Decoder Business Card - QR Coded Secret Message




About: Bilal Ghalib is interested in doing things that surprise him and inspire others. Let's create a future we want to live in together.

Intro: Decoder Business Card - QR Coded Secret Message

Having a good business card can help you maintain contacts, promote yourself and your business, and make friends. By creating a personal business card that involves the recipient actively translating your card will make him more likely to remember you and share your card.  

Remembering the decoder rings and my fascination with secret messages I thought I could make an interesting business card that could not only tell a story, but give useful information on how to contact me. I did this first using just a block out grid stencil, and secondly with a QR code acting as the grid. 

Here's a video demo:

Step 1: Write Out the Story

This is the fun part. You can be creative here and write a fun story or any sort of document. A bit of spam perhaps, or something that describes your work. That is one of the more interesting things you can do with a decoder business card. Rather than worry about cramming all your contact info along with something that describes what you do. You can add both!

Make sure to include all the characters you want decoded.  I started with a "B" because I wanted the first part of my name to show up on the upper left. 

Step 2: Edit the Stencil With a Vector Graphic Program

Using Adobe Illustrator or inkscape run through the following steps:
  1. Create a business card sized rectangle over your story.
  2. Put the transparency down to 50%
  3. Draw the white rectangles that highlight the text you want to show up.
  4. With the pathfinder tool find the exclusion.
You have now created the stencil! Cut it out or follow the next step to create a sun decoder card.

Step 3: Print the Stencil

You can either print both the decoder image and the text separately. Or by flipping the image and printing it upside down attached to the text (see image two) you create a card that you can read by flipping it inside out and looking through it at a light source. 

Step 4: QR Code Version

To do this with a QR code as a stencil you first need to create a QR code. By making the QR code translate to the text you want encoded on the front you create an interesting situation where the person decoding your card can either decode it digitally or by using the structure of the QR code also decode the SAME message by hand. Use this generator to create your code: 

Once you have your QR code you now have the image you will also use as a decoder stencil. 

Step 5: Create the Text to Decode

Yay! More creative writing! This time you use the QR code under 50% transparency and write your text so that all the text you want decoded appears under the white part of the QR code. Flip the image again and place it under the text to use as a folding decoder and you're done with your second decoder business card! Let's pass them out and use them!

Step 6: Give It Out to People:

Business cards serve many purposes. Having a IQ testing business card may make you stand out from the stack of cards in someone's drawer. Here's some images of the cards being used. 



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    56 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction



    6 years ago on Introduction

    I really like this idea, but I also wanted to give you a head's up that most of your main images read, "Image not found."


    8 years ago on Step 4

    I still wonder if there is an free Windows QR Code generator, or maybee a PHP one. I could use them so much... :(

    12 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    LINUX has FREE QR coder. and the best thing of all about Linux it is FREE and has 1,000 s of other FREE software that can let do whatever you want to do with it. You will not find as much FREE software for widows of the Freedom to as you want to do with it.
     That is L I N U X ,,,,,The FREE WORLD OS !!!!!!!!
    But if you want to spend your money on Microsoft products over the FREE things you may vary well do so ! 


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Why is it all Linux people cant just say "There is a free QR Coder for Linux. Its named xxxx"
    It always has to end on Free Free Free Opensource and then something about Microsoft.

    I actually use Linux, but my main machine always will have Windows as OS until Linux freaks find a way to really run everything on Linux (wich you still cant) or give me an Linux alternative to some Applications (there are still a lot of applications where the alternatives just can't hold up)

    So in the End your Answer doesnt help me at all because you didnt even tell me the name of that application/package.

