Why Package Design is a Critical Decision for CBD Brands

Your CBD package design could be the difference between a lawsuit and increased profits. Work with our creative & production team and save your chances.

Think package design is relatively unimportant? One billion unboxing videos on YouTube would beg to differ. Great packaging has become an ever more important differentiator — and CBD package design is no exception.

Why brands need to get CBD package design right

The CBD market is experiencing propulsive growth, as consumers use oil-infused products for everything from health and wellness applications to beauty and skin regimens. As one of the fastest-growing consumer markets, many businesses are eager to jump into the fray and claim a slice of that ever-growing pie.

While that urgency is understandable, elements such as package design should not be de-emphasized in the race to get to market. Why? It’s simple:

  1. Great CBD package design is a competitive differentiator in a highly crowded market.
  2. CBD marketing ideas are subject to laws and CBD marketing regulations, and all designs must stay compliant. 

For years, CBD sat inside a “gray area” in terms of legality. The 2018 U.S. Farm Bill provided more clarity, legalizing CBD products on the federal level. Yet many restrictions remain in place, and some of these restrictions involve marketing and advertising.

First, it’s important to understand that CBD companies are under much greater regulatory scrutiny. If there is a misstep, fines and penalties may be assessed. This means that brands must exercise caution when determining what to include on their packaging.

CBD products need to be designated as either a food item or a health supplement. This may sound straightforward, but it’s not — many CBD products exist in the space where foods and supplements overlap. Once this determination is made, an FDA-approved food or supplement label needs to be affixed to each package.

Sellers must also include many of the standard labeling items:

  • Product volume
  • Ingredient list
  • Nutritional breakdown
  • Potency
  • Brand information

It’s also important to be aware that packaging and labeling requirements vary by jurisdiction. Indiana, for example, requires CBD package design to contain QR codes that can be used to reveal information about batch numbers, lab results, expiration dates, CBD / THC content, etc.

One more critical consideration: Brands need to be exceedingly cautious about making medical claims. The Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission have been cracking down on CBD brands that make unsupported health or medical claims about their products. The FDA alone targeted more than 450 CBD websites in 2018 for making unsupported marketing claims. 

This means any claims found on packaging need to be fully vetted and beyond dispute. Language that emphasizes words such as “natural,” “sustainable,” “healing,” etc. is far less likely to draw regulatory attention than language that makes a claim such as “CBD oil can be used to treat / cure” a specific disease.

CBD package design aesthetics

In addition to compliance, it’s also important to consider aesthetics. In this case, it’s essential to consider your audience. CBD brands that target a market where there is significant carryover with cannabis use will generally use product designs that are established within that space — think aggressive, not especially refined, and full of cannabis-related puns.

On the other hand, brands that incorporate CBD within their existing product line tend to follow current designs. An upscale skincare brand may use elevated design elements with an understated “infused with CBD oil” tagline included at the bottom.

For brands targeting a more general market, it’s advisable to avoid design elements or language that ties too closely to “4/20” culture, as this will have negative connotations for a sizable audience segment.

Instead, focus on natural and sustainable themes and a premium feel, as these elements are aligned with current consumer preferences.

The takeaway

Great CBD package design is an imperative for brands, both in terms of compliance and aesthetics. Our experts help clients realize their marketing objectives by creating visually stunning product designs, supported by innovative ad campaigns. Ready to take the next marketing step for your business? Reach out to us today! 

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