Once upon a time, UPC barcodes had to be pretty large for the barcode readers to work. That made the barcode roughly square. Some years ago newer standards came out and the barcodes were still the same width to maintain compatibility, but they could now be shorter, presumably because scanning technology had improved.
The combination of packaging that had space allocated for a tall barcode with the new reality that barcodes didn't have to be tall was an invitation to creativity, as evidenced by the barcode on the box of this Scout Pinewood Derby kit I noticed today:
I love it -- and the barcode is the only place on the box that the Scout emblem appears at all! Here it is closer up:
Has anyone seen this kind of artistically subverted but still functional barcode anywhere else?