Designing Your Whole Package

Do you know that there are generally five FDA requirements necessary for food labels but a whopping 23 OLCC (Oregon Liquor Control Commission) requirements for cannaboid edibles?

To me, that seems outrageous.

But it’s true and that’s why packaging is so damn important to get right. Otherwise, it can look like a monstrosity.

Good packaging design creates memories, has personality, and captures the imagination.

This was according to Keith Svihovec of Keel Creative in PDX, at a recent event called Designing the Whole Package held at the Lucky Labrador Brew Pub on Hawthorne. The event was part of a series sponsored by The Caputo Group and ORCA (Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association).

But back to design.

Svihovec talked about the design process for his client, chocolatier Todd Shangold of Crop Circle Chocolate. The chocolatier makes medical truffles and just hit the shelves two months ago.

Given all the regulations, the goal is to “take this information and make the design more appealing,” said Svihovec.

For Svihovec, the design process is comprised of a number of elements: OLCC requirements, product and brand story, competitor analysis, consumer audience and trends, and point of sale limitations, requirements, and opportunities. Since budtenders are the main point of sale for edibles, educating people who are doing the selling is key.

Here are some trends Svihovec pointed out from a BDS Analytics survey:

On the consumer side:

  • A shift from flower toward higher price point concentrates, edibles and pre-roll joints.
  • Those participants who consumed cannabis in the past six months are more likely to be engaged in physical activity on a once a week basis or greater, than people who don’t use cannabis.

On the design side:

  • Custom structures
  • Printing techniques
  • Texture
  • Conceptual illustration
  • Puns & humor
  • Pairings
  • Small brands: provocative stories
  • Human touch

And when it comes to working with a designer or agency, Svihovec has some suggestions:

  • Know your brand
  • Know your goals
  • Know your audience
  • Know your budget (remember, budget is more than just money; it’s time, energy and money).

“Stay in your zone of genius and let the agency be part of your team as a collaborative effort,” he said.

I couldn’t agree more.

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