Welcome to week 4 of Tag Along with Patrick Donnelly, our series on graphic design tips to use when creating your Tags. Each week, Donnelly will explain some ways to customize your Tags. Today’s tips show a simple way to add branding elements or photos to your Tags.
If you plan on customizing your Microsoft Tag, there are three main considerations you need to understand.
Color vs. Grayscale tags have different properties. A quick look at the number of rows of data shows you that the Tag reader reads these two codes differently, and thus the density of data could effect your design. This becomes very important when you consider speed of scan and final size.
Every code has some error correction built in. This was designed to give some flexibility for scanning codes in the event they are scratched, dirty, or your hand is shaky. In this case, we are using this flexibility in the data to make the codes look more attractive. Microsoft Tags do have a lot of error correction built in, but if you attempt to customize the Tag too much, a broken Tag is a horrible user experience, no matter how interesting it looks.
Test, test, and test. Lastly, it is important to consider designing your codes to the lowest common dominator so they work on multiple phones. A great thing about MsTag is that there is only one app per phone. However, a MsTag on an android might not work on an iPhone, and vice versa. If you intend on customizing your tags you MUST test on both platforms. It is up to the designer to optimize a Tag to the user, not the other way around.
Have fun and experiment with how you can apply filters and effects to your Microsoft Tag. I personally have been using them for a few years and its amazing what you can accomplish and how you can make them come to life. A customized Tag may make the difference between someone scanning a code or not, and it helps maintain the brand equity for your client. The most important function is to maintain the functionality of the code and the mobile user experience, and then feel free to bring some style into the code itself.
What graphic design techniques would you like to learn how to use with your Tag? Let us know in the comments below.
Patrick Donnelly is the creative producer for 2ergo, an international mobile business and marketing solutions company.