Brainstorm how-to: the wall of ideas

Updated: May 13, 2019

Why Cannabis Packaging Design Matters



Throw a pot-leaf on some tie–dye and you’ve nailed the stereotypical stoner image. It’s been the hallmark trademark of the cannabis-pot-weed-marijuana market for decades. Cannabis packaging had a similar reputation, with cannabis products usually distributed in clear plastic bags with very little information, branding or style. Even the word “marijuana” has negative connotations – in fact, those in the industry itself prefer to use the plant name “cannabis” over the word marijuana, due to negative stereotypes established about “marijuana” in the 1970’s during the Nixon era. For many years, the cannabis industry was restricted from creating a legal market, and so, limited to the black market, cannabis had very little room to grow, let alone grow in a professional manner.

However, that’s all about to change.


State by state, legal cannabis markets are emerging, both recreation and medical, and with products ranging from health and medications to edibles, and body products and beauty supplies. With the rapid growth of this new industry, the way people perceive and approach cannabis is drastically evolving.



In fact, over 50% of people in the United States are now in favor of cannabis legalization, which means the landscape for legal cannabis is just getting started. Companies looking to enter the industry will need to find ways to differentiate themselves and reach target demographics – and that, in part, relies on great branding and an understanding of how to market in an industry that’s changing rapidly. Product packaging design is a key element in that marketing strategy, and can make the difference in the success – or not- of a product.


What every cannabis company needs to know when it comes to selecting cannabis packaging design for their business.



People are Visual by Nature

Did you know 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and that visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text? People are drawn to products that are visually appealing.


When an interesting and eye-catching design is placed on a product, it’s bound to attract the attention of more customers than a product with a poor design. However, the question often becomes, how do you know what’s the best choice for your company, especially a cannabis company? Do you opt for something bold and striking or subtle and simple?


While there are many factors that will need to be taken into consideration, one of the first things any business should consider when designing a product is color. After all, color selection speaks volumes:


Green – associated with health, tranquility, power, and nature.

Blue – associated with peace, water, tranquility, and reliability.

Purple – associated with royalty, wisdom, and respect.

Black – associated with authority, power, stability, and strength.

Yellow – associated with joy, happiness, intellect, and energy.

Red – associated with love and intensity.

Although green trends to be the most popular color choice for cannabis companies, there are countless options to select from. Take some time to consider the personality of your brand and company. What feeling or message do you want to convey? By asking questions in addition to researching your target market, finding the ideal color for your marijuana product packaging can be a breeze.


Packaging is a Reflection of your Brand Identity and your Values

Want to leave a great impression? Make packaging design a priority for your cannabis company. Design reflects the values, creativity, and personality of a company. A thoughtful design can set the tone for successful long-term relationships, while a poor design can send the wrong impression. However, a design must not only be visually appealing, it must also be functional, which is why high-quality packaging always keeps the end-consumer in mind. Products offering style and functionality are ideal in a consumer’s eyes – after all, there’s nothing quite like viewing and holding a product in person.


It’s important to note though that what is appropriate packaging for one product may not necessarily be the case for another product, even within the same industry, and this is certainly true within the cannabis industry. For example, the packaging for a glass pipe would be vastly different than packaging for a cannabis cookbook.


Cannabis Markets are Unique

What’s one crucial thing you need to know before entering the legal cannabis industry? The market is huge. Some predict that sales could hit well over $6 billion in 2018 alone. And while many associate the marijuana industry with dispensary shops, there’s so much more to this dynamic industry than physical storefronts alone.

Curious what the cannabis industry looks like at a glance?


Here’s a look at common careers in cannabis: