The cannabis industry is a relatively new industry, so branding rules for businesses are still quite flexible. They’re not set in stone, so to speak. Some would even say there is a lack of branding.
By branding, we mean more than just the name, the logo, the color palette, the icon, and the tagline. It also includes packaging, advertising, marketing, and communication. Branding, as a whole, is the differentiated and distinct presence a business establishes in the market in order to attract customers and retain the old ones.
And by “lack of branding” in the cannabis space, we mean that specific rules and guidelines have yet to be established. You can expect that the so-called dos and don’ts will change as the industry goes along and as it moves toward global legalization.
All we know, for now, is that when it comes to cannabis branding, the same standard rules of timelessness, versatility, simplicity, and meaningfulness apply, just as they do in most industries.
We have also read too often that when it comes to brand building for cannabis businesses, avoiding clichés is highly recommended.
Look for imagery that differentiates your brand from others within the same category. For instance, just because you are a medical cannabis dispensary, doesn’t mean you have to incorporate a green cross on your logo. Or just because you are a company that supplies various cannabis products, you have to include a marijuana leaf.
Moreover, avoiding clichés also means that you need to veer away from the Bob Marley stoner culture and the Rastafarian color palette.
Anyway, here are a few examples of cannabis companies whose branding we like.
Moss Crossing, an Oregon-based modern cannabis shop and lifestyle brand, has a great logo: nothing green, nothing that resembles pot leaf, and nothing Rastafarian. The logo is simple, modern, and elegant.
Harmony Extracts is another good example. The Colorado-based company creates high-quality and high-potency cannabis concentrates. Aside from doing away with the green, it has chosen to take on a totally different approach in using the cannabis leaf image in its logo. It incorporated the cannabis leaf design with a bird image. And looking at it, you’d instantly wonder: What’s the bird got to do with anything? Clicking on its site’s “About Us” page will give you the answer. The company likens itself to a little hummingbird in that it works to extract the best of natural cannabis. It has come up with its “Harmony Live Nectar” signature product, created through crystallization using the best extraction technology available.
Leafs by Snoop is one great example of cohesive product packaging. These are Snoop Dogg’s line of cannabis chocolates and line of dog treats:
The font used is consistent, and so is the use of different bright colors, and the placement of the logo on the bottom portion of the packaging. Snoop Dogg has also been consistent in his use of images from nature, inspired by his travels around the world (as he has explained in his personal note on his website). The way the brand uses different images with different colors in order to differentiate one flavor from another is pretty creative.
Oh, and while the brand does use the usual cannabis leaf in its logo, the “origami” look it has adopted gives it a refreshing effect.
Dixie perfectly demonstrates harmony between a brand’s visual elements and message. The company, which produces high-quality cannabis elixirs, edibles, and other products, has a minimalist and futuristic-looking logo that is just perfect for its tagline: “The Future of Cannabis.” A logo and a theme with a vintage effect will obviously not work for the company’s claim of the future.
And we should mention that Dixie’s product packaging is to die for! Everything looks so yummy, you just want to try them all!
Herban Extracts is also a great example. They did use marijuana leaf in their logo, but they gave it a unique twist. They formed an unmistakable snowflake by joining six leaves together. And this snowflake image is consistent with the brand’s mission.
Herban Extracts is a proud all-Alaskan cannabis product manufacturer and, in its mission statement, the company says it is committed to offering a “tastier and healthier cannabis experience preserving the full-spectrum effects as we operate on a level of professionalism that is at the forefront of the Alaskan cannabis industry.” What else makes you think of Alaska other than snow?