5 top trends in cannabis branding and packaging

By Pamela Webber in Packaging Design on April 03, 2018

Marijuana is now legal in half of U.S. states, with more expected to follow, and this has led to a rapidly growing industry selling the product—whether for recreational or medical use. We have noticed the rise in cannabis-related businesses on the 99designs platform, where we’ve seen a 55% increase in design projects being created for these new brands in the past two years.

Whether or not cannabis is legal in your state, it’s not illegal for packaging design firms to work for cannabis customer. That said, if you are a designer, you may still want to consider if this is an area that you want to focus on going forward, if it fits with your own values and if it could be controversial with other clients.

If you do decide to work with cannabis companies, you’ll need to embrace an up-to-date interpretation and steer clear of the old clichés that can have more negative connotations. As in any logo and marketing design, you’ll also want to consider your target audience.

Here are five trends to look out for in cannabis branding and packaging:

Page 1. Leafy imagery

Page 2. Green in color and in ethos

Page 3. A focus on health

Page 4. Minimalism

Page 5. Playing with stereotypes


1. Leafy imagery

The pointy leaf may be a cliché but it’s also an instantly recognizable icon; it’s the fastest way to make a product identifiable in store.

While many brands continue to use the cannabis leaf in their logos and packaging designs, they are usually doing so with a twist. Logos may use a modern, stylized version of the leaf, they may use other colors or they may combine it with other elements to modernize the design while still playing on this familiar theme.

This stylized logo by 99designs designer KisaDesign brings the classic leaf image bang up to date.


Who doesn’t get “The Munchies”? Hipster foot festival logo design by 99designs designer Iva Tan.

This logo hints at the traditional green leaf while combining a gray-blue cross that adds a more corporate and medical touch. Design by 99designs designer ludibes.


NEXT: Green in color and in ethos



Production efficiencies, ecommerce challenges, sustainability trends, new bioplastic technologies and more are among the topics on the agenda at the new Packaging Hub at EastPack 2018. This free educational program will have more than 16 hours of can’t-miss presentations and demonstrations. Register to attend today!

Pamela Webber

Pamela Webber is chief marketing officer at 99designs, where she heads up the global marketing team responsible for driving customer acquisition and increasing lifetime value of customers. In her role, Webber has penned many guest posts and bylines for marketing and small business publications, from CMO.com and Marketing Profs to SmallBizDaily, Small Business Opportunities and Success.com.

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