The Top 5 YouTube Videos Turning QR Codes to Art

Written by Michael Whittington

I have discussed making QR codes pretty but it’s almost unheard of to use QR codes to make other stuff pretty. It’s no secret that I’m supportive of this form of mobile media marketing but I’ll be the first to say that you’re everyday black and white QR code is kind of unsightly. However there are some people who see beauty in the mobile marketing solution, so much so that they have adapted it into personal projects and homemade creations. When their task is completed, where else would they go to show off but YouTube? I trekked from the edge of YouTube and back just to find five videos I think are really worth watching. Each one shows the mobile marketing solution being used in new and creative ways.

#5: Dungeon Defenders Super Secret Code

I am a huge fan of video games. Not quite as much as I used to be because when I start playing one I tend to ignore everything from my job to my music until I finish it. One concept I was always intrigued by was Easter eggs. No, not the hardboiled chicken babies dyed in late March-early April – Easter eggs are secrets hidden in video games that break the fourth wall. Like mobile media marketing, Easter eggs branch the physical with the digital. They remind you that you’re just playing a game and a lot of time they’re good for a laugh. In the Xena: Warrior Princess game for the original PlayStation, if you walk through a wall you could get to a room full of computers. In fact, Easter eggs are now so commonplace in gaming that people make hobbies out of just trying to uncover them all. In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas if you fly up to the top of a particular bridge there is a sign that says “There are no Easter Eggs up here. Go away.” I could go on and on about Easter eggs, but why don’t you check out this video from a game called Dungeon Defenders. The developer, Trendy Entertainment, has included a secret QR code that you can only see by standing in a certain part of a certain room and moving the in-game camera to view the reverse side of a big safe.

#4: Newspaper Nails

This one’s for the ladies. Furthering the idea that QR codes can be art, this young woman named Colette has turned the mobile marketing solution into a fashion accessory. All it takes is some rubbing alcohol and a newspaper with QR codes in it. Alternately, you can use an online QR code generator to make your own design, print it out on the right kind of paper and give it a try. Unless your fingernails are particularly wide, these codes probably will not be scannable, but the design looks really neat nonetheless.

#3: Machine-Knitted QR Code Scarf

Are you feeling fancy with your newspaper nails? Well if you’re going to stick with that pattern you should be consistent. Knit yourself a scarf with a QR code on it. While the newspaper nails cost next to nothing, in order to knit the QR scarf as instructed in the video you’ll need to have a computerized knitting machine. Those can be pricey. The instructor Becky does explain that it is possible to make the scarf without the machine, but you’ll need to know a specific method. With the machine, basically you just need to use an online QR code generator to make your own QR code and then input it into the program. Despite requiring more time and money I ranked the scarf higher than the nails because the code is readable assuming you stitch it correctly. Also, they’re great for guys too.

#2: Pet Shop Boys – Integral

I wrote once about using QR codes for music promotion helping you use QR codes as a tool to show off your music videos. In “Integral,” the Pet Shop Boys turn the QR codes themselves into the video. It’s like modern day Pointilism in that it is comprised entirely of white and black dots or squares or pixels or whatever you want to call them. However this is no still-frame image. The data is moving around, constantly reshaping itself into the form of faces, airplanes and much, much more. The video is trippy and I wouldn’t be surprised if it were filled with subliminal messages. Try pausing the screen at certain points and scanning the codes.

#1: Periodic Table of Videos

I have respect for any company daring enough to take on a mobile marketing campaign, but I have an extra special fondness for organizations that use the mobile market for something greater. You’ve heard it before – knowledge is power. Well, the nerds over at Periodic Videos are helping you to feel empowered by teaching you the building blocks that make up our bodies, the air we’re breathing and the computers we’re sitting in front of. Whether you’re an eleventh grader studying for tomorrow’s chemistry test or a college professor looking for a great resource, the Periodic Table of Videos is an excellent choice. Each video is loaded with information about the elements, even the forgettable ones and the ones that are hard to pronounce. Seriously, how do you say Yttrium?

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