    Oh and just for information, i actually got 3 Linux boxes and 3 Windows boxes.
    So i aint a Linuxhater ;)

    install adobe AIR and get this it'll work cross platform since it's an AIR app and AIR is a runtime available cross-platform
    the app itself is a little touchy since it uses webcam and most webcams dont have a focus. but i've gotten it to read with my eeepc


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    If I could remember what the name of the app was I would of posted it I been using Linux for over 10 years and found every thing I in opensource that I could ever use or ever needed a windows box for! !! yes some things need a little code tweaking to work beiter or  fit what I need.  Linux proveds many of tools to do  that with as well. it just make you use your code skills better or learn more about programming.  step up to the plate of C, C++, or any of the other programing languages that Linux distos have to offer  for FREE !!!! YES FREE FREE FREE old Microsoft dose not give out VB or any other programing software for free.  you will never see the source code any Microsoft products  being handed out freely so a user can tweak it .  so if I get some app that dose not do what I want it to do but comes close on a Linux box I can get the source code and make it work or do what I want it to do.     


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Um.  I'm a VB.NET programmer.  I've been using the free version of VB.NET Express that Microsoft has given out for years.  (For FREE!)  I write free video games.  I write free apps.  In fact, there's a good deal more free applications for Microsoft OS than for Linux.  There's a ridiculous amount of open source apps for the Windows platform. 

    I'm not even a 'Nix hater, it's just that if you're going to trash an OS, please educate yourself and do it for the right reason, such as buggy, incomplete, and expensive operating systems, applications that are never even marginally tested before being released to the general public, etc.

    I'm still looking forward to the day when Linux will actually run many of the applications that most people find to be a necessity, much less have a DirectX port, or even a decent version of OpenGL that's thoroughly developed... Yep... Still looking forward to that day...


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Lets face it.
    Microsoft bashers just love to complain about alot of things.
    Usually also because Windows would be "unstable" or "crash all the time", because they just dont know how to handle it.
    And then they start with OpenSource and GPL. Then forget that there are a lot of free applications (even a lot under GPL) for Windows too.
    Even Microsoft offers actually a lot of stuff as free versions.
    And DirectX and OpenGL is another reason not to switch my main desktop to Linux.
    Love to see somebody using 3D Studio on it.

    It doesnt matter what we say, we are always wrong and have to proof like everything.
    We use Windows so we are always wrong...
    I just say, Linux & Windows are both good and strong operating systems.
    We for shure need both of them.
    But Linux aint doing it for anybody, and if you want to use certain applications then it doesnt matter how good you know your Linux.
    And there also aint a good linux alternative for every application.

    Maybee some day it will be like that, but today it aint.

    If somebody is happy using linux, thats great.
    If somebody is happy using windows, thats great too.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    well look at the true facts Microsoft has had so much news as flailing win 98 on its first showing for the mane stream booted up to blues screen of death and faced much security problems. moving the time line up there is tons of factual news mostly bad works in Microsoft. No one hears any thing like that about Linux. Fact are the facts what works and what dont


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah strange i hear of security problem on linux systems too.
    A friend of mine is running a pretty huge hosting company, and guess what, alot of security fixes.

    But anyway your just that kind of person that can't bring up any real arguments.
    All that i see from you is a polemic bashing on Microsoft without bringing anything to the discussion except that YOU hate Microsoft.

    When you find some real arguments your welcome, otherwise i'm not gonna look further into your trolling. You already have been proved wrong.

    When you then look at your own userpicture you see that there is no point in arguing with you anymore,.
    Have a nice life.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I'm with you, I've run Windows XP for years and I don't see a need to upgrade my system or switch to linux. I play a lot of video games and I'm still using my old PC from 2006.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I depends on what distro of Linux used and how the user sets it up as to how secure the Linux box is. funny thin I see about win7 is what MS calls "new  security technology" is the same things Linux has been doing for years as for your care of my life thank you I live vary well by the way. as for the MS argument history tells the truth of there dishonest and dirty business practice. As a tech MS is a money maker for me I can bill stupid people with lots of money to fix there junk OS, AND THAT I DO VARY MUCH SO LIKE about windows  $$$$$$$ in my pocket