One of the most fascinating aspects about marijuana packaging is that it’s a junction for many different fields and modes of thought. The more creative aspects of cannabis product development are now being widely researched and documented with the support of science. New developments are pushing cannabis technology forward, while innovating packaging designs are presenting these scientific advancements in attractive ways.

In a word, the cannabis industry is an ideal setting for the unification of art and science. In no other industry do we see such a pronounced harmony between left- and right- brain activity than in the cannabis sector. Specifically, marijuana packaging trends are showcasing this beautiful union more than ever. Interested in learning how it’s done? Keep reading to find out.

Integrate Science into Your Marijuana Packaging

In a previous blog installment, we talked about the importance of compliance when it comes to cannabis packaging. This is the very first step toward creating a lasting cannabis brand that won’t be pulled from dispensary shelves. Once you ensure that your marijuana product will be compliant, you’ll want to focus on the scientific research associated with your cannabis product.

Your marijuana packaging design should include important scientific information about the product such as:

  • THC and CBD levels
  • Terpene content
  • Testing results (especially for mold, pesticides, and other toxic substances)
  • Growery data, such as grow location and other relevant info

Specifically, you should also mention any new innovative techniques that were incorporated into your product. Did you use a special type of grow light? Does your concentrate use a new form of distillation? Let that be known!

Incorporate any other scientific/research data that you think is pertinent to your product. In particular, placing testing results is not only mandatory, but is a specific item that many educated cannabis consumers look for.

In our team field trip to PharmLabs’ testing facility, we learned that not only do cannabis growers and producers bring their products to labs for testing, but consumers do too, and quite frequently. What does this mean? This means that your consumers are highly interested in the science behind your product, and are even willing to spend money on testing to ensure their products are pure.

Flesh out the Science with Unique Marijuana Packaging Art

Once you have the foundation of compliance and science, you’ll want to flesh out your branding even more using well-designed marijuana packaging artwork. This is where you really get to capture your brand’s unique mission statement and present it in an absolutely memorable way. This is what will set your product apart from the rest to generate brand loyalty and create repeat buyers.

Want to emphasize the medical or clinical aspects of your brand? Use the packaging art to convey that with cleaner designs that utilize lots of open white space. Want to emphasize a recreational lifestyle? Use different fonts and images that reflect your target audience’s lifestyle. Some successful themes we’ve seen for lifestyle-relevant cannabis products include surf themes, outdoor/hiking themes, and themes that appeal to festival-goers.

The choice is up to you! First define your target buyer persona, then let your artwork speak directly to them.

Tip: Make sure important information isn’t contained on a sticker or other label that can be ripped off. We’ve heard complaints of people not being able to access information that was printed on a seal. Once that seal is broken and discarded, you can’t access that info anymore.

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Marijuana Packaging Trends

Cannabis consumers are some of the most sophisticated, self-educated buyers out there. They take note of what’s old and what’s new, what’s relevant and what’s not, and so should cannabis businesses. Some marijuana packaging design trends we’ve observed include:

Experience over Strain

While strain information is valuable, many cannabis innovators are now focusing on the overall experience you get, rather than strains and lineages. More products are incorporating moods and feelings, like “sleepy”, “relaxed”, “happy” or “creative”. These are the end results consumers are looking for anyway. And for novice users, it gives a roadmap of what to expect from the product.

Tip: Think of it exactly like playlists — try to describe the overall ambience and mood. No one really says, “man, I feel like Blue Dream right now.” But, people do take note of when they feel creative or relaxed.

Integrate Local Hype and Leverage Geographic Location

Many cannabis brands, especially retail and clothing brands, utilize markers that are linked to a specific hyperlocal geographic area or territory. To illustrate, many Bay Area brands incorporate local phone area codes like “510” or “415” into their cannabis packaging designs. Buyers in the know about these codes can then immediately associate that cannabis brand with the Bay Area lifestyle, complete with its idiosyncrasies in art, fashion, music, and cannabis selections. Another example is with brands that use words and images like “Emerald”, which reminds consumers of the Emerald Triangle, one of the most fertile, productive regions in the U.S. that historically produced some of the best marijuana.

Sativa/Hybrid/Indica Dominance

While this way of understanding cannabis is purportedly on its way out (many are favoring the more accurate terpene profiling), it can still be a valuable way to present products. Both newer and older consumers will be familiar with this terminology, and it is still a great way to segment your products. Most dispensary shelves are organized in this way; it may be a lot easier to continue adopting this framework instead of re-inventing the wheel.

Work with Marijuana Packaging Professionals

All in all, good packaging will have a hierarchy that goes: Compliance → Scientific information → Artistic expression. As you build out your unique marijuana packaging approach, hitting these three main points will ensure that your product is distinctive and properly fitted for the long run.

Marijuana packaging needs to be well-thought out and strategized in order to work properly. Do you need assistance with your cannabis packaging, branding, and overall marketing strategy needs? Contact us now and get started on your own customized packaging campaign.

A special “Thank You” to Ben Weiss, Esq. for graciously providing research materials for this blog post.