Best Colors for Cannabis Branding

19 March 2021

Many in the industry have said for a long time that cannabis businesses should not follow trends in cannabis branding. This article will explain why that isn’t always true and will showcase some current brands that are good at leveraging branding trends into product sales.

Green for Cannabis Branding

Some people, including Online Marijuana Design founder Jared Mirsky, have suggested that making green your branding color is a big mistake. This might be true in general, but it does not mean that it is impossible to use green colors in cannabis branding to good effect. For example, New England Treatment Access Center (NETA) does a great job of using green in their branding. They use various green shades to differentiate products and to help evoke an outdoorsy, sporty feel. The clean and contemporary look should attract potential NETA customers and give the brand a lot of credibility when attempting to gain market share from dispensary brands in and outside of their prime marketing areas.

Kush Bottles uses a green color that is almost neon in effect. It looks a bit like an old pharmacy sign. The design and color hint at the current green cannabis branding trend even though there is very little connection to herbs or nature. Kush Bottles has been riding a wave of profitability recently – a 250+% increase in sales for the first quarter of 2018 shows that their neon green is working like a charm.

In one Dr. Norm’s advertisement, an old-fashioned doctor, complete with stethoscope around his neck, points at the camera. He says, “Know your dose,” and you feel like you should, but probably don’t … It might sound funny, but businesses in the edibles space should do more to educate their customers about dosage.

Who wants their brand associated with a bad customer experience?

While brands cannot be totally responsible for the actions of their consumers, it is good business sense to be responsible and set a good example. Zero customer complaints is a good benchmark for which to aim. Dr. Norm’s team does a great job of educating not only their consumers, but the public in general, and their competitors in particular.
And they don’t limit their educational messages to their product branding. They have a section of their website dedicated to cannabis education. The visual cues in Dr. Norm’s designs are the green color and the “cross” motif in the apostrophe after “Norm”. The green color is distinctive, a mixture of mint and emerald. While on the subject of Dr. Norm’s, it is worth noting that Dr. Norm’s entered the market relatively early, and the word “doctor” is now approaching a saturation point in cannabis branding. If you haven’t already established your own “doctor” brand, it is probably too late.

Humboldt Apothecary use a rather unusual green, unusual in that it is not a regular cannabis color. However, it is green, and it reminds me of the foresty green of summer camps and fishing lakes. Maybe even Alaska or the vegetation around a Norwegian fjord. It is quite striking against a white background. There is also an additional color band to categorize the tincture category.

This is good. Using color is a good way for customers to remember their favorite product, and it is almost mandatory for multi-product sellers. Even though color-coding is already a trend in cannabis branding, you should do it. It works! The one caveat is to limit the number of colors used. If the number of category colors starts approaching double digits, you are probably giving too many options – and it probably won’t help you increase your sales.

To expand upon the color-coding point, one big mistake you should NOT make is to use similar colors with different products. It’s a big No-no. Humboldt Apothecary sells BluesAway and CannaBitters in packaging that is very hard to differentiate. It is easy to imagine someone mistaking one for the other, and the consequences of using a high THC appetite simulator instead of a CBD mood enhancer are not worth contemplating.

Another important thing to remember when choosing colors is to make sure that your branding color does not have to compete with your category colors. Some companies, like Marqaha, for example, have such bold category colors that they risk confusing their customers. Even their logo is not always consistent.

You must be discerning and tasteful with color choices.

If you think you might have a problem and you can’t seem to get it right in the design stage yourself, think about hiring a consultant to help you out. The one thing you cannot do is to confuse or annoy your customers. If you offer too many choices, you risk limiting your sales. There has been a truckload of research papers dedicated to proving this point.
It has been said many times that using a trend in cannabis branding is only good business practice when you know you are using a trend. A great example of this point is Sow Eden. They use marijuana green, but it doesn’t make you think of pot. Their designs are tastefully done, the green paired with blue so that it makes you think of the earth and the land, or a forest and water. It also has a kind of yin and yang vibe. Using a cannabis branding trend in this way is absolutely fine and shows great creativity.

Summary

Don’t just use green because you think that is the trend in cannabis branding. Use green with creativity, put some serious thought into your designs, and be tasteful and original. If you do, using a green color in your designs can help turn your brand into something you are proud of. Be discerning, get opinions, do some research, and use a design professional if you think you need help.

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