Imagine Pot Was Legal. How Would You Brand It?

Woeful state budgets have relit the long-burning debate about pot legalization—couldn’t California rescue itself by making weed legal, then taxing it? Meanwhile, more than 40% of Americans now favor legalization–which is the highest portion since the 1980s; Nate Silver, at FiveThirtyEight, has watched the trends and estimates that popular support will become overwhelming in 15 years time.

So Print, the hoary graphic-design magazine, posed a challenge to four top designers: How should the package of legal weed actually look? Each of them took a radically different approach.

Lust, a graphic designpractice in Amsterdam, tackled the controversy of the product head-on—albeit in a very dry, very arch manner. They opted to cover the package in infographics about weed, and its effects–which they claim would create an anti-brand brand, and also, presumably, turn the product into something more neutral than the demon weed. The only stoner reference is the Jamaican & Rastafarian color themes:

(Photo via Fast Company)

The New York office of Base workedwith its branches in Europe, to create a goofy nod towards weed’s illegal past, with containers made from repurposed packaging from other brands–in other words, a reference to the stash boxes ubitquitous in dorm rooms all over the country:

Strømme Throndsen, an Olso firm that won the 2009 Award for Design Excellence for its flour packaging, produced the design strategy most likely to make it to the real world: Their packaging concept is modular, with a big box containing smaller packages, so that the user need only take whatever they need with them. Inside, the invididual cases could be branded to suit different demographics–which, by the looks of it, would include a red-eyed Apple designer and Paris Hilton:

TheHeads of State, a Philadelphia duo comprising Jason Kernevich and DustinSummers, wanted to stick with the illicit connotations of the drug–pointing out that to eliminate that bad-boy rep is to do a disservice to the product (and it’s various brand connotations). So they kept the whole “bag of weed” concept, and branded the various strains with goofy stickers:

Read more about all the entries at Print, which just relaunched its Web site today.

Imagine Pot Was Legal. How Would You Brand It?