Cannabis Couture: Is Luxury the Latest Trend in Marijuana Packaging?

Bloom Farms hand rolls, Lord Jones bath and body products, AYA nectar…that’s just the beginning of the growing list of luxury cannabis products on the market today. As cannabis becomes increasingly accepted and more widely available, noticeable trends naturally follow suit. And it seems that many consumers are asking themselves: “If I’m going to partake, why wouldn’t I want to elevate the experience to something luxe?”

Over half of U.S. states have legalized some form of marijuana, opening up opportunities for package designers to step in and create something cannabis consumers have never seen before. In 2016 alone, legal marijuana sales reached over $6.7 billion—and that number is expected to reach over $20 billion by 2021. And as the marketplace widens, luxury packaging is an obvious niche to see pop up.

“The cannabis industry has grown so significantly in the past few years that luxury brands within the cannabis market are quickly paving the way for new ideas in consumption,” explained Hannah Meadows, an author at the online resource Leafly. “Just twenty years ago, many people thought legalization was out of the question due to negative stigma. However, that’s all changed, and cannabis is now a marketable product that has the potential to span numerous brands and industries.” 

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Toast™, Kola Premium CannabisLord Jones, AYA

This does, however, set up a potential roadblock for companies or brands that want to be marketed as luxury but don’t have the quality product to warrant the higher price tag. “Just because you have ‘luxury packaging’ does not mean you have a luxury brand or product,” warned Gabrielle Rein, Creative Director at Toast™, a brand of elegant cannabis cigarettes. “If the overall consumer experience holds up the promise of luxury I think consumers will be very happy. Same with wine or champagne. How many beautiful and expensive bottles are consumers let down by?”

Jared Mirsky, Founder and CEO at OMD Agency, agrees. With the products and brands he’s helped design, the luxury factor is often more of the perception that’s created to generate a more likely sale. “The product that sells the most is generally the most quality at the most inexpensive price,” he explained. “It’s a very cost-conscious market at the moment.” Even with Hamptons Reserve, the most premium cannabis product from OMD’s portfolio, Jared made sure that the extravagant packaging remained cost-effective.

As brands and designers continue to try and strike the balance between luxury cannabis products and attainability, one thing is for certain: this could play a vital role in altering the way marijuana is perceived. “Cannabis still holds significant negative stigma for a lot of people in certain areas of the U.S. and the world. With education and the willingness of brands to reach different audiences, I believe cannabis will become just as normalized as alcohol—hopefully sooner rather than later,” confessed Hannah Meadows. “I think that the luxury trend contributes to the ‘falling away’ of this stigma. It’s bringing something that has been hiding in the shadows out to the public and showing it as a facet of someone’s lifestyle rather than a dirty little secret.”

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Incorporating luxury design into cannabis product packaging

When it comes to designing luxury in this market, almost anything goes. Unlike other industries, like beauty or liquor, no established code of luxury exists yet. “There is no paint by numbers code or element that can make a [cannabis] brand luxury,” Gabrielle Rein explained. Although this lack of guidelines may seem daunting, she suggested that designers should strive to stay true to the brand story—and in doing so, a luxury approach will feel more authentic.

From there, an elegant design could take any route, from simple, clean, and bold to something more detailed. When asked what trends she’s noticed recently, Hannah Meadows recalled examples of unique artwork. “I’ve seen gorgeous sketches, paintings, watercolors, and all manner of mixed media grace the packaging of some of my favorite brands and that really makes them stand out.”

And of course, while it feels like anything is possible, it’s still imperative that designers check the regulations for marijuana product packaging based on the location where these products will go to market. “Just as bottles of liquor need to showcase alcoholic content and cautions, cannabis packaging must contain the THC and CBD levels as well as warnings,” said Hannah Meadows. From a creative standpoint, that sounds a little stifling, but it’s not nearly as much of a hindrance as it might seem at first. She suggested, “As long as all labels are present, one can do a lot with colors and font to incorporate the needed information into the packaging design without having it look bulky or overwhelming.”

The bottom line, though: make it economical. “Products that tend to go the luxury route have a much harder time getting market penetration as well as sales. The cost to produce it and to assemble it [must be] so streamlined that it drives the cost down,” explained Jared Mirsky. If consumers can get roughly the same quality product for less, they will—so look for ways to drive production and packaging costs down without sacrificing the mission of the brand. Mirsky actually mentioned a company in Colorado printing on mylar bags. “I know mylar bags aren’t super sexy, but we can turn a crappy mylar bag into something pretty beautiful.”


Check out 10 of the best cannabis packaging designs.

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Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth with Something Healthy and All Natural

When we think of indulging, we normally picture candies, desserts, or other treats. But fruits have their own naturally-occurring sugars that are just as sweet. Scholz & Friends developed packaging to encourage kids and adults to eat healthier and indulge in the natural sweets that Mother Earth provides.


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BACKGROUND

“Unfortunately, many children and adults don’t like eating fruits. This often results in serious health issues, ranging from vitamin deficiency to serious diseases and obesity. Instead of eating healthy little snacks, children prefer industrially produced candy. Mainly because these appear more attractive wrapped up in shiny, colorful and eye-catching materials.”

