Design Tips You Need For Cannabis And CBD Packaging
Time to read 10 min
Time to read 10 min
Finding the right design tips for Cannabis and CBD packaging is critical to do during your initial design phase. Whether you're launching a new product, and refreshing your brand, taking a survey of the current trends, innovations, and possibilities is a great idea.
36 states allow some form of cannabis and CBD sales, whether with a prescription, card, or simply a state ID. And it’s only going to increase with each year!
Now, your packaging is just as important as your Cannabis. If you don’t choose the right design, you won’t reach your target customer.
Keep reading to learn about the best trends, latest marketing innovations, and ways to target your customers.
Table Of Contents
Creating high-quality packaging plays a huge role in catching a customer’s attention, and getting them to choose yours over someone else's.
Creating a brand with a unified look, but a variety of products with a variety of designs is a great way to start building that brand identity. And getting customers to remember your brand the next time they go to purchase.
Everything from the font you choose, to the colors, and even the overall shape of the packaging will help to create your positioning in the market.
You want to accomplish two things. First you want to appear to have a high-quality product, and second you want to build trust directly with the customer.
ou need to balance your design with information. Clear legal information as mandated by your state, and brand information. This can be your story, or even your production process.
You need to accomplish all of that, while still making an appealing design. So how do you do that?
The medical marijuana side of the business has a bigger burden to include regulatory information on their packaging, but every package still has label requirements.
This is the information you would likely already include. Manufacturing and expiration dates, the business name and location, all ingredients, and the net content weight.
Looking to refresh your look? Try Digital Printing to iterate on new prototypes!
Resource: Cannabis Labelling Regulations
When you are choosing your packaging materials, you need to take a number of things into consideration. It needs to accomplish a number of legal requirements, but also help position your brand in the marketplace.
Consider these 5 legal requirements:
This type of product is typically not a single-use design. It’s in a bag, a bottle, or some variation, and it is open and closed multiple times.
Or it’s given to customers in a large ziplock bag that accomplishes this. Make sure your packaging design takes a “proper seal” into account.
Due to the Poison Prevention Packaging Act, all packaging in this category must be child-resistant. That means a pop-top on bottles, or a ziplock design that opens in a particular way.
Just like the proper seals, it’s of critical importance to create a design that makes it clear whether someone has tampered with the product. This can be a seal, a sticker lock, something that makes it immediately evident that the product should not be sold.
Depending on your product, you may need to choose a certain type of packaging that is more sturdy. This can be cardboard, solid board, glass, or plastic. Make sure to choose one that also fits in with your overall brand.
Every state has their own laws for Cannabis and CBD that is consumable in various forms. The packaging may need to be opaque, or follow a certain regulation. Make sure your design requirements are gathered up front.
Every year a new trend catches on in the industry. Sometimes it’s worth jumping in with a new product to capitalize on the attention the trend is getting, other times it’s better to create a unique look.
The most important thing to do is have a designer who pays attention to the trends. That way you’re always making an informed decision.
Here are a few of the trends that have taken hold long term in the industry.
I know. The Marijuana Leaf itself can quickly become a cliche design choice, but when done creatively it can inspire a number of moods in the customer.
Classic - Natural - Retro - Youthful - Sleek - Modern
The Cannabis Leaf is so recognizable in the marketplace, so it’s worth considering some design that incorporates it in a bold and unique way.
Next think about how so many customers have moved to a more sustainable and environmentally positive direction. They want recyclable packaging, less materials, and to choose something that is harming the environment less.
Keywords like organic, raw, sustainable, stick-out to these customers.
3 out of 4 Millennials and the majority of Gen Z have stated they would pay more for a sustainable packaging choice.
That means you need to choose a design that gets the idea across in their minds. That could be a muted color palette, less ink, or a design itself that feels more like “the farm”.
The first opening in the market was the health benefits of Cannabis products. More on the specifics later, but consider the market for these customers.
Emphasizing the elements that reinforce these key health benefits, and staying in line with all legal requirements, is a great way to reach this market.
This could be medical icons, callouts to specific health issues, and more.
Lastly, the other overall design trend you can carve a niche with is a very minimal design. One that doesn’t use much to leap out. When it’s on the shelf next to an overly shiny design, it will draw in your target demographic.
This design can be extremely simple, sleek, modern, and even only use a single color approach.
Next let’s think about who we want to target. Your product and your packaging’s goal is to find it’s target customer market, and solve a specific issue. Are they looking for a certain flavor profile?
What are their biggest pain points?
Consider these 3 customer profiles:
First the customer who wants the finer things in life. They’re coming to Cannabis for a high-class experience, not just a cheap product. So your packaging needs to speak to them.
Elevating the look of your product with the right design is key to catching their attention. You want to be perceived as more exclusive, premium, or focus on strength.
Think about their apartment or home, what packaging would ‘fit in’ with that environment?
