Printed Aesthetic Quick Response Codes

Yi Huei Ho, Tzren Ru Chou, Chun Shien Lu, Hsi Chun Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Quick response (QR) codes are currently the most commonly used 2D barcodes. They are composed of black and white modules, which detract from their aesthetic appeal. When printed, owing to the size, dot gain, and other printing conditions, barcode information is easily distorted, yielding poor recognition results. We present a systematic aesthetic QR code information embedding technique as well as an error analysis method for physically printed QR codes. QR code information is embedded in a cover image at different strengths and is then printed using two devices. Barcode information is recognized using a geometric transformation by locating and identifying information dots. We propose an adaptive algorithm that hides barcode information in a cover image given the barcode module identification error characteristics (false blacks and false whites). According to these error characteristics, we adaptively enhance the signal of the white embedded modules to improve the overall recognition ability. The experimental results show that the proposed method is compatible with current printing and output equipment. Judicious adjustment of the embedding strength of white module dots decreases the false-black recognition error caused by dot gain and yields small printed aesthetic QR codes that look better. This improves the decoding rates of aesthetic QR codes. We optimize the QR code embedding method and the reading ability given specified output device conditions. This study highlights the importance of the output conditions for integrated applications of aesthetic QR codes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1917-1926
Number of pages10
JournalSensors and Materials
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • QR code
  • information hiding
  • output equipment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • General Materials Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Printed Aesthetic Quick Response Codes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this