The Challenges of Making Cannabis Packaging Appealing

Aug 11, 2021 | Cannabis Products

Packaging designers love the challenge of making their products stand out. But making cannabis packaging appealing is faced with challenges unique to the industry.

In the world of cannabis, labeling and packaging must meet compliance standards to ensure that cannabis products don’t end up in the hands of minors. Or on the black market.

And with laws varying from state to state and differing between flower, vaporizer, edible, and concentrate products, the whole scene can get pretty dicey.

The Early Days of Making Cannabis Packaging Appealing

Actually, in the nascent days of cannabis packaging, the compliance laws looked at cannabis as they would any other prescription drug. As a result, many cannabis provisioning centers used cylindrical pill bottles such as one would find in a pharmacy. The biggest difference is they were green instead of orange.

Not terribly appealing. Except that they were…

Transparent orange bottles were the result of the Poison Prevention Packaging Act in 1970 and worked okay for prescription pills. But when it came to using green transparent bottles for cannabis, children were drawn to them and curious about what was inside – since it didn’t look like anything they knew.

So states adopted regulations that required provisioning centers to put cannabis purchases in opaque and child-resistant containers. The problem was, consumers just removed the product once they got home and put it in something more accessible.

These days, designers for cannabis packing are constantly having to re-strategize. And they’re finding ways to redesign their packaging that makes the product attractive, while meeting strict regulatory needs.

What Packaging Designers Are Doing

They’re definitely rising to the occasion.

For instance, some cannabis flower cultivators are experimenting with new materials such as customized opaque glass, wood, or metal. This enables them to distinguish their product from others while offering ideal moisture and lighting conditions.

Those designing packaging for concentrates have turned to custom-molded, childproof containers that are similar to those found in the cosmetic industry. These are ideal for products like crumble, wax, shatter, and hash.

And when it comes to designing packaging for edibles, the laws are especially stringent. Along with avoiding colorful packaging or anything that might smack of a cartoon, the language is changing too. In fact, the word “gummy” is now replaced with the word “chewable”. And it’s not enough to say “chocolate” anymore if it contains THC. It has to be “marihuana chocolate.” All in an effort to minimize the risk of accidental ingestion.

Approaches to Be Appealing AND Compliant

As designers continue to face the challenges of making cannabis packaging appealing, they follow certain best practices:

1. Be Transparent

Next time you’re in a provisioning center, take a look at how many packages now showcase items such as ingredients or other regulatory content front and center rather than on a side panel somewhere.

Not only does this draw attention and differentiate companies from other brands, but it build trusts through transparency.

2. Highlight What Is Unique

Consumers might be more drawn to packaging that’s recycled. Or they may be looking for sugar free or GMO free edibles. Designers are taking advantage of highlighting what makes their product special by prominently displaying a brand’s value propositions.

3. Use Color Mindfully

While bright colors draw the eye, cannabis packaging designers have to be careful to not create designs that will be appealing to children. This is not to say they are relegated to dark colors, however.

Designers have found ways to take advantage of the psychology of color. For example, green denotes nature, yellow promotes cheerfulness, and blue is connected with health. These colors can be used skillfully to elicit feelings without looking cartoonish. 

4. Avoid False Claims

Nothing will get packaging revoked faster than claiming a product has therapeutic results or that it cures medical conditions. Designers have gotten very creative with using call-outs that emphasize a product’s key benefits and ingredients without making false claims. For example, “CBD with energizing ginseng.”

5. Educate the Consumer

The cannabis industry is still in its relative infancy. As such, consumers are confused. There are those who don’t understand the difference between THC and CBD. Or they’re unsure whether they should vape or use flower. Labels that are designed with clear and conversational language are more inviting to these consumers.

6. Emphasize Quality

Consumers want assurance that the product they’re buying is safe. And since cannabis is still federally illegal, the FDA isn’t involved in testing. So if, for example, a product has cannabis sourced from a revolutionary grow house that meets the highest standards of rigorous testing in the industry, that should be advertised. Designers are increasingly adding QR codes or testing badges label as proof of the results of this sort of extensive testing.

7. Review Design With a Lawyer

This may as well be in the #1 position. Because even if designers have met all of the requirements and designed packaging that truly stands out, there could still be underlying compliance issues. As such, smart designers employ the services of an attorney who knows the ins and outs of state and federal regulations where cannabis is concerned.

Discovering compliancy issues AFTER the printing is complete is an unwelcome and very costly problem.

Looking for Premium Cannabis?

Making cannabis packaging appealing is without a doubt a serious challenge. And with the rules and laws constantly in flux, designers have to be on their toes.

So if you insist on only the finest cannabis that meets the strictest standards, then click here to find out where you can find our products. Our labels tell the whole truth – and nothing but.

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