You’re probably planning on using a QR Code in one of your print media campaigns. It might be for use cases such as getting the audience to visit your website, avail discount, or follow you on social media.

You’re now thinking—what QR Code size would be appropriate for my print media material? Don’t worry. You are not alone.

Minimum size is a common concern for many while working with QR Codes. Users often come to us with questions such as:

‘I am putting a QR Code on the label of my clothing range. How small can the size be?’

‘What is the ideal size of a QR Code to put on a business card?’

‘I need to add a QR Code on the packaging of my product. Is there a QR Code minimum size I need to use?’

‘I tested my QR Code but when I printed a copy for my magazine it didn’t scan. What’s the problem?’

If you’re reading this article, you most likely have a similar question. So we decided to write a post about it and answer the big question—what is the ideal size of a QR Code?

Well, there is no right answer to this question. Yes, there’s no standardized size for QR Codes. The right size depends on how and where you’re planning to use them.

And the good news is that you can still calculate the ideal size for your use case. However, let’s first understand why QR Code size is important in the first place.

Related: Eight must know QR Code download best practices

A. Why QR Code size matters

Why QR Code size matters

The size of a QR Code is important for it to scan well. You know that QR Codes are commonly scanned using a smartphone. The smartphone camera has to read every data module to be able to decode a QR Code.

And you know that the quality of the camera varies widely across different smartphones.

Some of them are very good and can scan even very small QR Codes. But others simply can’t.

The whole point of a QR Code is for people to easily scan it with their smartphones. 

If your code is minuscule, it might be blurry or undetectable by the camera, leaving users frustrated and empty-handed (of whatever digital goodies your code offered).

Imagine a billboard with a QR Code the size of a postage stamp. Not exactly scannable from afar, right? Tailor the size of your QR Code to the intended viewing distance. So simply speaking, a code on a business card can be smaller than one on a billboard.

Also, it is important to note that QR Codes rely on a specific arrangement of squares to store information. If the code is too small, those squares get cramped, making it difficult for the scanner to interpret the data. Remember, happy scanner, happy user!

So you must make sure your QR Code size is large enough to be scanned using most of the smartphones. You can compress images without losing the quality of the image using online tools like Tiny-IMG.

And for most smartphone cameras to read a QR Code, its size should be at least 1 x 1 inch. Or 2.5 x 2.5 cm. Or 115 x 115 pixels (in width and height).

Now that you know why QR Code size is important, the next question is—What’s the right size? Don’t worry, you won’t need a magnifying glass! We’ll help you find the perfect size for your QR Code needs, ensuring smooth scanning and a successful journey to your digital destination.

Keep reading!

B. How do I calculate the right size for my QR Code

How to calculate QR Code size?

To calculate the right QR Code size for your use case, you first have to think about a few things:

1. Scanning distance

Think about where you will put your QR Code. And what will be the scanning distance approximately?

For example—say you want to put a business card QR Code on your visiting card. When scanned using a smartphone, it will take users to your contact details and an option to save you as a contact.

In this case, the scanner will be just a few feet away from the QR Code.

Learn all about what are QR Codes used for

On the other hand, say you want to add the QR Code on a large billboard. Here the scanner will be about a hundred meters away from the QR Code image.

Depending on the scanning distance, you can calculate the QR Code size using this standard rule:

QR Code minimum size: basic rule

The ratio of the scanning distance to the size of the QR Code should be close to 10:1.

For example—say you want to add a QR Code on a flyer. This flyer will go on a notice board.

The distance between the QR Code and the smartphone would be about one foot.

Using the given formula, the minimum size of the QR Code in this use case would be 1.2 inches.

Similarly, once you know the scanning distance, you can easily calculate the suitable QR Code size for your use case.

2. Amount of data to be encoded

You know that the data is encoded across the rows and columns of a QR Code. Hence, a QR Code reader scans these rows and columns to decode the QR Code.

The number of these rows, columns, and characters affects the scannability of a QR Code. How?

If you increase the data to be encoded, the number of rows and columns also increases. As a result, the scannability decreases.

To ensure higher scannability of QR Codes, use the rule given below:

Advanced rule to calculate size of a QR Code

Say you want to use a Vcard QR Code on your business cards. Here, the approximate scanning distance will be about 0.5 feet or maybe 6 inches. And the number of rows in a Vcard QR Code is 57.

