A Newsletter Read by Graphic Arts Professionals Worldwide

Category: Print Design

How the Graphic Arts Industry Should React to QR Code Mis-use

In early December 2023 the United States Federal Trade Commission issued a statement (see below for the full text) regarding the use and mis-use of QR codes. The Seybold Report first started writing about the incorporation of QR codes in print and digital projects nearly 20 years ago, and today the graphic arts industry routinely uses them and advises customers to use them. We have some suggestions for how the industry (including printers, publishers, and graphic artists) should react to the growing use of QR codes for illegal and nefarious purposes.

  • We would like to see the industry become proactive in this issue, rather than reacting to whatever is happening. In other words, get out in front and do something to help rather than following behind muttering and sputtering about it. Technology can be used to help make QR code user safer. Let’s do that.
  • We would also like to see the industry be open about the possibilities for mis-use, which opens up the door to then talking about what the industry is doing to prevent or mitigate the potential for mis-use. For example, something as simple as making sure customers who use QR codes get a copy of the statement below along with a letter reassuring them how they can prevent such issues.

For example, underneath the QR code on a printed document there could be an image of the website which should appear when the document is scanned and the correct URL. Or, the document could say, “We will never send you an email containing a QR code. If you get such an email, do not click on the code or any links in the email and contact us immediately.”

In other words:

  • acknowledge the threats,
  • educate customers,
  • work with others in your industry and the technology industry to combat QR code mis-use, and
  • develop and employ effective counter-measures.

If your company is involved in any of these activities including educating customers and employing counter-measures, we would like to hear about what you are doing and how you are doing it. We would very much like to write about these efforts in the Seybold Report.

QR codes seem to be everywhere. You may have scanned one to see the menu at a restaurant or pay for public parking. And, you may have used one on your phone to get into a concert or sporting event, or to board a flight. There are countless other ways to use them, which explains their popularity. Unfortunately, scammers hide harmful links in QR codes to steal personal information. Here’s what to know.

  • they lie and say they couldn’t deliver your package and you need to contact them to reschedule;
  • they pretend like there’s a problem with your account and you need to confirm your information; and
  • they lie, saying they noticed suspicious activity on your account, and you need to change your password.

These are all lies they tell you to create a sense of urgency. They want you to scan the QR code and open the URL without thinking about it.

A scammer’s QR code could take you to a spoofed site that looks real but isn’t. And, if you log in to the spoofed site, the scammers could steal any information you enter. Or, the QR code could install malware that steals your information before you realize it.

So how can you protect yourself?

  • If you see a QR code in an unexpected place, inspect the URL before you open it. If it looks like a URL you recognize, make sure it’s not spoofed — look for misspellings or a switched letter.
  • Don’t scan a QR code in an email or text message you weren’t expecting — especially if it urges you to act immediately. If you think the message is legitimate, use a phone number or website you know is real to contact the company.
  • Protect your phone and accounts. Update your phone’s OS to protect against hackers and protect your online accounts with strong passwords and multi-factor authentication.
United states federal trade commission statement, december 6, 2023

PGSF and Electronics for Imaging Announce 2023 Box Design Contest Winner

Pittsburgh, PA – June 12, 2023 – The Print & Graphics Scholarship Foundation (PGSF) (www.pgsf.org) and Electronics For Imaging (www.efi.com) have announced the winner of the inaugural Packaging Design Contest.  This year’s contest was open to any college student studying Graphic Arts with a focus on packaging.  More than 40 entries were submitted representing eight universities. 

“EFI is proud to sponsor the Box Design contest in conjunction with the Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation to inspire and reward future graphic designers in digital printing creation for corrugated products.” said Liz Logue, VP Corporate Development, Inkjet Strategy for EFI. “The student submissions were all well designed and thought out. Ultimately EFI chose Alex Woon’s box design, from the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, who showed creativity in designing a unique look for a wine carrier while making best use of digital printing’s design capabilities.

Alex’s design was for Grace Wines of Berkley, California and when assembled holds several bottles and looks like a gothic church. In addition, the graphics for the package include a spot varnish/clear coat of braille (see image below).

“Designing for the PGSF box competition was a great opportunity, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to participate! This project was exciting — I had the chance to put my all into an idea that has great meaning to me. The design itself reflects the cross-disciplinary and accessible work I strive to create. In having this work publicized, I hope to inspire a more diverse, equitable, and accessible future in our industry.”

The contest winner receives a $500 prize from EFI and will have their design printed on an EFI Nozomi Ink Jet press.

More information about the scholarship foundation and its other contests can be found at www.pgsf.org/2023-student-design-contests

About the PGSF

The Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation is a not-for-profit, private, industry-directed organization that dispenses technical and college scholarships and assistance to talented youth interested in graphic communication careers. The mission of PGSF is to promote the graphics industry as a career choice for young people and then to support them through their education process.

Once upon a time, posters full of dazzling images and arresting slogans dominated the media landscape. They were displayed in shop windows, covered billboards, and were even draped over human bodies when the 19th-century Sandwich Men patrolled city sidewalks carrying advertising posters over their shoulders.

The Library of Congress’ collection of posters traverses nearly two centuries and multiple continents. Its contents tell the story of an evolving form that exhibited the work of major artists and promoted everything from food to political candidates.

Here we present images of a few of the posters in the Library’s collection. To view the entire article about posters owned by the Library of Congress, please click here to view the January/February issue of the Library of Congress magazine.

Print is Vital: Holiday Edition

No surprise here: American Greetings likes cards, all kinds of cards including printed cards. And, the company says, most adults in the United States do, too. More than half send some kind of card during the year-end holiday season.

The press release about the study got us thinking about one of our favorite Seybold Report subjects: the amazing vitality of Print. So, here is a quick gallery of some of the holiday-related print products and projects most people (but not us!) take for granted. Spread the word: Print is Vital!

Monotype Explores Why Fonts Make Us Feel

The research found typeface choice alone plays a significant role in how people feel—boosting their positive response by up to 13%.

A new research study from Monotype indicates the choice of typeface can boost or reduce consumer response.

In late May 2022 Monotype released a research report which delves into the emotional impact of type on consumers. It is a fascinating idea to research this topic, and the results of the research are eye-opening.

Monotype worked with with applied neuroscience company Neurons to test the marketing effect of three very different typefaces. For the study, Monotype and Neurons surveyed 400 people using threekinds of stimuli: single words, a sentence using those words, and a sentence with the words including a brand. Test samples were set in one of three typefaces – FS Jack, a humanist sans; Gilroy, a geometric sans; and Cotford, a languid serif.

The research found “typeface choice alone plays a significant role in how people feel—boosting their positive response by up to 13%.” James Fools-Bale, Monotype’s Senior Brand Director, adds some details, “This study tested our biggest assumptions about consumers’ emotional response to type and confirmed everything the broader design community has believed about type for decades—that it measurably affects consumers’ recognition of, confidence in, and recollection of brands. Even in the absence of color, logo, movement or any other traditional element of visual identity, typography plays a crucial role in conveying trust, sincerity, and reliability—brand marketers, agencies, and creatives should take note.”

To access the full study, Why Fonts Make Us Feel, please visit https://www.monotype.com/neurons.

Monotype report page 10
Page 10 of the Monotype Report

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