December 20, 2021

High on Design

As the global cannabis market continues to expand in fiscal value, geographic availability, and wide-ranging product offerings, a distinct niche has arisen for luxury cannabis products.

“The cannabis industry has grown so significantly in the past few years that luxury brands within the cannabis market are quickly paving the way for new ideas in packaging,” says LB Odendaal, Head of Design at IPL Packaging.

However, as more and more producers come onto the market, it becomes more saturated, making distinction at the packaging level paramount. By opting for luxe packaging, high-end hemp, CBD or cannabis products are taking steps toward differentiating their product from the influx of others on the market.

So, how can brands achieve a luxury distinction with cannabis product packaging?

“We find that, like anything, it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach,” says Odendaal, “Whilst there are certainly trends and ‘wins’ terms of ‘luxury’ cannabis packaging design, it’s also worthwhile noting that the only real design trends really worth embracing are the trends that will actively support your brand.”

Cannabis goes Luxe

“From a luxury packaging perspective the ones that seem to ‘get it right’ are the ones that also evoke the lifestyle of cannabis, – one which is relaxed yet sophisticated, using clear crisp colors perhaps splashes of gold or silver and a calming color palette.”

“Subtlety is all. It’s the aesthetic the industry is going for now,” he says. “Design elements like embossed lettering (rather than printed text), and stamped gold foil communicate quality. Why not let potential customers know that your product is of the highest caliber before they even try it?”

Take a Recess Sparkling Water

© Recess

In terms of luxury packaging for cannabis there are a few trends that we believe will be around for some time:

Leafy imagery

“While the marijuana leaf can be clichéd in many applications, it’s the fastest way to make cannabis products identifiable,” says Odendaal.

“Many successful cannabis logos and package graphics incorporate the iconic leaf in new and modern ways. The cannabis leaf is so highly recognizable, you can even change its color while still maintaining its effectiveness.”“Those luxury brands that want to stand out and also future-proof their branding and packaging can take a more subtle approach,” he says. “By letting the pointed, triangular shape influence but not dominate their branding, they separate themselves from the masses while keeping subtle overtones of the green leaf.”

“In several of our NPD CBD oil packaging designs we incorporated the leaf element into an oil droplet shape in order to effectively and subtly communicate the nature of the product.”

© iplpackaging

Eco-friendly packaging

Whether it’s hemp, cannabis, weed or CBD, it all comes from a natural, sustainable source. “Leveraging on this, brands in this industry are able to bring sustainability and environmental conservation through their core brand values. “In this case too, sustainable packaging and recyclability are just as important as the product’s raw ingredients’ sources’ certifications,” says Odendaal.

“Plus a commitment to sustainability attracts a very important market segment: Millennials. According to the market research firm Nielsen Global, an astounding 73% of Millennials are willing to pay more for sustainable products.”

“Ideally, luxury cannabis packaging shouldn’t just be sustainable, it should look sustainable, too. Muted shades of natural colors in the packaging can help communicate how natural your products are. Materials such as textured kraft paper and solid woods, cork, metal details, and formed paper fitments, whilst still communicating a premium experience.”

Eco-Friendly Cannabis Packaging 1

© iplpackaging

Eco Friendly Cannabis Packaging 2


Building Trust

Medical marijuana patients have health issues to address. They want reassurance that a particular product can deliver a trusted solution. “

“In many instances it’s often a good idea to emphasize the medicinal properties of cannabis and cannabis-infused products by modeling cannabis packaging after traditional medical or pharmaceutical packaging, similar to the way in which IPL Design created packaging for CBD oil tincture gift sets and ‘gummies’. This includes using clear copy and packaging design with ample white space, yet still keeping it relevant to your unique brand.”

Less is More

“If you feel we’re being beaten over the head with suggestions to embrace minimalist packaging and design, I think it’s a good idea to get used to it. Minimalist design is enjoying a renaissance that shows no sign of waning – and the adage ‘less is more,’ couldn’t be more true – especially in the cannabis industry,” says Odendaal. “A minimalist approach to your packaging design ensures a contemporary (read: desirable!) effect.”

A Bit of Fun

“Forget, for a moment, everything you know about steering clear of stereotypes,” says Odendaal. “The cannabis industry has some fun, historic culture that creates opportunities for clever marketing and design,” he says. “While this trend is used more heavily in the recreational cannabis realm, there can be a place for it in the medical arena when done tastefully,” he states. “Consider a play on words, or the reference cannabis in a playful way in the design, to help your packaging ‘pop!’ After all, great packaging design always elevates a product and tells a story about who you are as a company.”

IPL Packaging is a global luxury packaging supplier with offices in the USA, Europe, Mexico, Asia and Africa. Approved manufacturing is available in several Asian countries, as well as sites in Eastern Europe. We create bespoke, tailored and exclusive packaging for any premium or luxury brand and lead the entire process, from conceptualisation and design to production and delivery.

For more information on packaging solutions or to gain insight into our latest packaging trends, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube or Pinterest. Keep an eye on our news section for insightful articles and innovative ideas around packaging materials, product development and design.

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