Using QR Codes on your HM Projects


Featured Above: “HM Bring on Christmas QR” template 113704

We are proud to announce that Heritage Makers is on the cutting edge of new technology—being one of the first companies in our industry to allow you to place your customized QR codes on our customizable products.

QR Codes have been around for a while but are now entering the mainstream of our lives. It’s time for us to get on board and start making our 2-dimensional projects come to life with this new interactive technology.

You may be asking some of the following questions:

*What is a QR Code?

“QR code” simply stands for “quick response” code. It’s like a traditional barcode but so much more. QR codes actually have information embedded into their pixels and can store amazing amounts of flexible data. Have you noticed them on magazines, billboards, business cards, shop windows, t-shirts and more? When scanned, QR codes direct people to  personal and business websites and blogs. They can contain text messages, music or your favorite YouTube videos.

Sound too difficult to figure out? Scared about the latest technology? Don’t know how or why to use them? Don’t be afraid! We are going to show you how easy they can be to use.

**Who can scan a QR Code?

**Anyone who has a smart phone or tablet with a camera can download a QR Code Reader App and then scan a QR code. Once you have the App, you simply take out your mobile phone, point your camera at a QR code and you will instantly get more information—maybe it will take you to a website, a video or a text message.

**Where do I get a QR Code Reader?

**If you have an iPhone or iPad, simply go to the App Store and search for QR Readers. Most of them should be free. We recommend the following: QR Code City Scan and Quick Scan – QR Code by iHandy, Inc.

For our Android users, we recommend going to the Google Play App Store and getting the QR Droid Reader.

Once you have a QR reader app loaded, give it a try! It’s amazing how many QR codes you’ll find around you to read.

**How does the QR Code App Work?

**Once you’ve installed the App, simply point your camera at the QR code; the App will then lock on and scan it. The QR code will load the data instantly and you will be brought to the web page, video or text message directly.

**Why would I want to create my own QR Codes?

**With QR codes, you can make any printed project more interactive. Put one on your business card or on party invitations with directions or a gift registry. How about a poster to promote your business products or services? Have you thought about personalizing your holiday cards with your family newsletter or videos of the kids playing their favorite sport or a photographic slideshow set to music? QR codes simply bring a 2-dimensional product to life.

**How do I create my own QR codes?

**You’ll need to jump on your computer and search for free QR Code Generators. You’ll find many options. We recommend the following:,, and

Once you have a generator page pulled up, give it a try. Type in a message or copy and paste the URL from your favorite YouTube video and see what happens. You’ll be amazed!

*Tips and Tricks for Successfully Using a QR Code on a Studio Project:

#1 — Never print a QR code which is smaller than ¾-inch square on a card and always print larger if used on a poster or canvas. The more data you put into the code, the smaller the dots become, so size adjustments may need to be made. For most smart phones, the relationship between scan distance and minimum QR code size is approx. 10:1. That means a 1-inch code will be most effectively scanned at 10-inches or less.

#2 — Always test your QR Code before publishing your project. Always, always! After you have created your own QR code and dropped it into your Studio project, give it a test to make sure that it is readable at 100% of the project size. If you go to “View” at the top of your Studio page, scroll down to Zoom and select 100%. That will give you an accurate view of the size it will be when printed. Simply hold your smart phone up to your computer screen and scan. Did it take you to where you wanted to go? If not, try re-generating the code or making the QR Code larger in your project.

#3 — Until people become aware of QR Codes and how to use them, we suggest placing some simple instructions on your holiday cards this year. For instance: “To see what’s new in our lives, simply open up a QR Code reader app on your smart phone, point your phone’s camera at the code on the card and scan.”

#4 — We suggest that you always use the QR Code in its original black and white form. If you choose to add color, always remember that the code color should be dark and placed against a light-colored background. Make sure the contrast is sufficient or the code will be difficult to scan. A reversed-out code, where the background is dark and the pixels are light, is never recommended. And always, always test before publishing!


“HM Christmas Penguin QR,” template 97637

**QR Code FAQ’s

Is there any way to access QR codes without a smart phone?

**Although not easy, if you use your computer’s search engine, you can find a few sites that offer a service of translating the QR code for you. But it requires taking a picture of the printed code, downloading the picture to your computer and then uploading the QR code to the translation site.

**Will QR Codes be good for years to come? Or are they a passing fad?

**QR codes have been around for a while but are just becoming popular in the mainstream. QR codes are being used in magazines, on marketing campaigns, in museums and art galleries. As long as the URL or website address exists, QR codes will always work.

**How do we get our own QR Codes into our Studio account and can they be used in both Basic and Premier?

**QR Codes can be uploaded into your account just like a photo. Once in your Photo Album, a QR code can be used in a project just as a photo would. Just drag and drop to replace an existing QR code or photo in a project. QR Codes that are .png or .jpg files can be uploaded into a Premier account. However, QR Codes need to be saved as .jpg files to be uploaded into a Basic account. To save an image as a .jpg, simply right click on your code and select “all files” as the file type and be sure to type in a file name followed by .jpg.


“HM Christmas Stamps QR,” template 99301

**What do I look for when searching in the Template Gallery?

**We have introduced many new QR templates in the Template Gallery and more are being added every day. Simply keyword search “QR” and you’ll find many selections. If you ever see a QR Code on a template that has the Heritage Makers book in the middle of it, please know that it is purely a placeholder and will need to be replaced with your own QR code. If you see a QR Code in a project in the Template Gallery and it does not have the book in the middle, that means that it is a real or “live” QR code and you have the ability to scan it and play. Once again, any QR code that you see in one of our projects from the Template Gallery will need to be replaced with your own QR Code. You wouldn’t want to make someone a card or calendar with another family’s message on it. Always double-check your QR Code before publishing your project just to make sure!

**How else can a QR Code be used?

**So many possibilities exist for using QR Codes; consider the following:

Driving directions on a party invitation

Preserving Grandma and Grandpa’s story or message to future generations

Documenting each child’s school year

Making a video guest book for the bride and groom

Placing a video recording on your family holiday ornament

Adding your baby’s first cry to his birth announcement

Making a card asking your girlfriend to the dance

Adding clips of each school year to a graduation card or gift

Talking calendars where there is a special message recorded for each family member’s birthday or a special holiday message

Letting Dad read stories to the little ones to hear while he’s serving far away, or your little ones recording video messages to send to him

The possibilities are endless with QR Codes. Clearly, our society values all things digital but QR Codes are also fun to play with and can add that “cool factor” to your Heritage Makers projects. There is no need to fear the unknown. We, at Heritage Makers, encourage you to give it a try and to see how simple and easy it can be.

* Watch this video clip from our October 3, 2013 Studio U class to learn more about personalizing projects with QR codes.*

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