How QR Codes for Headstones or Tombstones Work

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It’s becoming more common to see QR codes throughout your daily routine. From restaurant menus to posters, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that these QR codes are also being used after death. A QR code for a headstone or tombstone works in the same way as any other scannable code. When scanned by a smart device, it brings a unique web page.

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With the rise of virtual cemeteries, it’s time to embrace a new world of digital creativity when it comes to your final resting place. How we honor deceased loved ones is changing each year, and it’s exciting to welcome a new era of remembrance. In this guide, we explore how QR codes for headstones or tombstones work so you can create the legacy that’s right for you. 

What’s a QR Code for a Headstone?

To begin, what is a QR code for a headstone? Does this differ from other types of QR codes, and what do you need to know about this process? These codes work similarly to the barcodes you see on products at stores. They’re customized codes that are programmed to receive information stored digitally. 

On a headstone, these QR codes exist to give more information. There is limited space on headstones to work with. Families typically have to decide what’s most important when creating their inscription, and they might not be able to share as much as they like. A QR code digitally fills in these gaps, letting them share their loved one’s legacy. 

Purpose

What is the purpose of these headstone QR codes? It’s not just for design purposes. QR codes on headstones are a way to bring gravestones into the digital age. With most of our lives going online, it only makes sense to keep this connection even after death. Thanks to the rise of online memorial sites, this type of digital legacy tag can make quite an impact. 

What do most headstone QR codes link to? While it’s up to the family and their wishes, these are the most common options:

  • Obituary: The family might link to a digital obituary in a newspaper or on a social media website. 
  • Online memorial: If you create an online memorial for a loved one, you can link this to a gravestone QR code to bring up more information. 
  • Guestbook: Digital guest books are a way for loved ones to leave memories, well-wishes, and condolences. Linking to a digital guestbook makes it easy for loved ones to connect with others visiting the grave. 
  • Photos: Similarly, the family can link to an online photo album. This humanizes the grave, bringing color into an otherwise lifeless space.

With famous graves and memorials already incorporating digital elements, it’s easy to see why this trend is catching on. Grieving families want to find new options for honoring loved ones. A QR code blends the digital with the physical, creating a new tradition from the past. 

Origin

Do you know where QR codes come from? How did they start getting added to gravestones? The first QR codes were invented in the 1990s by a subsidiary of Toyota. This was actually designed to help with efficiency in the manufacturing process of vehicles and parts. The technology is built upon the existing barcodes to add more storage and accuracy. QR codes have the ability to hold 300 times more data than a barcode with the same space. 

As you might expect, businesses outside of vehicle manufacturing caught on to this trend. It became clear they could be used in a number of different ways. However, we weren’t quite ready for full-force adaptation yet. These were the days before smartphones, so there wasn’t a real need for QR codes amongst regular consumers. 

This changed in recent years. Today, the majority of people have some form of smart device. In addition, most people in the developed world have access to high-speed mobile internet. This makes it possible for QR codes to be useful in everyday life. Soon, the funeral industry realized there was a need for digital innovation within headstones. New companies developed to add these QR codes to new headstones, making it possible to link gravesites with the digital space. 

How Much Does It Cost to Get a QR Code for a Gravestone?

Next, what’s the cost of adding a QR code to a gravestone? While the cost depends on the company you choose to order your QR code and headstone through, it is generally between $75 and $150 for the inscription. Like any engraving on a headstone, the cost depends on the size and quality, as well as the material. 

With that in mind, there are other costs to consider. You will need to link your memorial code to something digitally. This is usually a webpage or online memorial. Hosting these websites isn’t typically free, though some online memorials might give you a free trial or let you create a basic page for free. You’ll need to include the cost of your memorial hosting when considering the overall QR code cost. This might be a one-time fee or an annual subscription.

What Companies Offer QR Codes for Gravestones?

There are a lot of different companies that offer QR codes for gravestones, but they might not be available locally. Though these are trending, they’re still not super common. If you only have a few headstone providers near you, it might be challenging to find one that offers QR code engravings. However, these online memorial providers all have this option. 

Quiring Monuments

The Quiring Monuments online store patented the Living Headstones memorial. This blends the tradition of granite headstones with an interactive digital memorial. Featured on NPR, USA Today, and ABC News, this is a popular choice. You can add a QR code and memorial website to any monument starting at $75. 

Legacy Marker

Another provider of QR codes on headstones is Legacy Marker. This works a bit differently than other options. Instead of engraving the QR code on the headstone directly, this is a printed plaque you can attach yourself to any surface. These are used to locate headstones, digital information, and memorial pages. 

Catholic Memorials

Next, Catholic Memorials makes it possible to purchase self-adhesive, laser-etched plates with 2D barcodes. These are designed for urns or headstones. They’re small enough to be subtle on any existing headstone, and they’re built to handle all weather. Starting at $40, this is an affordable option. 

LivingTag

Last but not least, you can design your own scannable LivingTag on Amazon. This is an outdoor, waterproof QR code for memorial tributes. Ideal for any type of grave marker, this is something that’s designed to last a long time. Each tag begins at $39, and it’s easy to make your own personal design. 

How to Set Up a QR Code for a Gravestone

Have you decided to create a QR code for a gravestone? Whether planning ahead for yourself or a loved one, it’s easy to begin this process. You don’t need any special skills or tech tools to begin. However, be sure to read each step carefully before you begin. 

Step 1. Plan your URL

The first step is to know what URL you want to share on your QR code. The code links to a specific website URL. You can’t link to multiple pages, though you can link to others within the same page. If you want to change this URL in the future, you’ll need to contact the creator of your QR code or create a new one. 

You can link to an online memorial, build your own website, or find a special social media page. It’s easy to make a free online memorial in seconds with Cake, but there are a lot of options to choose from. Once you’ve decided on the link you’d like to use, continue to the next step. 

Step 2. Design your code engraving

Next, choose your provider and design your code engraving. If you’re creating a code for a grave that already exists, it’s likely a better idea to design a plaque that you can apply to the existing stone. This is more cost-effective, and it’s also less time-consuming. 

Alternatively, if you’re designing a new headstone, you can use a provider like Quiring Monuments that engraves the QR code right on the stone. This is the most expensive choice, but it’s also the most durable. 

Step 3. Test your code

Before you receive your code, confirm that it works by testing it. You can scan the code on your phone’s camera. It should reveal a clickable link to your URL. From there, it should display properly. Make sure you have a mobile-optimized web page chosen so your code results in a seamless mobile experience. 

Step 4. Visit the grave

Last but not least, visit the grave in person to see your QR code. This can be a healing experience, and it’s something to share with family and friends. You can encourage others in your community to visit the grave themselves, collecting virtual guest book signatures through the QR code. 

Digital Transformation One Grave at a Time

Ultimately, the funeral industry is adapting to the digital age. While the practice of engraving headstones goes back hundreds of years, it’s time for an update. By adding QR codes to existing and new graves, we invent new ways to honor those we love. 

What type of legacy will you leave behind? In today’s world, this means thinking about your digital legacy just as much as your physical legacy. Our online presence is just as real as the world we see each day. 


Source:
  1. “Origin of QR Codes and Why They’re on the Rise.” The NYU Dispatch. NYU.edu

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