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Designing With Purpose: Changing The Way We Experience Cannabis

by Colt Stander on 02/09/2021 | 4 Minute Read

Today, despite its federal prohibition, cannabis has been legalized for adult use in 15 states and medical purposes in some form in 36. The expectation is that the global cannabis market will hit $73 billion by 2027, and, amid shifting attitudes, consumer support is at an all-time high—according to Gallup’s latest research, more than 2/3 of Americans believe it should get legalized. 

But what’s taking place on the ground in state-legal markets is even more remarkable. Cannabis appellation programs are getting established to support craft growers, and form factors now extend beyond just flower to include vape, edibles, topicals, tinctures, transdermal patches, capsules, sublinguals, and more. Dispensaries resemble Apple stores and boast budtenders that help consumers navigate product selections. And the brand mix is growing every day, ranging from the iconic accessible brands like Old Pal, to the luxury, with brands like Saint Jane or Lord Jones that resemble the likes of Hermès. The industry is maturing quickly, but a key challenge remains—the product mix can be overwhelming, and consumers don’t know what to choose. 

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Every one of us wants—and more importantly, have come to expect—quality products in every part of our lives, and we believe that cannabis products should be no different. Fortunately, design is a big part of the solution.

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Deliver on Elevated Aesthetics and Luxury Design.

You have to start by designing products that have the sleek sophistication customers want, with the portability and discretion that enables them to blend into a variety of lifestyles seamlessly. It means using high-quality materials that not only hold up over time but also meet stringent manufacturing standards, part of a growing trend to bring elegance and luxury to cannabis. 

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Higher Standards has six brick and mortar locations across the country where true connoisseurs can get their hands on the most elevated cannabis tools and accessories. Even iconic, high-end department stores are dipping toes into the waters of bringing luxury (CBD) products and cannabis accessories to their ever so discerning customers. We see this across categories, with brands like North Face x Gucci teaming up to elevate outdoor essentials or Nike collaborating with Dior for a limited release of cult-favorite Air Jordan 1s. As cannabis goes more mainstream and people express their preferences and personalities through purchasing decisions, demand for luxury aesthetics is growing, and design becomes an imperative.

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Simplifying Complex Information Through Design to Deliver Clarity.

Consumers today are well-educated about what’s in their products and demand a high level of transparency. That is more relevant than ever in cannabis, and they increasingly want to know what’s in the products they’re using. 

Terpene or cannabinoid profiles and lab report data can be confusing, so one of our solves for this at PAX was the design of PodID—a feature in our App that simplifies this information and makes it digestible and easy to understand. We’ve found inspiration in vitamin brand Ritual’s detailed product ingredient and sourcing information, as well as Houseplant's use of a vibrant color coding and graphic system to help differentiate between products and strains. Simplicity is essential, but it doesn’t have to be at the cost of a beautiful experience or visual design.

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Building an Identity That Establishes Trust.

There’s a reason why brands like Netflix, FedEx, Amazon, and Nike have the lasting power they do. Yes, they deliver great products and services, but they’ve also established strong brands with global awareness that have earned credibility and trust with consumers. Their marks convey recognition that drives purchasing decisions. Consumers are willing to purchase a watch, headphones, or content subscriptions just because they carry the iconic Apple logo—and with that comes confidence it will be best in class. 

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Over the years, we’ve worked hard to establish the PAX brand as one synonymous with innovation, quality, and safety in cannabis technology. To ensure this extends beyond just our devices themselves, we’ve developed a nationwide co-branded packaging system that allows for uniformity and recognition, no matter what state a consumer is in or which of our brand partners’ products they’re purchasing. Today’s cannabis landscape is fragmented, but with the growth of multi-state brands and operators, consistent brand identity and recognition—that has values and builds trust—is meaningful.

Design plays such a critical role in the burgeoning cannabis landscape, serving as a valuable tool for consumer education. It’s a vehicle for not just delivering the products they want today, but for reinventing the experiences of tomorrow—ultimately forging brand loyalty and supporting the growth required for long term success.