How to Design & Print QR codes that work

Created by David Lees, Modified on Fri, 01 Mar 2024 at 04:24 PM by David Lees

It is very important to follow these best practices when designing your QR codes for your back labels on a bottle.

Choose the right size: Bottlebooks QR codes are optimized to be printed smaller, by limiting the length of the URL. 

According to (ISO/IEC 15415) the size should be at least 11.49 mm x 11.49 mm. You should follow this standard particularly if you are using the GS1 digital link in Bottlebooks.  A smaller size may make the QR code difficult to scan accurately. 


Add a margin:  Make sure there is a margin on the QR code known as the "quiet zone" of the same colour as the background with nothing else in it. 

quiet zone of 3.17 mm is recommended for a total of 14.66mm x 14.66mm.

Note on size: For QR codes that are not black on white, contain the "i" or other symbol inside, or use a very long URL (Bottlebooks has a short URL) consider printing a larger size to improve scanability.

Avoid using symbols: Symbols like an "i" placed in the QR can reduce the scanability of the QR. Additionally, the "i" symbol has no significance for E-labels in the EU regulations and every QR for this purpose needs to have the word "ingredients" (translated, if needed) next to it.

Avoid busy backgrounds: Do not place the QR code on a busy or patterned background, as this can make it more difficult to scan accurately.  Use a margin to avoid this issue.

Placement: Place the informational QR next to the information on the back label, not next to another QR code. This is particularly important if you have multiple QR codes.

Use high-quality printing equipment: Ensure that the printer you use has a high resolution and can print crisp, clean lines to avoid errors when scanning the QR code. Consider fading and discolouration: Over time, a label might fade and become more difficult to scan.

Test, test, and test again the code before printing: Before printing a large number of QR codes, test the code to ensure it can be scanned accurately and it is the correct QR code. Test with Android and Apple devices. Test also with new and older devices.


Why is my QR code not working? These are the main reasons your QR code does not work:

  1. You used the wrong link.  Did you create the QR code outside of Bottlebooks?  Check the link you entered.

  2. Deleted the QR code in Bottlebooks. Contact Bottlebooks support to restore the QR code.

  3. Did not maintain a basic subscription in Bottlebooks. Subscribe again, and contact support if the labels are not restored.

  4. Contrast in the QR colours was not great enough. Unfortunately, you will need to redesign your labels by increasing the contrast.

  5. The QR code was placed on a busy background. Unfortunately, you will need to redesign your labels by adding a margin.

  6. The QR code was not large enough. Unfortunately, you will need to redesign your labels by increasing the size beyond 1.25 cm².

  7. The printing of the QR was not sharp enough. Talk to your printers.

  8. Printed on a material that is too reflective or distorting to the QR code. Talk to your printers.

  9. You forgot to test it.  Implement quality control protocols.

We recommend these articles:

Wounded QR codes

Top 10 tips for Printing QR codes

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