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How to Design Effective Cannabis and CBD Packaging

Here are five things to consider when designing your cannabis or CBD product packaging.

From the beginning, you spend valuable time choosing which strains you want to grow. Do you want to grow indoor or outdoor? What equipment is necessary? When it’s time to plant, you spend countless hours prepping, farming, and nurturing. Then, when it’s ready, you harvest. After all the time and resources that have gone into the cycle, you might be inclined to think the work is done. But, this is where many fall short at the finish line.

Communicating your brand to the customer is the most vital part of the process. This part is where strangers become interested in your product, people who are interested become purchasers, and purchasers become advocates—promoting your product (for free) to friends, family, and even strangers. And here the cycle begins again.

Why, after all your hard work, would you sell your product short?

You wouldn’t.

So here are five ways to make your product packaging stand out.

1) Consider the psychology of color.

Colors say a lot about your brand, which can (even more importantly) represent the people purchasing your products. This fact, if embraced, can accelerate your brand’s climb to the top.

Generally, when people make a purchase outside of the necessities, they buy with emotion. Does this product make them the best version of themselves? Does it help them become who they want to be?

Using the quick guide below, reflect on your brand’s current product packaging—including bottles, boxes, bags, tincture, and jars. What colors are you using? Does it evoke the emotion you want to be associated with your brand?

White- pure, clean, minimalistic

Black- edgy, rebellious, mysterious

Yellow- happy, optimistic, hopeful

Green- environmental, fresh, finance

Purple- royal, peace, wisdom

Red- anger, romance, daring ts.

2) Know your position in the market.

Not every cellphone can be an iPhone. Not every store can offer Walmart’s competitive prices. Since you can’t be everything to everybody, look at your product and ask these questions:

  • Is your product a need or a want?

  • Is it your goal to offer the best prices or the best craftsmanship?

Depending on which category you answered, your brand messaging should reflect—and by default, your product packaging. If you’re going to ask your customers to pay a premium price, you want them to feel validated when experiencing your product for the first time (opening the box).

For example, if your product is one of the most price competitive, there are cost-effective packaging solutions such as mylar bags that help you reach that goal.

If you want to be the most environmentally friendly, consider glass flower jars that can be re-purposed by the consumer.

On the other hand, if your strain is one of the most popular in the cannabis industry or one of the hardest to come by, you can build a loyal group of customers that advocate for your brand by reassuring them that they made the right decision. This assurance comes after the purchase has been made in the store—when it’s just your product and the customer who has been anxiously awaiting the moment they can unveil and test their newest purchase.

It’s at this point that the only representative of your brand is what stands between the customer and the product—the packaging.

Gold Leaf Packaging 15 pack pre-roll box with raised gold foil and soft-touch finishing
Gold Leaf Packaging 15 pack pre-roll box

3) What are three adjectives to describe your brand?

A lot of how you can create effective packaging deals with reflecting on who you are as a company. If you were only allowed three adjectives to describe your brand, what would they be? Let’s take these three as an example: luxurious, unique, and environmentally friendly.

How can you apply these words to your packaging?

You can communicate a sense of luxury in the way packaging feels. Using a thick cardstock paper and raised foil, it activates the customer’s sense of touch—a sense which, whether they know it or not, understands quality.

So, what if your brand does not fit the regular “white with gold foil” luxury market? It’s unique.

With the latest in print technology, we offer our customers unique product packaging using raised foil (available in a variety of colors). Do you need black with green foil? We got that. White with red foil? We’ve got that too.

Proof for Spark Hemp all-natural hemp cigarettes with raised green foil on black packaging
Spark Hemp All-Natural Hemp Cigarettes Print Proof

Lastly, if your brand is environmentally friendly, consider sustainable packaging. The MGI printing we use for raised foil and varnish is recyclable. So, to ensure the whole packaging is recyclable, our brand specialists can work with you to find the right paper. Another option is to use packaging that can be up-cycled by customers, like glass. Once you find what works for your brand, it can be used as a marketing tool to help you reach the right clientele.

4) How do your customers use your product?

One of the best ways to create effective packaging is to make packaging that is functional.

Take Beboe’s Pastilles, for example. These tablets are designed to give customers the perfect high for daytime—clean, refined, and joyful. And, to make it functional for their customers, they’ve kept the elegant slide box with rose gold foil that, when opened, reveals a cannister (similar to mints) designed to be on-the-go and fits neatly in a pocket or bag. This packaging effectively represents their brand experience and adds value to the customer.

5) Strategically Use Foil and Varnish

In an article done for PackagePrinting, they cited a study by Jeff Peterson (executive director for Foil Stamping and Embossing Association) says, “foil-enhanced products increased purchase interest in more than 70 percent of cases studied.” And, if those numbers weren’t impressive enough, that same study showed “26.7% of consumers will choose a foil-stamped product over one with a plain label.”

If foils aren’t for you, another embellishment option is raised varnish. Similar to spot varnish (spot UV) printing, when applied it leaves a glossy coating that gives certain areas of a printed piece shine. However, where the raised varnish is different, is in its ability to be layered—ultimately giving it a broader range of textured printing capabilities. In the piece listed below, we were able to use three layers of varnish to give this hop its dewy look.

SweetWater Brewing Company Poster for Hop Hash
Poster for SweetWater Brewing Company's Hop Hash. This look was accomplished by layering holographic foil, overprint, and three layers of varnish.

Regardless of what your place is in the market, good design doesn’t have to be sacrificed. We offer design services that help you take full advantage of the packaging option you choose. With our MGI print capabilities, we offer our clients high-quality packaging, stickers, and labels without costly dies.

This revolutionary technology means customers will no longer have the start-up costs associated with adding gold foil or varnish to their print and packaging. And, as a U.S. based CBD and cannabis packaging company, we proudly offer quicker turnaround times with no tariffs.

It’s important to note that all packaging in the cannabis and CBD industry is subject to regulation (varied by state) for assistance, please visit our legalization map. Or, check with your state and local government.



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