Applying this data to the given rule, we get that the minimum QR Code size should be 1.37 inches. Or 3.48 cm. Or 132 pixels.

Note that the lesser the number of rows and columns, the higher the QR Code’s scannability.

Hence, you should not add too much data if you’re creating a static QR Code. It will make your QR Code dense and decrease its scannability.

In fact, if you want to create a static QR Code for a link, you can use a URL shortener tool such as

It will decrease the number of characters or we can say—the data to be encoded in the QR Code. This will, as a result, cut the number of rows and columns, and hence the size of the QR Code.

However, unlike static QR Codes, Dynamic QR Codes are less dense. Hence, if you want to encode detailed content, you must create a dynamic QR Code.

3. QR Code design

Design your awesome QR Codes

Say you’re creating a QR Code for one of your promotional campaigns. You’d want as many people as possible to scan the QR Code. Hence, you must add a design to it. Why?

Plain black-and-white QR Codes are boring to look at. They look like barcodes and people often perceive them as ‘some barcodes for official use’. Hence, they do not enthuse the audience.

On the other hand, QR Codes customized by adding colors and image act as point-of-engagement to attract the maximum number of scans. Hence, many marketers now customize their QR Codes by adding their brand’s logo and colors to them.

And here’s the thing. Such customized QR Codes need a high error correction level to remain scannable.

Not sure what error correction is? It is a property of QR Codes that helps them remain scannable by adding additional rows and columns. This ensures high scannability despite dirt or damage.

Hence, when you customize your QR Code, it is recommended that you keep the error correction level high. And since high error correction increases the number of rows and columns, the QR Code minimum size also increases.

Also read: How not to use QR Codes in your campaign

4. Printing requirements

Say you need a large-sized QR Code for print media such as a poster, billboard banner, or a wall.

In such cases, you must export the QR Code in a vector format (SVG, EPS, PD, or PDF).

These formats can be easily scaled. No matter how much you zoom in, an image in vector format doesn’t pixelate.

Also, always make sure there is enough color contrast between your QR Code and its background.

That means if your QR Code is dark-colored (such as black), choose a light color for the background (such as white). Similarly, if your QR Code is light-colored, use dark colors in the background.

And finally, your QR Code should have appropriate margin width. This width should be equal to about four data modules. This helps scanners read the QR Code well.

While following the above rules is a good practice, the golden rule is to always test your QR Code before you download them for bulk printing.

That’s it. You now know everything about QR Code minimum size. You can now go ahead to create a QR Code for your use case. To do that, you will need a QR Code generator.

Now there are many QR Code generators online and a Google search will give you pages of results.

Don’t worry. You will not have to compare all of them individually to find the best one for your use case. To make it easier for you, we have compiled a detailed comparison chart for the best QR Code generator. You can go through it to find the best one for your use case.

C. Best practices for QR Code minimum size

Best practices for QR Code minimum size

1. General guidelines for different use cases

  • Close-up Scans: If the QR Codes are meant for close-range scans like the ones on business cards or magazines, 1 x 1 inch (2.5 x 2.5 cm) is a safe minimum size. People will likely be holding the code close to their phones for scanning. Think of it like a whisper – clear and effective at a short distance.
  • Mid-range Scans: If the QR is for a poster or a flyer, aim for at least 1.5 x 1.5 inches (3.8 x 3.8 cm). This provides a comfortable buffer zone for users scanning from an arm’s length or further. Imagine it as a conversation volume – loud enough to be heard clearly without shouting.
  • Long-distance Scans: Go big or go home! 2 inches (5 cm) or more is ideal to ensure readability even from afar. This is particularly useful for QR Codes that are meant for billboards or walls. Think of it like a bullhorn – needs to be large and bold to grab attention across a distance.