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THE IDEA

“In order to inspire children and adults to eat more fruits, ‘Von und zu Tisch’ Berlin gives fruits a new candy like look. Organic and cleaned fruits like figs, apples, oranges, kais and plums are wrapped in fun candy paper and therefore become Natural Sweets.”

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THE EXECUTION

“The outer surface of Natural Sweets wrapping paper is designed to resemble the fruit inside and at the same time attract more attention in a way foods for children are normally designed. On the reverse side of the paper children find useful information about the healthy characteristics of the fruits. An additional positive side effect: by using organic paper the fruits stay fresh and crispy much longer. Ready to eat.”

 


Designed by: Scholz & Friends

Creative Direction: Olivier Nowak

Idea/Concept: Patrick Pichler

Art Direction: Patrick Pichler, Ralf Schroeder

Illustration: Patrick Pichler

Country: Germany

City: Berlin

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Convenient Baby Food Baskets to Help Parents Easily Make Healthy Choices

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These packs of baby food are too adorable! Kane O’Flaherty designed the packaging and illustrations to give parents an easy pick for healthy foods, with a bit of Mediterranean inspiration.

“Launched in 2016, PiCCOLO is the UK’s fastest growing baby food company that believes that introducing a pinch of Mediterranean goodness helps develop your little Piccolo’s taste buds from when it matters most.”


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“Piccolo is now making healthy choices easier when weaning with new multipack fruit and fruit & veg baskets.”

Co-founder, and in-house Creative Director, Kane O’Flaherty says “We always adopt a challenger way of thinking in all that we do. PiCCOLO needed a single minded visual that cut through the clutter of the overcrowded baby food market enabling layers of depth.”

“Taking advantage of the overused solid colours and dated food photography within the market PiCCOLO came to own pattern on shelf. A pattern format that is diverse enough to highlight the ingredients, heighten the pouch flavour yet still retain consistency within the range on shelf. Simplistic watercolour shapes using a colour palette that is warm, fresh, inviting and reminiscent of the Med combined with Illustration created a point of parity stemming away from competitor brands. The combination of watercolour with doodles cleverly balances the premium nature of the product with the playful factor of the category. ‘Hand-crafted elements inject a level of authenticity that allows the brand to feel more individual.’”

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“PiCCOLO is a brand that speaks to parents. The language used on pack creates a new narrative by injecting a taste story, a tone of voice that resonates with the target audience (the parents) with a recipe dialogue style format. Achieving balance between parents and baby keeping it playful yet direct.”

“So PiCCOLO has done the hard work for busy mums by launching a variety basket of recipes crammed full of delicious fruit and veg. By adding practicality to the structure and in turn creating stand out appeal, PiCCOLO are bringing innovation to the category and taking packaging within baby food to new exciting heights.”

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Designed by: Kane O’Flaherty

Illustrator: Kane O’Flaherty

Country: United Kingdom

City: London

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This Vivid Tea Packaging is Sure to Turn Heads

Tea time doesn’t have to be stuffy. Smith&+Village redesigned Booths tea range to give it a bold color palette and strong identity that are elegant yet modern.

“Creative and strategic branding partnership Smith&+Village has redesigned Booths’ range of teas, calling on the retailer’s origins as a tea importer in 1847.”

“The strategy devised for Booths’ own label by Smith&+Village comes into play on the new packaging, with a concentration of the brand achieved using a very limited, but unique colour palette of creative elements.”

“The bold and eye catching packaging features a strong and simple mix of typography, colour and a unique Booths twist. There are no photos or confusing category language.”

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The jewel in the retailer’s crown

“Today tea is still graded and packed on the premises in Preston, so the range is fundamental to the business.”

Debrah Smith, Creative Director, Smith&+Village, says: “The tea range totally embodies Booths as a business. The jewel-coloured boxes of the different tea varieties sit together as a strong family and have real presence on shelf amongst the brands. The piece-de-resistance is the packaging for the strong afternoon tea bags, which we called Builders’ Tea, because after all, that’s what we all call our favourite brew.”

“The strategy for the brand and the design reflect Booth’s premium and heritage positioning, while making it relevant for the modern consumer.”

Richard Village, Director, Smith&+Village, adds: “Booths’ own label branding communicates the quality of the products. The new, simple, consistent and monolithic look we devised boosted customer recognition by reflecting the values of the retail brand, as well as its reputation for high quality.”

“A range of loose leaf teas is set to hit the high-end supermarket’s shelves later this summer.”

 


Designed by: Smith&+Village

Country: United Kingdom

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Exquisite Sicilian Olive Oil with the Packaging to Match

Italy is known for a lot of things—pasta, wine, and of course, olive oil. Alivu is a limited edition oil made in a sustainable way in the western part of Sicily. Designed by solid studio, it’s a downright gorgeous line of olive oil that really gives consumers a sense of just how special it is.


