What mistakes should I avoid when creating (and customizing) a QR code?

My brother Pete lives in Europe, and he and his family will visit in May after two years. They’ll stay with us for two weeks. I am grateful we have video calls nowadays, but I really look forward to seeing them in person and spending some time together. I made a couple of arrangements and bought some presents.

I am planning to create and print a QR code to share Wi-Fi access with them (it will come in handy for other guests, too, and I’ve been postponing it long enough). And then I realized it was an excellent opportunity for a small prank.

Here’s the thing: we have an inner joke about Pete’s “selective hearing”, as he’s one of those people who only registers what he decides to, and for all the rest - he hasn’t caught that. We’ve been teasing him for years that his next birthday present will be one of those BTE hearing aids. (Just to clarify, there is nothing wrong with his hearing.)

So, I want to have two QR codes, the “real” one for sharing Wi-Fi credentials and one more to take him to a page that sells hearing aids. I saw that this QR code generator rates 4.9 on G2 and allows you to make QR codes for free with basic customization. I will have to customize one of the codes to be able to tell which one is a prank code (I know I’ll forget).

My concern is not to do something wrong and make it unscannable (?). Are there any general rules I should follow? I never made a QR code before.

Sorry about turning this into a saga. I’m just excited both about seeing my brother after such a long time and about the prank, and I wanted to share it. All of my previous attempts have failed miserably.

I read a lot about QR codes (I think it was last year), so I’ll try to help. I want to say - “From what I remember”, but the truth is the only thing that stayed with me is downloading it in high resolution, preferably as PNG. As random as it gets, yes. At least I remember the source, so I looked it up quickly. The main points are: don’t use inverted colors; make sure your code has a dark foreground and a light background; don’t print it in a tiny size. Test it before you print it. For example, you can make one round and avoid all the worries about colors, backgrounds, contrast and stuff. Good luck with the prank; I am not a master of those, either. Hope you’ll have a wonderful time with your family!

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Thank you, this helps a lot! I think I will go for a round code as you suggested.