Weed is now legal in Canada (from licensed retailers). On October 17th 2018, Canada was set ablaze with excited cannabis consumers and companies (and cannabis design studios). Ontario is home to a handful of hopeful Cannabis companies, who prior to legalization were hitting the pavement hard in an effort to gain the countries trust before even getting to market. Here is a case study from one of the cannabis design studio projects I’ve taken on prior to legalization and I look forward to continuing work in this new industry.
One of those retailers is Tokyo Smoke, recently acquired by Canopy Growth Corporation. Who, in preparation for opening a brand new store in Winnipeg, needed to train new staff with new product and new rules. Sales representatives have to be knowledgable not only about the product but in addition, how to consume cannabis in a safe and healthy way. Tasked with educating the public about the ins and outs of cannabis consumption in Canada, the design team put special care into this staff training manual.
In light of the OCS (the Ontario Cannabis Store) logo debacle – read more about that here. Cannabis design studios, and design for cannabis products, is a topic that strikes a conversation. Cannabis culture consumers feel passionately about how their products should look and be designed. There’s a long visual history of canna-culture and it’s unsurprising some consumers are underwhelmed by corporate cannabis’s clean white minimalism. In tandem with strict government regulation on both the advertising, presentation and the packaging design, designing for cannabis companies presents unique challenges.
The challenge for cannabis design studios to solve will be developing good cannabis design, is to be authentic to existing cannabis enthusiasts without alienating potential new consumers. Striking that balance is what will make some cannabis marketing and design stand out and generate the long term brand loyalty that they’re competing for.