In Brands, Insight, Marketing, Retail

“It is incredible to think that what was once illegal and sold in plastic bags now has a bona fide design system,” wrote PrintMag.com. Vireo—a physician-led company dedicated to providing patients with best-in-class cannabis-based products—sought a design team that could convey the following message via sleek packaging: to increase the perceived design value of the brand, to better introduce medical cannabis as a physician-prescribed, healthier solution.

Replace, a Minneapolis-based brand design firm, accomplished exactly this.

Jeff Johnson, founder and owner of Replace, sat down with PrintMag and discussed the importance behind brand identity design for medical-marijuana companies. Although Johnson knew of the deep-seeded societal negativity toward the beneficial green plant, he was up for the Vireo design challenge because Replace has been “designing disruptive brands in the alternative health and wellness world for decades.” Johnson stated that he had “been waiting for a client like Vireo for [his] entire career [in order] to show how you can use the language and advantages of the unified design approach to better communicate the benefits of medical cannabis.” From seed, to greenhouse, to sale, Vireo is dedicated to compassionate care, and Replace knew how to convey this essence.  

Johnson and his team understood that Vireo desired a one-part pharma and one-part high-end apothecary/wellness vibe to their packaging. “The design needed to communicate a balance of medical safety and the lifestyle improvement aspects of freedom and relief,” shared Johnson. Sterility, trustworthiness, and medical safety were at the forefront of the creative process, but Replace knew that “the brand needed to be somewhat celebratory,” so that is where the vibrant color spectrum came into play.

The best part about the spectrum is its sophisticated dual purpose: to be a vibrant visual brand asset and to serve as a color-coding tool to indicate the levels of THC and CBD in each product. “The logomark itself” said Johnson, “was designed to communicate the idea of freedom, and since vireos are a family of birds, it made sense to design a flying, bird-like logomark.”

Replace also helped Vireo design the first medical cannabis posters to ever be displayed in the New York Subway System. These Vireo NY and Replace design collabs have proven to be major creative successes, and I hope both companies continue to fly high just like Vireo’s logo (and customers). 

To read the full interview with Jeff Johnson, go to Printmag.com.

Photo: Vireo

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