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Awesome Dope Brings Nostalgia And Creative Vibes To Cannabis Branding

by Rudy Sanchez on 04/08/2021 | 4 Minute Read

The connection between cannabis and art is a long-standing one. Some folks associate it with creativity, and seemingly mundane items and routines can become transformed as cannabinoids adjust the dials on the senses. Individuals vary, of course, but for some people getting high amplifies, adjusts, modifies, or distorts reality, usually in a pleasant way.

Few cannabis brands capture that spirit and connection to the artistic and creative sides of humanity. Sure, there’s plenty of really beautiful and exquisite weed brands, but in many instances, it’s clear that marketing drives the design. Or the entire identity relies on a celebrity spokesperson or investor. After seeing so many instances of both, it’s almost difficult to imagine a cannabis brand driven by art exemplifying the space shared with creativity.

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Los Angeles-based Awesome Dope is a jolt of pop-art meets legal cannabis that reimages timeless packaging design through collaborative creation. Consisting of designers, touring musicians, fashion industry veterans, and legacy cannabis operators, Farm & Factory’s Awesome Dope wouldn’t even describe itself as a brand, approaching cannabis from a different perspective.

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Editorial photograph
Editorial photograph
Editorial photograph

“A better way to think of our output would be to consider us more like a band than a brand," says Awesome Dope Creative Director Thomas Gavin. “Each new packaging run or merch release builds off our previous work by interpreting what we think is interesting without going too far from our current guideposts: nostalgia, creativity, and accessibility. Much like songs, you get to know them better after a while, and it becomes clear why certain approaches work better than others, especially with the feedback of friends, family, and customers.”

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Editorial photograph

Awesome Dope’s latest capsule release is a blend of classic branding and packaging, such as cereal boxes, trucker hats, and coffee mugs. Typography stays on the same modernist note, as does the minimal color palette and extensive use of white space. The use of a rainbow cannabis leaf combined with a Garamond-like typeface is a clear nod to Apple’s golden age of design. It’s an honest homage rather than just a lazy, off-brand biting of Apple’s style.

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Branding and the original mylar and pre-roll product packaging runs were designed by David Castillo, while Foster Project, a Chicago-based branding agency, helped develop the merchandise range.

Throughout Awesome Dope’s line of cannabis and merch, there’s an air of playful parody and dry sarcasm. The cereal box features a comically enlarged nug, a callout indicating there’s no prize inside, a banner proclaiming its newness, and the tagline “new and improved.”

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“When we started to put together a more cohesive package to send to a select few, we began thinking about interacting with packaging from our past, which for me at least, started with cereal in the morning,” Gavin explains. “It is the first time you get a sense that a brand is communicating something, and in some cases providing tidbits of questionable nutritional value or humorous facts about geography. It was something you sat with and looked at intently.”

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Awesome Dope is a nostalgic celebration of past branding and packaging while also being a collaborative commentary to cannabis commercialism served up by a range of creatives. It stands in contrast to cannabis brands designed around function, wellness, or a famous person. Additionally, the cannabis drops in California stores MOTA and Litco in LA, Barbary Coast in San Francisco, and The Reef, Santa Cruz.

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