These AI-generated QR code designs are pretty incredible

AI-generated QR codes
(Image credit: Future/nhciao on Reddit)

We've seen all sorts of weird and wonderful uses of AI over the last few months, from terrifyingly realistic deepfakes to expanded album covers. But while AI-generated QR codes might not sound the most exciting use of the tech, they're actually pretty stunning to look at. Oh, and they work.

A Redditor has shared a series of artistic QR code designs created using Stable Diffusion, mostly inspired by anime and manga art. And while they're a far cry from the blocky, simplistic codes we're used to, they're fully functional. (see our pick of the best AI art generators and the best AI art tutorials to get up to speed with the tech).

ControlNet for QR Code from r/StableDiffusion

While QR codes are normally a means to an end (the end normally being a website), these, created by Redditor r/nhcia, are artworks in their own right. Like that absurd QR code wristwatch, it's one of the more novel uses of functional tech we've seen.

"Wow they all work. That's insane," one user comments, while another adds, calmly, "This. THIS. This is art. This is beautiful. This means something. The fact that it works makes it genius. I feel like I’m looking at the start of a new generation in art, watching something new and fresh and incredible. The blending of formats, of expectations, is just amazing."

While artistic QR codes are pretty innocuous, we've seen AI image generation cause plenty of controversy in recent months. From competition winners to AI-generated book covers, artificially generated artworks are nothing if not contentious right now. Perhaps that's why Adobe is so keen to "do the right thing" with AI art.

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Daniel Piper
Senior News Editor

Daniel Piper is Creative Bloq’s Senior News Editor. As the brand’s Apple authority, he covers all things Mac, iPhone, iPad and the rest. He also reports on the worlds of design, branding and tech. Daniel joined Future in 2020 (an eventful year, to say the least) after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more. Outside of Future, Daniel is a global poetry slam champion and has performed at festivals including Latitude, Bestival and more. He is the author of Arbitrary and Unnecessary: The Selected Works of Daniel Piper (Selected by Daniel Piper).