Purple Line Media's Bold Homage to California
By: Casha Doemland
Sick and tired of looking at all the amateur packaging in the cannabis industry, Jason Foraker, an award-winning designer and Elizabeth Kost, a seasoned production artist, founded Purple Line Media in 2013. With a combined passion for cannabis and their expertise in consumer packaged goods and professional design communication, the duo elevated packaging for recreational and medicinal marijuana.
Five years later, Purple Line Media has a team of illustrators and designers and they continue to grow within the cannabis industry. We caught up with the founders of Purple Line Media to talk about their eye-catching project for Loud Packs and its celebration of all things California.
Walk us through the design process of Loud Packs. How did you go from start to finish on this project?
Elizabeth Kost: The Loud Packs project kicked off at the beginning of 2016, right after Prop 64 passed, legalizing recreational Marijuana in California. In light of the new market, Purple Line Media was approached by Green Line Delivery to develop pre-roll packaging that targeted California tourism. The founder of Greenline Delivery was previously involved with California’s Finest, one of the original mass market pre-roll brands in California.
When Loud Packs visited us at the studio, we discussed the “city” pack concept. Not only would it capitalize on tourism but it also gives resident Cannabis consumers a fun collectible item.
The design process started with the Loud Packs logo. “Loud Packs” is an urban term used to describe high-quality cannabis and the logo is a play on negative space. The word “Loud” appears to be getting louder as if it were in a megaphone. The word “Pack” takes on a box-like structure that ties into the box packaging that holds the pre-rolls.
For the box itself, we worked with our printers to develop a custom structure. The client wanted it to resemble a flip-top cigarette box and allow enough space for the pre-rolls and a lighter. Inside the box, the pre-rolls are packaged in branded sleeves sealed for freshness. To further elevate the packaging, the word “Premium” was placed on a red ribbon. Both the ribbon and the name of the city are embossed to emphasize the messaging and add a tactile experience.
How did each city cultivate the creativity for each of the designs?
Elizabeth Kost: We started our design research by looking at sports teams, specifically baseball and football. The Los Angeles pack uses the Dodgers’ colors and Oakland is the Oakland A’s. San Francisco uses the Giants’ colors while San Diego is The Chargers. For the Variety Pack, we chose the California State colors.
The varietal strains assigned to each city, are strains that are popularly associated with those particular cities.
What was one of the biggest goals you set out to achieve with the packaging and how did you accomplish it?
Elizabeth Kost: The goal was to create a premium pre-roll brand that is memorable, resonates in the recreational market and celebrates the diverse urban cultures and cities of California.
We knew the combination of sports and cities would resonate with the masses given the personal connection consumers have with their favorite teams – together they work hand-in-hand to create a sense of community pride. By using the colors of California sports teams in our packaging design it becomes a subliminal nod rather than a blatant reference.
For our font choice, we went with collegiate fonts to further accentuate the sports theme.
What was the most challenging part of this project?
Elizabeth Kost: The most challenging part of designing anything in the Cannabis space right now is compliance. Emergency packaging and labeling regulations were released in November of 2017, well after our client’s packaging had delivered. The new regulations outlined new labeling requirements forcing our client to sticker their packaging. In California, we are operating under emergency regulations until July 1st at which point the labeling requirements may change again. Ugh.
As a design studio that strictly operates in Cannabis, we often feel like we are building the plane as we fly down the runway. My advice to anyone building Cannabis brands right now is to be ready to pivot, don’t commit to a large number of dry-goods and try to remain flexible.
Also, if you are a designer looking to break into the Cannabis space, know your regulations first!
If you could pick one aspect of the finished design that you like the most or feel especially proud of, what would it be and why?
Elizabeth Kost: I think the embossing on the box is the finishing touch that pulls it all together. The city name is embossed so when a consumer goes to flip open the top they “feel” the type.
Stellar packaging designs go beyond the graphics themselves. What makes a package really sing is all of the little bits and pieces.
Share one lesson that you learned while developing the finished product.
Elizabeth Kost: With the current state of the industry, change is the norm and you may have to sticker your packaging. Regulations will continue to evolve and with it, you need to be willing to make concessions. At Purple Line Media we devote time to building amazing brands with luxurious and innovative packaging and it’s disappointing when our clients have to clutter the design with stickers due to changes in regulations.
In order to stay ahead of the curve, we constantly attend regulatory meetings and maintain direct contact with the California Department of Public Health and the Bureau of Cannabis Control. We advise our clients to be conservative with their dry goods purchasing and we audit our portfolio of clients packaging each time there is a change in regulation.