    • 3 cm (1.25 inches)‍, larger if possible
  • No inverted codes
    • Do not use a QR code with light dots on a dark background‍
  • Use high contrast
    • Be sure the QR code color contrasts with the background, or it may not be readable.


Our internal testing has shown that some custom QR codes that can be read by iOS devices cannot be read by some Android devices. Be sure to test the QR codes you create on both types of devices to ensure that all consumers will be able to successfully access your content.

And here’s the reason. Customized QR codes are not standard, ISO compliant QR codes. Depending on the extent and combination of design choices, the resulting QR code may not be scannable on some devices. The act of customizing a QR code introduces "damage" into the standard ISO compliant QR code format. As such,  customized QR codes require a high level of error correction to remain scannable. Error correction is a capability of QR codes to restore data if the code is dirty or damaged. This ensures high scannability despite the "damage" from customization.


Digital QR codes

For digital applications, the following specification assumes a 1080p display.

  • Minimum digital QR code size
    • 240 pixels at 72 dpi

Since many digital QR codes are incorporated into signage, keep in mind that the minimum code size will need to increase depending on the distance between the code and the person scanning. The signage section below, which includes digital and print, addresses the calculation for this distance.


QR codes on digital and print out-of-home (OOH) signage

QR code size guidelines on digital and print out-of-home (OOH) signage

Because those scanning may not be directly next to the sign, you’ll need to increase the QR code size depending on how far away they will be.

  • Ratio of scanning distance to QR code size
    • 10:1
  • Formula for calculating QR code size based on scanning distance
    • QR code minimum size = Scanning distance (in cm or inches) ÷ 10

For example, if a code on a billboard will be scanned at a distance of 10 meters, the code should be at least 1 meter x 1 meter in size.

Code design for out-of-home (OOH) may require deeper bespoke analysis. This starts with an understanding of the printing specifications or digital display, Frame size (6-sheet , 28-sheet, 96-sheet, and higher), LCD resolution (2K, 4K), Nits, and if an LED screen, factors such as pixel pitch.  Always Test.


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Delivr® is a privacy-first software and services company serving thousands of businesses looking to drive audiences from offline to online experiences. Established in 2008, Delivr has developed software to track and visualize consumer engagement with print and broadcast media, labels and packaging. With Super Simple Serialization℠ and TrueMrk®, Delivr is extending its MarTech product suite to serialize and authenticate products. Headquartered in New York.