When setting out to buy something, consumers are more than likely to interact with a product’s print and design, almost as much as the product itself.
What we purchase needs to be branded, advertised, and packaged in an attractive and safe way, or we may never consider choosing that item again.
Businesses in the legal cannabis industry are encouraged to follow these design principles and come up with memorable and creative marketing materials which will help them stand out from the competition: this is good news for local printers and branding experts, who are happy to help with everything from basic design concepts to logos to printing thousands of labels.
“We have about 15 different cannabis clients right now, and they provide us with about 15 percent of our current business,” said Eric Smith from Ross Printing. The Spokane company has dedicated one sales associate exclusively to working with cannabis-related clients, and is actively seeking out new clients in the industry.
“Opportunities are coming from retailers and growers, since each one is trying to market itself well in a new, lucrative and highly competitive marketplace that the public may not know much about,” he said.
Products in great demand include stickers, labels, cards, and other printed packaging and marketing materials.
Jason Clerget of Propaganda Creative in Spokane is seeing similar interest.
“Twenty-five percent of our business is currently allocated toward the marijuana market. The rate of growth for 502 business has leveled out, but has been offset by the repeat business we have seen from our clients growing in size, sales volume, or by adding multiple locations,” he said.
Currently, there doesn’t seem to be many downsides to working in the legal industry.
“Understanding the laws and regulations surrounding marijuana initially was a challenge, but we quickly became well-versed,” said Clerget.
To Smith, cannabis clients are pretty much like any other business: they want sales and they also want creativity.
“Dealing with a cash-only business was new to us, but that is easily managed,” he said.
The creative challenge is actually part of what makes marijuana businesses more interesting.
“Having the ability to design in a newly de-regulated market that is fun and interesting is a designer’s dream,” said Clerget. “We get to try new things, push boundaries and test strategies that are stylistically different, ranging from irreverent to modern and clean.”
Smith likes helping new entrepreneurs with creative ideas.
“I personally enjoy working with this industry,” said Smith. “You might get a young couple who comes in with a new business, and they need tamper-evident packaging that complies with state law. Or they bring in a sketch of a logo and ask us to make something that will stand out on the shelf. We get to be innovative and solve problems.”
Smith said that though Washington’s market is becoming more saturated, they’ve had success helping marijuana businesses differentiate themselves in a crowded field, like they might do with a wine seller’s label trying to drive sales of a $10 bottle of wine.
“With wine, it’s often packaging, label or shelf presence that really differentiates one product from another, and stand out to the consumer so they’ll give it a try,” he said. “Our cannabis clients tend to want to differentiate themselves as a top-shelf grower, so they are willing to put money into value-added packaging.”
While that may sound a little like ‘judging a book by its cover,’ consumers often rely on graphics and packaging to make a decision, so a business that wants to be successful has to be prepared.