2. Optimizing for different devices and environments

  • Consider the Audience: If your target audience uses older smartphones with less powerful cameras, go for a larger code. Just like a larger font size makes text easier to read for those with slightly weaker eyesight, a bigger QR Code caters to devices that might need a little extra clarity.
  • Lighting Conditions: In bright sunlight or low-light environments, a larger code with higher contrast (think black and white for maximum differentiation) will be easier to scan. Imagine a sunny day at the beach – you need sunglasses to see things clearly, just like a QR Code might need a higher contrast to stand out in bright light.
  • Surface Texture: Avoid placing QR Codes on bumpy or reflective surfaces, as they can distort the code and hinder scanning. Think of a funhouse mirror – it warps your reflection, and a distorted QR Code is just as confusing for a smartphone camera! Opt for smooth, matte surfaces for optimal scannability.

D. Common mistakes and how to avoid them

1. Underestimating the minimum size 

A tiny QR Code might look cute on a business card, but it won’t be functional if people can’t scan it. Remember, the purpose of a QR Code is to be a bridge to digital information, and a bridge that crumbles underfoot isn’t very helpful! Stick to the recommended minimum sizes to ensure smooth scanning and a frustration-free user experience.

2. Ignoring environmental factors 

Don’t forget about lighting and surface texture! Just like a photographer considers light and background for a good picture, QR Code placement needs to take its environment into account. Choose a size and placement that considers the lighting and surface where the code will be used.

E. Unleash the power of QR Codes with Scanova

Looking to create QR Codes that are not only scannable but strategically designed to elevate your marketing game? Look no further than Scanova! Our user-friendly platform offers a variety of features to transform your QR Codes from static squares into dynamic marketing tools:

Easy Customization: Design your QR Code with your brand colors, logos, and a clear call to action to grab attention and make a lasting impression. Think of it like a shop window – an attractive display that entices people to come inside.

Dynamic QR Codes: Update the information linked to your code anytime, without needing to reprint it – perfect for menus that change seasonally, promotions with limited-time offers, or landing pages that evolve over time. It’s like having a living website within your QR Code, adaptable and fresh.

G2 Testimonial of Scanova

Scan Tracking and Analytics: Gain valuable insights into how many people are scanning your code, where they’re coming from, and even what time of day they’re scanning. This data is like gold for marketers, allowing you to refine your strategy and target your audience more effectively.

Scanova's Brand Testimonial Review

Multiple File Formats: Download your QR Code in various formats (JPG, PNG, SVG) for optimal use in print or digital media. Versatility is key, and Scanova provides the tools to seamlessly integrate your QR Codes into any marketing campaign.

Scanova provides a comprehensive, reliable, and user-friendly solution for all your QR Code requirements, making it a top choice for businesses.

Scanova is trusted by many big brands like Amazon, AT&T, Walmart, Cisco, etc.

FAQs: QR Code Minimum Size

1. What’s the absolute QR Code minimum size?

Technically, the smallest possible QR Code is 21 x 21 modules (squares), which translates to roughly 0.4 x 0.4 inches (1 x 1 cm). However, this size is not recommended for most uses as it might be difficult to scan reliably, especially with older smartphones or in less-than-ideal conditions.

2. What’s a safe minimum size for different situations?

Here’s a general guideline:

  1. Close-up scans (business cards, magazines): 1 x 1 inch (2.5 x 2.5 cm) is a good minimum.
  2. Mid-range scans (posters, flyers): Aim for at least 1.5 x 1.5 inches (3.8 x 3.8 cm).
  3. Long-distance scans (billboards, walls): Go big! 2 inches (5 cm) or more is ideal.

3. Should I consider anything else besides size while using QR Codes?

Absolutely! There are some other factors to consider if you want the most out of QRs.

  • Target audience: If you expect people with older phones to scan your code, stick to a larger size for better readability.
  • Lighting conditions: In bright sunlight or low light, a larger code with high contrast (black and white) will be easier to scan.
  • Surface texture: Avoid placing QR Codes on bumpy or reflective surfaces that can distort the code and hinder scanning.

4. How can I ensure my QR Code is scannable?

Use a reputable QR Code generator like Scanova that allows you to adjust the size and offers high-quality downloads.

Test your code before printing or publishing it! Scan it with your phone from different distances and in various lighting conditions to ensure readability.

Consider adding a call to action around the code, like “Scan to learn more!” to guide users.

5. What happens if my QR Code is too small?

A scanner might struggle to recognize the code, leading to a frustrating user experience. People might give up trying to scan it all together.

Still have any queries? Ask them in the comments.