The cannabis industry has been a fascinating case study in new market dynamics. As more red tape gets cut throughout the U.S., new brands are emerging fast, introducing new products and services quicker than customers can keep up.
Now, with logistics and legalities mostly sorted, these brands face the problem of differentiation in a highly competitive space. How should new cannabis companies separate themselves from the pack and thrive? Cannabis packaging design is one of the best differentiators in an industry that favors novel, exciting branding.
Let’s discuss the critical elements of cannabis packaging design and how to use them to your advantage as a brand competing for every inch of market share.
1. High-Quality Packaging Materials
Packaging materials can make or break your cannabis products — literally and metaphorically. Firstly, shipping and logistics partners want to know that packaging holds strong throughout the supply chain, and retailers rely on products to remain strong in storage.
A great customer experience is also determined by the strength and stability of packaging materials, ensuring that cannabis products are kept safe and discrete yet accessible when needed.
This means the typical thin polyethylene and basic paperboard packaging solutions are insufficient to stand out in the cannabis industry. Brands should look for durable Mylar materials and tin alloys to offer the strength, stability, and user experience that business partners and customers expect.
2. Innovative Packaging Formats
Unlike food, OTC drugs, and household supplies, cannabis products deserve premium packaging formats to match the price tag and preserve sensitive content. Unique formats serve multiple purposes, including product protection and the eye-catching intrigue of distinctive shapes, sizes, and seals that fit the brand image.
More cannabis brands are turning to stand-up pouches and resealable bags to package everything from lozenges and gummies to flower and pre-rolls.
Pouches offer a premium look and feel while providing a sense of novelty and excitement for new customers.
Cylindrical tins are also great for more delicate and sensitive products that need extra physical protection from the elements. Don’t settle for the standard flimsy containers that compromise the products within. The best cylinders are tough, smell-proof, and ready to handle supply chain and household environment challenges.
3. Direct Package Labeling and Branding
Before customers look at price, specifications, or any other info, they see the product package itself and receive a critical first impression. This is not only true in stores, but also on social media and ecommerce sites. Therefore, premium package printing is one of the best investments you can make in your products.
The bar is already high for visuals and artwork in cannabis products, so it’s time to think out of the box (or stand-up pouch) when designing unique prints that reflect your brand best. With direct printing capabilities, you can use the entirety of the package to showcase images, graphics, ambient designs, lettering, messaging, and other distinguishing factors that pop off the shelf.
It’s not always about outdoing the competition in terms of maximalist design. Some brands go for the refined, minimal feel with their packaging, creating a sense of exclusivity with fewer images and custom scripts. The point is that you have complete control over how your prints look, and working with a trusted packaging supplier can help bring your vision to life.
Don’t forget that labeling also comes with legal requirements in the cannabis industry, so be sure to check all the boxes for regional compliance as necessary.
4. Privacy, Protection, and Child-Safety Features
Cannabis products intrinsically differ from trail mix or beef jerky in that privacy and protections are critical. Think of cannabis as adjacent to pharmaceuticals or potentially hazardous household materials like detergent pods — more safety measures are needed before they’re packaged and brought to market.
It’s more than common sense; in most regions, child-resistant packaging features are required by law under the Poison Prevention Packaging Act and its provisions. As brands navigate the complex legal pathways for cannabis product distribution, it’s best to err on the side of caution with quality child-resistant features for all packaging.
This could mean a press-to-open pouch mechanism or a classic push-and-twist tin cylinder setup. The goal is to prevent children under five from accessing the contents of the container while still allowing reasonable access for all adults and seniors.
Privacy can’t be overlooked either since cannabis use is personal for most consumers. Ensure packaging is somewhat discrete, especially in direct mail shipping, and consider offering a more subtle packaging option for those who could do without the colors and flair.
5. Sustainability and Eco-Friendly Packaging
With the considerable overlap between cannabis consumers and the eco-friendly crowd, offering a sustainable packaging solution is a sure way to give your product the edge. Look for materials like recyclable polyethylene that still provide the strength, protective properties, and child-resistant features you need to deliver.
Customers also appreciate quality packaging that can be reused once the original purpose has been fulfilled. For instance, a tough and versatile cylinder can be refilled repeatedly at a local dispensary, offering years of additional use and minimizing waste.
Even if your business hasn’t yet mastered sustainability in manufacturing or the supply chain, offering eco-friendly packaging is the most significant ROI move to showcase an eco-friendly business image. This sets a higher standard for your brand moving forward and can be the difference maker for many customers on the fence.
Stand Out With Packaging From Dymapak
Dymapak has worked with companies from food and supplies to pharma, pet care, tech components, and much more. Now that cannabis is here to stay, we’re eager to bring up-and-coming brands to the next level with premium packaging and printing.
From stand-up pouches and custom vape inserts to tin cylinders and even the unique concentrate Twistspenser, our catalog has something for any cannabis startup looking to make a splash. Product packaging is a differentiator, so reach out and get started with Dymapak today.
Packaging Your Potential: Custom Cannabis Packaging Options | CannaCon
The Efficacy of Health Warnings and Package Branding on Perceptions of Cannabis Products Among Youth and Young Adults | Safety Lit
How to Improve Seed-to-Sale Sustainability in Cannabis | Cannabis Marketing Association