When it comes to consumer products, package design can be the single most important factor that influences purchasing
As the marijuana business evolves and grows, the way it’s merchandised and sold is naturally going to go in many directions. However, no matter what the product or where it’s sold, packaging and presentation will always be a key component of success.
One of the companies at the forefront of creating really attractive designs and innovative packaging is Lucid Designs of Portland, Oregon. Marijuana Venture recently spent some time talking with Lucid owner and art director Michael Lindars about his thoughts on cannabis packaging and the rapid evolution of the retail environment.
Marijuana Venture: How important is packaging in the legal marijuana industry?
Michael Lindars: Like any other legitimate industry, first impressions are important and that’s why good branding and packaging need to be impactful. Conveying value or sophistication is all about perception. To augment this perception, we use colors, finishes and unique die lines (which create the shape of packaging). In general, consumers care about their purchase, and packaging and branding can make or break a sale.
MV: How has packaging evolved in the industry?
ML: We started working with Golden XTRX in early 2014 and at that time most products were in polybags or other off-the-shelf containers that were covered with hand-printed stickers. When Golden introduced the pyramid package for its CO2 oils that we designed, it started a real revolution. Suddenly patients were being offered a unique, high-end package with premium finishes. This helped legitimize cannabis and provided a sense of security for patients who had previously been purchasing items that appeared somewhat suspect.
Since then, the Golden brand and packaging has continued to evolve to something even more unique and groundbreaking. In general, the industry has become more competitive because now, not only do you need a quality product, it needs to look good too.
MV: What types of innovative packaging are showing up?
ML: I’ve been surprised by the innovations and progress in the industry in the last year. Initially, development was fairly slow. Now we are seeing some very sophisticated and wonderfully designed child-resistant containers being developed. I’m also beginning to see more and more earth-friendly materials like molded fibers being introduced.
MV: Does Lucid have clients outside Oregon?
ML: Yes, we have non-cannabis clients throughout the United States and Europe, as well as cannabis clients in Washington and California.
MV: Are you talking to retailers and getting their take on packaging and its importance?
ML: We are working with several dispensaries in Oregon and have been involved with the design of retail spaces for Left Coast Connection, TLC and Canna Daddy’s. This has been a very valuable exercise for us because it has given us an up-close look at how cannabis packaging is handled, viewed and merchandised in-store. For example, understanding that cannabis products must be placed in a locked safe every night changes the way we think about a package’s structure, material and the way it is displayed.
MV: A lot of producers seem to like glass jars. What’s your take on them?
ML: Glass is a great medium for packaging simply because it displays the product so well and is easily recycled. It also gives a sense of cleanliness and purity to the packaging space, but I know that clear glass may cause some products to degrade because of light exposure.
MV: Have you been asked to create any point-of-purchase displays or other types of promotional materials?
ML: Typically, POP displays are part of our design program. Sometimes these are shippers that are converted, others are more sophisticated and range in size from three inches to six feet and materials such as wood or acrylic. In addition to displays, we have designed everything from swag to sale sheets and websites to advertisements.
MV: What is the ideal client like?
ML: Each of our cannabis related clients are ideal! They all have very unique messages they want to tell and this makes branding much easier for us. Additionally, we find that the cannabis industry is very open to trying things that other industries would never touch. This allows us to express our creativity with new die lines and materials.