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Woah Candy Co. Is The Willy Wonka of Cannabis Goodies

by Casha Doemland on 02/13/2019 | 4 Minute Read

Founded in 2017 by a second generation confectioner, Mark Bergquist of Woah Candy Co. is the Willy Wonka of cannabis-infused goodies. Growing up in his family’s sweet shop, his mother taught him the ins and outs of cooking and baking at an early age, all of which got passed down by his grandmother.

It also helps to have a top-secret family recipe for slow-cooked honey caramel, because cannabis sure goes down a lot easier with sweet, sweet caramel.

We reached out to principal and creative director Micheal Heaster of the Oakland-based branding and strategy firm Pavement to learn about the process behind the designs for Woah Candy's dazzling edibles and the challenges of branding a product in an oversaturated cannabis market.

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Walk us through the design process. How did you go from start to finish on this project?

Our design process was quite simple on this project. We met in person to establish the direction for branding and packaging exploration. From there, we went off and created multiple options for Woah Candy Co.'s branding and packaging look.

We always like to develop both the identity and packaging layouts concurrently. Often, one affects how the other gets executed.

We find if you create a logo in isolation without considering how it would work on the packaging, it does a great disservice to the package where it often feels like a logo slapped on the front. By developing concurrently, we can think of the packaging front panel as a poster, for the lack of a better way to describe it. Everything fits together perfectly.

The final execution for Woah is no different.

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What was one of the biggest goals you set out to achieve and how did you accomplish it?

We wanted to create a look that first and foremost felt like a confection.

The fact that the chocolate caramels were cannabis-infused was secondary to the fact that these were first a hand-made artisan chocolate confection made by a family with decades of experience making chocolates. We wanted that quality to shine through immediately. Often, the candy portion of cannabis-infused confections is a cheaply made vehicle by which to deliver the cannabis to the customer. Woah Candy Co. has the unique proposition of having a quality-made product that just so happens to be infused with cannabis.

The branding and packaging design reflects this by creating a look that has a whimsical and slightly vintage feel. Within the intricately executed logo, a stylized cannabis leaf is hidden so it could read as the secondary message.

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How does the package harken back to vintage confectionary, and is there a significance behind the brown and gold color scheme?

Yes, absolutely. The look was intended to feel like a vintage confectionary package, but with a modern twist. We didn’t want it to feel old or stodgy; it still needed to feel of the moment. Brown is a natural color to symbolize chocolate while the gold gives the package a Willy Wonka-like feel.

As a cannabis product, did you run into any design challenges with the packaging regulations? If so, how did you overcome them?

Absolutely! Any cannabis package requires a lot of regulatory information on the front panel such as dosages, strain information, warning symbols, and so on. Often, this information needs to be updated frequently. Most times,  it can even be unattractive in appearance. Therefore, we devised a label to contain all of this info, which gets replaced and updated as needed.

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Share one lesson that you learned while developing the finished product.

Start-ups within the cannabis industry are often challenged by an already saturated marketplace where similar products already exist. Cannabis dispensaries know this, so they push cannabis brands to reduce their wholesale costs as compared to their competition, which can challenge cannabis entrepreneurs with a tough game of razor thin margins.

In order to gain attention, these products need to stand out. We often rely on texture and production techniques with our packaging solutions to create this presence. But these ‘bells and whistles’ often challenge start-up brands dealing with cost restrictions. It then becomes our job to figure out how to value-engineer the product so that it still stands out, but doesn’t break the bank with production costs.

This process came into play with Woah’s final packaging execution. We felt the end solutions achieved that delicate balance between opulence and budget.