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“Excellent Sicilian olive oil, made with indigenous raw materials, in the respect of the eco-sustainable production. Oil solely made by the monoculture of Biancolilla olives, a type of superior olives that are only found in soils in the west of Sicily and particularly appreciated in haute cuisine which bring a lot of beneficial properties for the health thanks to the higher percentage of linoleic acid. Produced in limited edition. Solid studio has worked on naming, brand identity, packaging and editorial design.”

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Naming: “alivu”

oil / olive / ulivo

“The sound remembers the world the product belongs to, namely the olive trees.”

land / sicily / dialect

“A term that refers to the land of belonging certifying the origin, which suggests to Sicily, without naming it.”


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life / alive

“A positive concept, a single value as the product it represents. A live oil, strong character, radiating vitality.”

Sign: “Concentric circles”

amphitheater

“The stylization of the layout of the greek amphitheater in Eraclea Minoa.”

Olive: secular tree

“The stylization of the olive cut section in which the different circles symbolize the age of a secular tree.”

 


Designed by: solid studio

Country: Italy

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Abstract, Colorful Patterns make this Cosmetics Line Edgy & Modern

The packaging for Pari Satiss truly pops, stepping forward from the lineup of other cosmetic products in the European market. Designed by Fabula Branding, the nature-inspired elements highlight the natural and wholesome ingredients included, like avocado and lavender.


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“Fabula Branding has developed a logo and a package design for natural and exclusive cosmetics line by exclusive Pari Satiss from BeOrganic.by. A stylish abstract pattern, a clear and concise brand-zone, Latin for name build-up, development of the high-end status and the USP (unique selling proposition)—all these elements work to create an image of a modern European product. The natural and plant-like background emphasize the organic nature of the ingredients. The dots and drops in the logo create additional associations with oils and floral waters. The original colors (bright, contrasting, yet harmonious and complementary of each other) attract attention, neatly highlight the product on the shelf and emphasize its exclusivity.”

 


Designed by: Fabula Branding

Country: Belarus

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Seabrook and Robot Food Fresh Rebrand Bring Bags of Flavor

Seabrook and Robot Food collaborate to rebrand this fun chip line. The rebrand brings bold colorful shapes that are reflect the stripes in their crinkle cut chips.

Seabrook has an enviable heritage, holding cult status to legions of loyal fans. In an overcrowded, hyper-mature crisp category, it was time to stand out rather than blend in. The challenge was set to improve sales by increasing penetration both inside and outside their consumer heartland and build brand value in a category driven by price and promotion. 

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Seabrook is an everyday crisp with a no-nonsense personality, devoted to big, moreish flavour. Inventors of the crinkle-cut and the first crisp manufacturer to use sunflower oil, the Bradford brand are pioneers of flavour delivery in their field and a challenger at heart. Seabrook’s inherent urge to disrupt made Robot Food the perfect partner to strategically reposition the brand and lead redesigns of the Crinkle, Lattice and Straight Cut ranges – putting them back in the fight against the corporate Goliaths. 

Robot Food worked closely with Seabrook to pinpoint the brand’s unique place in the world. Through strategic insight, provocation and a collaborative brand workshop, the team was able to define a distinct personality for the brand, one that held true to its heritage but gave it the confidence to dare to be different. 

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Clarity on strategy equals clarity on design, and Robot Food were able to strip the brand down to its core assets and rebuild it. The new brand mark is a striking evolution that stays true to Seabrook’s distinctive heritage as a key asset. Prouder and clearer, it’s the nucleus of a solid brand architecture and changes colour according to flavour, defying the expectation of corporate repetition and reinforcing Seabrook’s confident ‘challenger’ status in a playful way.  

The core range redesign features thick stripes of variant-appropriate colours, undulating for Crinkles and straight-edged for Straight Cut. The designs shout loud against a fresh white background, a key Seabrook brand equity. For the more premium Lattice range, Robot Food chose a rich blue backdrop and a premium foil substrate to give each flavour’s accent colour extra standout. The team also created the proud and punchy new tone of voice, including the ‘Bags of flavour made with pride’ strapline and the ‘Saviours of flavour’ brand story, which subtly nods to their northern roots. 

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The new designs have been proven to cut down recognition time for existing consumers as well as being more compelling for non-purchasers. With Seabrook’s swagger back in full swing, Robot Food continue in their role as brand guardians, developing a new comms campaign and exciting NPD strategy that’s full of flavour – watch this space. 

The new branding is set to launch this month in stores across the UK. 

Kevin Butterworth, Marketing and International Sales Director, said,
“Bold flavour and authenticity are key cornerstones of our brand that Robot Food has captured and reinforced in a unique and distinctive design. The outstanding results build on strong brand pride and are sure to grab the attention of both new and existing customers. It’s a great change for Seabrook Crisps and one that we’re extremely proud of.” 

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Martin Widdowfield, Design Director of Robot Food, said,
“We smashed category rules to give Seabrook a much braver, more disruptive attitude. No more clutter, just big bold ‘look at me’ branding. Seabrook is now more relevant, without being mainstream in approach.”


Designed by: Robot Food
Location: United Kingdom

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