Skip to: Site menu | Main content

Speed and accessibility!

Everything you need to go from zero to hero in QR technology. Read on for examples, "how-to", history and even a bit of the strange.

3D Barcodes vs. 2D Barcodes

There are numerous types of barcodes and both 2D barcodes and 3D barcodes can be used to store information about a product including its inventory number, name, weight, cost, and more. Businesses frequently use both 2D and 3D barcodes to help track their inventory. Two-dimensional barcodes are the more traditional barcodes that people are most use to seeing and are comprised of a series of lines that vary in thickness and contain numbers on the bottom of some of the lines. Three-dimensional barcodes look different from two-dimensional barcodes and consist of a square group of black boxes on a white background.

Two-dimensional barcodes were first introduced to the market by Intermec Corporation in 1988. Since their invention, 2D barcodes have evolved in a number of ways. Today, two-dimensional barcodes can vary in height, length, and size. Two-dimensional barcodes are made up strictly of vertical lines because they only have the capacity to hold information horizontally. In this type of barcode, the encoded information is determined by the thickness of and the distance between the lines.

The most common type of 3D barcode is called a QR code. QR codes are square images consisting of black modules on a white background. These codes can store hundreds of times more information than traditional 2D barcodes. QR codes were designed in 1994 by a company called Denso-Wave which is a subsidiary of Toyota. QR codes were originally used in Japan to track vehicle parts during the manufacturing process but are beginning to become more popular in other areas such as marketing. QR codes can connect users to many different types of data such as webpages, images, contact information, SMS text messages, and more. QR codes can be read by simply scanning them with a QR code reader app downloaded on a smartphone.

2D barcodes have been very useful in a number of industries including retail. Sometimes barcodes are printed directly on products like books and other times are printed on a sticker that is placed on the product and can be removed after purchase or on product packaging. 3D barcodes were originally designed to be used in the automotive industry to help track vehicle parts during the manufacturing process. In this regard, 3D barcodes have proven to be more effective because they can hold up to chemicals and extreme heat that is not found in retail environments.