Barcodes grace almost every product for sale. Given how much package real estate they command, why shouldn't they look cool?
Since 2005, D-Barcode has been creating custom barcodes for a mostly Japanese clientele. They've even begun selling their wares to anyone who wants to license them, starting at $1,500 for the design, and $200 a year for licensing. A custom or exclusive use code will run upwards of $4,000--but given that companies spend millions on designing a single package, why don't we see more detailed thinking like this? Middle managers spend weeks arguing about kerning--it'd be better if they spent more time rethinking every inch of such highly prized real estate.