Cannabis Labels and Packaging Design Trends To Watch

Cannabis labels
Whether for medicinal or recreational use, cannabis products are exploding onto the market creating a “green rush.” According to Arcview Market Research and its research partner BDS Analytics, the legal cannabis industry will see tremendous growth around the globe over the next 10 years. Spending on legal cannabis worldwide is expected to hit $57 billion by 2027 with the recreational market accounting for 67% of the spending and medical cannabis for the remaining 33%.

With new cannabis products hitting the marketplace, it’s no surprise that demand for labels and packaging is growing as well. See which design trends are influencing this emerging market to spark some ideas for your cannabis labels and packaging.

Design Inspiration For Cannabis Labels and Packaging

With public opinion becoming more favorable toward cannabis, it’s important that your design stays clear of old cliches that can have more negative connotations. A modern, sophisticated design not only helps destigmatize your cannabis-related product but also attract more customers.

  • Luxury: Cannabis and luxury aren’t often associated together but an upscale look can help attract a more mature, discerning crowd. Foil accents are a great way to add a luxurious touch to labels and packaging. You can also take a note from other craft markets by using a more subdued color palette, simplified shapes, clean lines, and elegant typography.
  • Natural: Emphasizing the natural aspect of cannabis products on labels and packaging can help appeal to health-conscious customers. You can do this by using earthy colors like muted greens and browns, leafy imagery, and language like “whole,” “raw,” and “organic.” Using a natural angle with your design can also influence label and packaging materials as well. For example, eco-friendly label materials such as tree-free paper stock and biodegradable PLA film complement natural branding.
  • Minimalist: A minimalist approach can give your brand and product a stylish, contemporary look that subtly communicates quality. Minimalism can (mistakenly) be considered boring but there are different ways you can get creative with your labels and packaging without getting bogged down by complex visuals. Black and white are classic minimalist colors but you can use other colors as long as you don’t use more than a couple. Clean, geometric shapes are another popular feature of minimalist design which differs from the psychedelic designs of the past.
  • Health: Medical cannabis is legal in more states than recreational cannabis which means there’s more opportunity to tap into this market. Brands can take advantage of the medicinal properties of their cannabis products by using medical or pharmaceutical symbols and colors to add legitimacy to their business and appeal to medicinal users. You can also highlight health benefits like “pain relief” or “anti-inflammatory” to help customers quickly see how your product can help them.
  • Past Meets Present: Although cannabis is becoming more legalized, it hasn’t erased its rich counterculture history and slightly taboo reputation. Instead of distancing away from that, edgier brands can embrace it by putting their own modern spin on cannabis-associated symbols, imagery, and language.

Several Legal Things To Keep In Mind

Before designing anything, we strongly recommend reviewing these legal considerations:

  • Trademark/copyright infringement is a no-no: Before legalization, cannabis products got away with using trademark and copyrighted names but that’s no longer the case. Since coming off of the black market, several brands have found themselves in legal trouble. If you don’t want to be sued, you should avoid using trademarks and copyrighted material.
  • Follow applicable regulations: With legalization also comes regulation. It’s important that you follow your state’s regulations which can include requirements for on-package information, child-proof packaging, marketing materials, etc.
  • Be smart, don’t break the law: In many parts of the world, cannabis use is against the law, and even in the United States, it’s illegal according to the federal government. Cannabis is complicated…and while there are plenty of business opportunities, it’s not worth facing possible punishment because you broke a state or country’s law.

Staying on the right side of the law and having a product with visual appeal are essential to a cannabis brand’s success. Once you have a design ready, next comes getting labels printed for your product. We offer a variety of materials, cutting dies, and customization options to help get you the exact label look you want – get started on your custom cannabis labels by getting an online quote or contacting us at 1-800-475-2235 or