Q Do You Think You R?

T-shirt featuring a QR code. Snap it with a internet-enabled camera phone and be taken to
the wearer’s website of choice
Quick Response Codes (those square pixellated barcodes that, when scanned by a camera phone, bring up information or link to a particular website) have moved into the world of bespoke fashion. Emma Cott, a Munich-based clothing label has launched a new collection of t-shirts enabling users of social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace to take their profiles to the street, sporting an abstract code design on their chest. Visitors to emmacott.com can generate their own QR code (that links directly to the website of their choosing) and add it to their choice of t-shirt. It’s self-promotion made very simple.

QR tshirt
T-shirt featuring a QR code. Snap it with a internet-enabled camera phone and be taken to
the wearer’s website of choice

Quick Response Codes (those square pixellated barcodes that, when scanned by a camera phone, bring up information or link to a particular website) have moved into the world of bespoke fashion. Emma Cott, a Munich-based clothing label has launched a new collection of t-shirts enabling users of social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace to take their profiles to the street, sporting an abstract code design on their chest. Visitors to emmacott.com can generate their own QR code (that links directly to the website of their choosing) and add it to their choice of t-shirt. It’s self-promotion made very simple.

Sporting these customised t-shirts, emblazoned with a personalised code and combined with optional slogans such as “Hire Me”, “Add Me” or the somewhat risk sounding “Date Me”, the social networkers among you can advertise your music, your skills or, hey, just your own plain self if you’re that way inclined, to anyone with the wherewithal to photograph your chest with their phone. (Just a word of advice: ensure they have internet capability first or otherwise they’re just, you know, taking a picture of your chest).

The QR code is the most recent step in the evolution of the one-dimensional barcode (familiar to most consumers as a series of vertical lines) and was created by Japanese corporation Deso-Wave in 1994. Deso-Wave wanted to design a code that allowed its contents to be easily downloaded and at high speed. Advertising billboards could provide direct links to additional information, such as where to buy a particular product.

Now the QR code is even being used in airports. The airline Continental are currently testing the two-dimensional encrypted barcode for boarding passes that can be printed online.

ID boarding pass
Boarding pass using a QR code

But perhaps the most creative use of the format was the Pet Shop Boys’ video that accompanied their Integral single. Tomato director Tom Roope’s latest venture, The Rumpus Room, created the promo for the song (which addressed issues of civil liberties and the ubiquity of CCTV) and incorporated pixel animations alongside numerous QR codes that viewers could snap from the comfort of their sofa, to be taken to relevant campaign websites.


Video for the Pet Shop Boys’ single, Integral, created by The Rumpus Room

Perhaps the more progressive of t-shirt wearers will follow the direction of Mssrs Tennant and Lowe, sporting designs linking to interesting blogs or the odd charity website, rather than simply directing people to a “wacky” MySpace design? We’ll see.

More from CR

The Design Conference That Is Helping House The Poor

From this to this: Design Indaba’s 10×10 project will move 100 township families out of shacks (pic: Yasser Booley) and into well-designed houses like this
Design Indaba, the Cape Town-based creative conference, has brought together ten of the world’s top architects and designers to help tackle South Africa’s housing crisis. The likes of David Adjaye, Thomas Heatherwick, Tom Dixon and Shigeru Ban have each worked with a local partner to design a street of ten homes to be built in the Mitchell’s Plain township. CR was there to see the first house going up

Designed to Help

Ever noticed that the packaging of headache remedies isn’t exactly easy on the eye? Ironic, really, that when you want something soothing to ail your pounding skull, the products available sit on the chemist’s shelf and SHOUT their MESSAGES OF URGENT HELP in bold, bright colours, seemingly without a care for your poor tired eyes and head. Now this (above), from Help Remedies, is a nice idea that turns down the volume on medicine packaging. Their packets of pills and plasters not only look great but are also made of 100% recycled paper pulp. And at $6 for 12 headache pills (or 8 plasters), that’s not much more than most of the more well-known brands, so these are no vanity purchase. Plus you’ll get to look just that little bit cooler when you’re ill.

New Sony ad

Foam City, Sony ad, agency: Fallon London. Production company: HLA. Director: Simon Ratigan
Fallon in London has come over all foamy for its latest spot for Sony, directed by Simon Ratigan, which sees white bubbles released over a city, whose people seem remarkably happy to receive them.
With it’s slow-motion feel and sparse soundtrack, the ad has strong echoes of the Fallon’s earlier Balls spot for Sony Bravia, but this time without all the colour.

Blek le Rat: The New Banksy?

Ha – only joking. While Banksy is a relative newcomer to the graffiti scene, Blek le Rat has been stencilling, pasting and daubing his way around the world for nearly thirty years. But the perception of Banksy as the pioneer of street art is certainly the one favoured by the media and the art world. As a result, Banksy’s artistic reputation – no doubt helped by his anonymity – has been elevated to near mythical status. While Blek’s reputation, at least beyond the world of street art, is far less well known, a new book of his work looks certain to bring his art to a wider audience and throw up a few more questions on just how influential he’s been.

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