First vanity license plates; now vanity barcodes. In the U.S., Vanity Barcodes has turned the ubiquitous and boring UPC codes into decorative elements. They have a number of barcode designs in stock or will customize one to your preference.
The idea of disguising this inventory management device into something else is believed to have originated in Japan with Design Barcode in 2004. The agency made the barcodes an integral part of the packaging design, tying it into the brand or cleverly building the stripes and digits into a line drawn picture. A caution: every manipulated barcode has to be thoroughly tested to make sure it gives accurate readings when passed through a retail scanner.
We’re working on a product/package design right now that I think we’ll try to incorporate one of these “more engaging” barcodes on… (thanks to Delphine Hirasuna of @issue for the image and links).