How the Cannabis Industry Is Opening up Opportunities for Creatives

As cannabis has become legalised for medical and recreational use in an increasing number of countries over the past three to five years, branding is having to change and adapt the attitudes surrounding the now semi-legal drug. 

For creatives, this means graphic designers, illustrators, branders and creative directors will have the chance to contribute to an evolving global image and attitude surrounding cannabis. While this is exciting on the one hand, many issues have already been raised in the global message being widespread. Namely the issue of race.

When cannabis was demonised (up until recently) imagery associated the drug with young black men and ‘aggressive’ drug dealers by means of cartoons and documentaries as well as other media content.

However, CPD companies selling expensive and, more importantly, legal cannabis products on the global market choose to produce campaigns starring wealthy-looking white women. It’s the same drug, but the legalisation and taboo surrounding it automatically shifts in terms of who its users are thus further perpetuating damaging racial stereotypes.  

Nevertheless, as creatives we can use our platforms and skills to diverge damaging issues like this and choose to work for CBD and cannabis companies and clients who are excited to portray a positive and inclusive demographic for this very new industry. The newness of this industry may also present another challenge in that the whole market is relevaivly still a startup but, like anything new, that’s where the excitement spurs from. 

Influencer marketing can also help with encouraging inclusivity in the consumption of cannabis products. Hiring a range of influencers to promote the product and designing branding that encompasses and will attract a variety of consumers has the power to put cannabis on the map in a forward thinking fashion. 

Here are some examples of cannabis products whose branding steps outside the box and, from a creative perspective, excites us about the creative possibilities of this new market. 

An everyday product de-stigmatising cannabis from “stoner culture”. The branding was designed by Berlin-based agency Navarra and sought to “elevate our built environment one day at a time” through timeless design.

Sundae School
Sundae School is a New York-based design and cannabis lifestyle brand making a name for itself for its contemporary visualisation of the plant-based drug. Founded by Mia Park and Dae Lim, the brand is a firm believer that cannabis can be the ultimate catalyst to maximise creative potential.

A CBD water, Fountain’s branding was designed by Pentagram. Led by its partner Michael Bierut of the agency’s New York office, the project features custom type, colourful graphics and a friendly approach to the hemp-derived drink.

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