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I've added a BezierCurve, and beveled it with a square curve. The ends are square as expected, but the shading makes it look like a pipe (beveled with a circle). I would expect a shading more like the cube I've added for comparison. enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ please provide your blend file $\endgroup$ – Chris May 5 at 18:39
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Use the edge split modifier, as shown here: enter image description here

Alternatively,convert to a mesh, then check the "auto smooth" box in the object data properties panel. This should preserve the sharp edges in shading

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ Excellent. Thank you! $\endgroup$ – MattMan May 5 at 17:53
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    $\begingroup$ Great answer :) Just a tip ... Would be even more awesome if your screens proportion (scale) fits to web page width. Like now the first is too small to read properties editor and second one is oversized and has to be scroll to see end. $\endgroup$ – vklidu May 5 at 19:12
  • $\begingroup$ @vklidu: The questionable blessings of having a 4k and an HD monitor... $\endgroup$ – haarigertroll May 5 at 20:43
  • $\begingroup$ I'm working on 5K ... that is not the point :) $\endgroup$ – vklidu May 5 at 22:16
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Because by default is spline set under
Properties Editor > Data Properties > Active Spline as Smooth

When Smooth unchecked, curve become shaded Flat, which means flat also in curvature.

enter image description here

To make it smoother you can increase Resolution U (segment subdivisions)

enter image description here

But in some cases it would be still segmented ... so Edge Split modifier seems to be better choise anyway :)

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Just for completeness, for a square profile, you don't need a profile object; this 3D curve has been given a native bevel at minimum resolution, all vertices tilted to 45 degrees...

enter image description here

And a curve can be given a Bevel Modifier to stand in the way of smooth shading interpolation over sharp corners: here, 2 segments with a profile shape of 1.

And the bevel is adjustable, if you do use a profile object:

enter image description here

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