Your focus should be on the ingredients themselves. You want to communicate that your product is packaged with quality. This is the kind of quality they won’t get with another brand.
Finding a way to activate their senses can be a number of things. A unique color choice, packaging with a texture that enhances handling, or even a window to see the product inside.
This kind of customer isn’t looking for “average” Cannabis, so that means you want to remove any potential stereotypes in the market. This packaging design needs to get across the flavor profile more like top shelf liquor.
Next, the younger audience. They are drawn to authentic brands over all other things. The average person sees 4,000-10,000 marketing messages a day, and the effective wanes with each view.
This can be a trendy design, a very unique shape, something that makes your brand standout on the shelf. They prefer to find a brand that fits in with their lifestyle.
This can be a minimal design with a more rustic approach that fits in with the farmers market. Or it can be a modern art piece. Something that sticks out without being tacky.
As mentioned earlier, this generation is focused on environmentally conscious products. They want your product, but they want to reduce their carbon footprint as much as possible. Try using alternatives to plastic, and even find a plant-based packaging material.
Finally scarcity works. Creating one-off collections rather than an ongoing style will catch their attention every time they visit the dispensary. And the dispensaries will love you for making their product refresh be an event.
Finally, consider the customer who’s looking for medical assistance in their Cannabis or CBD products.
Two-thirds of medicinal users define chronic pain as the main reason for their usage. What can your design do to communicate with them?
Callout product benefits with clear icons that speak to the key pains they deal with. Or create a product for each main pain point.
Even some CBD users are coming to the product for reduction in anxiety. That means a frenetic design won’t work here. This isn’t an energetic customer, but one who wants to chill.
Not to mention CBD doesn’t contain THC, so the market should be treated differently. These are customers who are looking for a therapeutic product.
One of the best ways to make a mark at a dispensary is to invest in real estate away from the other products.
By creating a branded display you can make an impact on your sales.
Here’s a blog of the different types of displays.
At Bennett, we offer a variety of printing methods, but we are Digital Printing specialists. That’s because we were one of the first manufacturers to invest in Digital, and that’s put us ahead of the learning curve.
Check out the three main printing methods below:
Digital is the best choice for ultimate customization, creating multiple designs, and getting to market faster than your competition. No printing plates, which means no tooling costs, and no waiting for the plates to be created.
The Flexo process applies colors to your packaging one-color at a time. This won’t produce high quality images, but it is the most commonly used printing style. There are tooling costs, and production lead time though.
Finally, Litho involves printing a design directly onto the corrugated substrate. This produces a sleek image and is great for a premium look. The downsides are the tooling costs, production lead time, lack of customization, and the large material waste.
Need help choosing which printing method is best for you?
Related: Printing Coating Options
Digital production allows you to create short-run designs for all of your SKUs, not just a signal design / look. Or quickly create alternate designs for test marketing.
Have a new product and need to get to market fast? Digital cuts down all the production time to an INSANE degree! Change your designs on the fly, it’s as easy as emailing a file.
A single pass direct-to-corrugate process is a complete game changer. This cuts down on production time, and potential production problems.
No more one-size-fits-all designs. Print as many marketing variations as your team can create. Every season, SKU, sale, or promotion deserves a unique look.
True-production proofs that reflect final product quality with 100% accuracy.
Talk directly to your customers with unique printing created specifically for them. This has never even been possible until Digital!
Cut your packaging waste down immensely. Use digital inks that are better for the environment. Your new packaging will be more recyclable than your previous design.
No print variance. Every print that comes off the production line is the same as the last. Accurate and repeatable.
How many innovations have entered the market in the last 5 years? What if you started using QR codes, or other ideas, in your packaging?
Get rid of the additional cost and time of labels for your different product SKUs. Simply incorporate your information into the design.
Easily expand production when there is an increase in market demand. Slow down and regroup when the demand slumps. Test out new designs. You can’t do that with Litho.
No creating printing plates, no artwork changeover time, no issues just printing.
Remember, your packaging is the very first interaction your customer has with your product. You need to bring as much creativity to the design and marketing to your product to position your brand in the marketplace.
Whether you’re targeting medicinal users, luxury customers, or millennials looking to relax, ensure you develop a design that targets them directly.
Your ultimate goal is to build trust with your customer, promise a high-quality product, and make something that they will come back for.
And don’t be afraid to prototype and test the market!
Related: 5 Benefits Of Packaging Manufacturers.
Bennett is a premier packaging and retail displays manufacturing company striving to protect and promote our clients' products with customized corrugated solutions. When you work with us, you’re part of the family. We will partner with you every step of the way.
With our fully-integrated design-to-delivery process, we can be the single supplier source. We are an award-winning manufacturer of virtually anything corrugate. We offer everything from plain brown shipping boxes to sophisticated, high-graphic printed point-of-purchase displays, and everything in between.