The cannabis packaging process is made up of many disciplines which are required in order to successfully execute: strategic planning, marketing, research, psychology, art, industrial design, graphic design, logistics, engineering, production, manufacturing, distribution and retailing, just to name a few. Now more than ever, packaging has a huge opportunity to prove itself as a brand’s most valuable consumer touchpoint. This complexity means package design doesn’t happen in a blender. After all, every package is seen by 100 percent of a brand’s consumer. Therefore, the retail experience is in a constant state of evolution as brands and products are continually positioning themselves in new and innovative ways.
As cannabis cultures evolve, so does the visual language. As artists, we are creators and adopters of new aesthetic paradigms, shaping and molding human information.
Packaging is a process and science. Every step has its purpose and value. Companies assessing branding agencies look beyond creative talent, they seek designers with the actual ability to interpret human behavior and target consumers in a compelling, fresh and entertaining way. Next is a short story, giving you a bit of insight into the beginning of the modern era of packaging.
In 1858, New York had an extreme milk contamination problem from cows located too close to the city. Gale Borden was not concerned because his cows were well over 100 miles away. Borden Dairy’s canned condensed milk product could be shipped easily and kept fresh without refrigeration. Most importantly it was seen as safe. Borden was fast to see an opportunity and so positioned his product as clean and pure. Consumers came to trust his products, feeling they were much safer than fresh milk. Events like these caused consumer confidence to turn to packaged products for the reasons of trust and quality. The huge demand fueled innovation.
While this story only describes the early understanding of packaging and the advantage he had, it also helps you understand the simple idea of developing product packaging that helps influence consumers into buying your product over others. What is your brand promise? How is it different? What makes you unique? All great questions you should ask yourself when preparing to meet your branding agency for the first time. This phase is what I like to call ideating, a term used in our world to describe a brainstorming session among creatives. During the ideation session, a lot of questions are asked, for example, “What message will consumers receive from your brand?” Often, we like to include our clients in some of our ideation sessions. It’s helped our clients condition their creative thinking habits as well as allows them to understand our creative process. Part of strategic planning is R&D. Once we have had our initial consultation and at least one ideation session, we get out of the office and start talking to retailers, dispensaries, and budtenders everywhere!
In most cases, we get the information we need from our research and bring it back home. From there we have yet another ideation session amongst the entire
team and start devising a plan: our marketing strategy, preliminary illustrations and concepts, color palette options, textures, structural design concepts and the overall strategy for release. These things, of course, are just the beginning and happen over time. The perfect plan is never planned in one day.
Developing packaging takes time. You spent all that time planning your perfect outdoor light depth greenhouse, and now you want your packaging done in a week. Sorry, not gonna happen. Our packaging process can take a month or more to properly execute. We have delivered complete packaging solutions in less time,
but we don’t want to over-promise and under deliver. If you want a fighting chance on the retail battlefield, you need understand the graphic art of war.
At the end of the day, plan, plan, and plan some more. If you’d like help or have any questions about our process, feel free to ask.