Boulder's Berger & Föhr Rebrands Marijuana

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For the beautiful thing that it is, marijuana has some truly shameful graphic design associated with it. So when design publication Icon Magazine asked Berger & Föhr to create a Rethink for Issue 122: Future 50, they chose to address marijuana. Rethink is a one-page feature where Icon asks graphic designers to redesign something they think needs updating, has been poorly designed, or relates to a problem in need of solving. Marijuana was in the news, it was about to be legalized in this here home state of Colorado, and as a consumer product it was (and still is) in much need of a new identity, brand and packaging overhaul.

Here's Berger & Föhr's design rationale from Icon Magazine:

Colorado has always been considered a frontier state, a beautiful and wild place, full of opportunity. With the passing of Amendment 64 this past November and the legalization of recreational marijuana we’ve done much to further that reputation. An entirely new and taxable marijuana industry is about to emerge in Colorado and we chose to take this opportunity to rethink the branding and packaging of this once elicit, still controversial substance.

The consumption of marijuana, let alone its legalization is a polarizing subject. We’re in favor of both, and like most things we favor, we seek to exert our influence where appropriate and applicable. Given our affinity for identity design and our desire for refined packaged goods we set out to conceive a boutique smokable marijuana brand and then package that brand’s product in a variety of consumer friendly configurations.

We created Delta-9, the name being derived from delta-9 tetrahydracannabinol, the principal psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. The name is succinct, memorable and evokes a refined, science-inspired brand. We sought such a name to position our brand as high-quality and boutique, geared towards an informed and aesthetically conscious consumer – a consumer we understand.

In packaging Delta-9 marijuana we considered what we believe to be four highly viable configurations, the 10-pack of pre-rolls (slimmer than a pack of cigarettes and intended to reside in a shirt or pants pocket), the single pre-roll (for more immediate consumption), the 1/4 ounce (the maximum volume the state allows to be purchased at one time) and the 2 gram container (to support portability while not being pre-rolled). All of the configurations were packaged in non-transparent containers and labeled according to new state guidelines.

Additionally, we created an iconographic information system to support ease of product selection and further define the brand’s packaging while applying special emphasis to four key criteria, predominant marijuana type (indica or sativa), potency (3-tiered: 0-10% THC, 10-20% THC, and <20% THC), organic, and the mandatory "this product contains marijuana" designation.

Laurenz Brunner's LL Circular was the typeface selected to support the identity for its contemporariness, "unmistakable character and universal appeal."

Ultimately, we created the sort of brand and packaging evocative of the kind of retail marijuana experience we could endorse.

How do you think they did with the assignment?

Rendering created by Will Geddes.


That design is so sick. My only worry is that it doesn't display enough of the "product". How is the average weed head supposed to see all the shiny trichomes sparkling on the tiny purple and orange hairs of that stank purple kush?

It looks nice, but I'm not sure if I like the science lab/chemical vibe for something thats supposed to be so "natural".

I agree, feels too sterile and lab like for a natural product. Seems so synthetic.

Seeing how so much of the green is engineered today, feels on point and aimed at a specific crop of partakers. I dont think its intended for dirty shoeless kids at the local drum circle.

remember in half-baked when they found the lab-grown weed? this reminds me of how you'd package that up.

Where is the tie-dye? Peace signs? Papyrus type-face? Bad weed puns? ...good riddance, this is great.

One trick pony comes to mind. And designing for design's sake instead of designing for the end use.

That's not problem solving boys.

^^^Wrong, but thanks for playing. As a millennial pot smoker, the branding appeals to me with it's bold sensibilities and minimalistic approach. Buying something based on packaging alone, which I admit I often do, I would choose this if I came across it in a store/dispensary/whatever.

Kinda reminds me of the art design in Portal. I dig it.

Awesome. Problem identified, great solution. Hopefully trend-setting, as the whole industry could use an aesthetic overhaul.

Uh yeah this is totally over designed under the guise of some sort of pseudo bauhaus swiss graphic design persona.

Thanks for playing? Pff.

"Ultimately, we created the sort of brand and packaging evocative of the kind of retail marijuana experience we could endorse."

Berger & Föhr did a great job thinking through the end use and ultimately the end consumer. Based on the last sentence this brand / product isn't intended for the dreaded out dead head rocking a corduroy vest / pant combo panhandling for loose change on Haight Street.

Most of the negative comments above seem to play right into the traditional stereotypes, conventions, and perceptions of marijuana. Berger & Föhr provided and elegant solution that focussed on the future state, positioning a brand and ultimately an industry that faces some serious struggles in reagards to perception and mainstream relevancy.

Beard approved and applauded!

The FDA needs to crack down on this

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