I N T R O D U C I N G
Jane West is preparing to launch her own line of products this year, and I had the amazing opportunity to work on designing her packaging. One of her first products is The Weekender; a portable sorted tray which comes with a lighter and one hitter or, as Jane calls it, a "onesie." The opposite side of the tray can hold your cannabis - and you can even separate your buds by strain if your heart desires.
Jane asked me to come up with four different design directions based off of Jane's mood boards for her first two products (see The Tube at the bottom of this post). My task was to create a label that would wrap around these natural-colored containers by Sustainable Packaging Industries - made from recycled cardboard and 100% recyclable. Specifications included working in only black and white and the use of Jane's logo, "Shop Jane West" in a box, "#takeflight," barcode, title, and the product's description - one that was in as few words as possible.
When thinking about designs for this product, the goal was to create something graphic and modern. These days, modern = simple, and gorgeous typography is the best way to accomplish that aesthetic. Because of this, the majority of time spent on this project went to scouting out and picking the best fonts available to reflect the design directions I was looking for.
DESIGN DIRECTION #1
This retro-inspired direction utilizes a diagonal pattern of lines with a pop of red. The lines form peaks that reflect the idea of reaching higher; the motion is a visual description of Jane's hashtag, "#TakeFlight."
Thin + Vertically Wrapped Band
Thick + Horizontally Wrapped Band
DESIGN DIRECTION #2
This direction utilizes only lowercase letters (of our favorite font, Helvetica). I chose to use a thin band to reflect and compliment the minimal aesthetic of the lowercase letters. The band transitions from black to white as it smoothly wraps around the container's exterior.
Thick + Vertically Wrapped Band
Thin + Horizontally Wrapped Band
DESIGN DIRECTION #3
This option imagined the label as a hard-edged rectangle instead of smoothly wrapping around the package. It was intended to be bold yet simple by utilizing only capitalized letters and a single font. This boldness was enhanced via the thickness of the band.
DESIGN DIRECTION #4
DESIGN DIRECTION #5
Packaging design requires assembling lots of mockups - but it's a part of packaging design I love. I have a whole box of bands that are marked up. I would do a design, print it, cut it out, and wrap it around the container - usually to find that one piece is slightly off. I would go and fix that piece of the design, but then something else would be off the next time. I also had to think about how the packages would look when they were arranged in the store. Repetition can have a lot of visual impact, so I printed test versions to make sure that things were going to line up in a visually pleasing way when it came time to design the point of purchase display.
At the 2016 Women Grow Leadership Summit, I brought the designs I had been working on so that I could get feedback from our network while we had some of the most brilliant minds in the industry gathered together. I set up a table in the Networking Lounge on Friday of the conference, and had the pleasure of talking to people all day about the different designs.
Of course, just about everyone had a different opinion about the designs. Every single design was chosen both as someone's most and least favorite option. But when I started asking more detailed questions about what they were drawn to in a design, I was able to gain insight into how they were perceiving the product - and evaluate if it aligned with our goal. This gave me ideas on ways to improve the designs.
For example, I had more than one person say that the diagonal pattern was too overwhelming and distracting, and could turn off older consumers. On the flip side, I had multiple people tell me that the diagonal pattern was the most dynamic and interesting of all the options and caught their attention right away. What I took away from this was that if our target audience is a younger generation, the diagonal pattern would be a success - if we were looking to target a wider audience, we may want to figure out a way to tone down the use of the pattern.
We personally preferred the diagonal pattern option over others, so I paid special attention to peoples' comments on this design. I seriously evaluated the comment about the pattern being overwhelming, and could see that it may be a valid concern. A couple of ideas I came up with to utilize the pattern in other ways were to combine a small rectangle or sliver of the pattern with the all caps design, or to wrap the product in tissue paper with the pattern printed on it to create a visual "surprise inside" setup so that it wasn't too overwhelming on the shelf.
The Tube is another product Jane will be coming out with soon. The Tube offers you portable vaporizer pen protection for vapes such as the O.PenVAPE, Bhang pen, or Evoxe so that it isn't damaged rolling around in your backpack, purse, or suitcase. These are possible point of purchase display designs.
Jane took the first prototype of The Weekender on the air of The Cannabist to give to Ricardo Ricardo Baca!
Copyright © 2016 Kristen Williams, All Rights Reserved