Industry Insights

Do You Want To Separate Your Cannabis Brand From The Pack Via Packaging Design?


Adam Steinberg


If you're looking to set your cannabis brand apart from the competition, packaging design is a great way to do it. By following a few simple, but less than obvious, tips, you can create packaging that is uniquely attractive to consumers and functional for retailers. From standardized packaging components to POS display considerations, you’re going to want to read this.

Standardize, focus on dynamic label printing

The U.S. cannabis industry is a mishmash of markets so different that you might as well consider them different planets. Different market dynamics, different brands, different retailers, different regulations, and different packaging and labeling requirements. As a result, many multi-state brands design and purchase state-specific packaging in order to conform to each state’s packaging and label regs.

There is another way: standardize core packaging components (mylar pouch, jar, tube, etc.) across all markets and leverage labels that you print locally, or ideally in-house, for all the variable info that differs depending on a particular state’s requirements. Standardization enabled by in-house label printing will allow you to place larger orders and reduce your per unit cost. You can then pass those savings onto your customers at a time in the cannabis industry in which price (and potency) are the name of the game. 

Legal cannabis states

Slim packaging requires slim vault space

While the average size of a dispensary has grown in recent years, most cannabis retailers are relatively small, like a bodega in Manhattan. Their inventory rooms (“vaults”) are even smaller. While maybe not quite as painful as inventory that doesn’t move, most buyers dislike products with hefty packaging. Hefty packaging takes up limited space. All things being relatively equal, a buyer is going to choose a product with slimmer packaging simply because they can order the same number of units but use less space. If you want to win in the buying room, minimize your packaging dimensions. On top of that, if you can optimize your label printing and application process so that dispensary inventory managers can easily identify and pull the right product out of a box or enclosed space, you’ll be golden.

Dogwalkers pre-roll packaging

Compact POS displays 

If we know that the average dispensary inventory room is small, you can probably guess that counter space (near the register) and display case dimensions are fairly limited as well. We also know that front-and-center placement and/or proximity to the register bodes well from a sales standpoint. To give your brand the best chance of getting that prime place in a limited-space environment, focus on designing compelling but compact POS displays. A dispensary manager is always looking for ways to improve the aesthetic and vibe of their shop. If you can help them do this while also minimizing the impact on available space, your chances of getting prime placement are more than solid. 

Kiva point-of-sale

Make potency big and bold

Today’s average cannabis consumer is fairly predictable. Price and potency are king and queen. Whether you like it or not, you might as well cater to what the consumer is looking for. Make potency big and bold on your packaging and highlight the fact that he or she is getting more bang for their buck. Your sales team will thank you later.

Cresco packaging

Choose the least frustrating CR packaging

In almost every state, child-resistant packaging is required for cannabis products. Unfortunately, a good portion of the CR-packaging geared towards cannabis brands is TOO child-resistant; your average 35-year old can barely open products. This is a frustrating experience to say the least. Focus on CR packaging designs that are as easy to open as possible and your customers will thank you. 

Child-resistant packaging


As a cannabis owner your top priority is to meet the consumer where they are, build and maintain loyalty, and reach new buyers. Packaging is a big component here. Set yourself up for success and partner with a team like KtiPrint that is heavily experienced in the cannabis space who can help optimize for the industry’s unique wants and needs.