Cannabis

packaging

With the cannabis market exploding and more and more states pushing legalization,

Berry wanted to be ahead of the game. Our goal was to learn anything and everything

about current packaging on the market and how it effects stakeholders to uncover opportunities that we can solve with innovative packaging solutions. We visited Colorado and met with users, grow facilities, dispensaries, packaging distributors, and concentrate/edible manufacturers to understand their current process and problems associated with it.

My Role: 

I planned and conducted all aspects of this project.

My strategy manager was great to bounce ideas if needed

and to review plans and deliverables as I completed them.

Research & Activities:

Secondary Research - used to understand the market and legal restrictions

Exploratory Research (Dscout) - used to get a base understanding

Contextual Inquiry - in-context field research to dive deep

Team: 

Design Strategy Manager

Industrial Designer

Biggest Challenge:

Recruiting from another state without using an agency – cold calling is NOT fun!

Favorite Part of Project:

The characters I got to meet were far from boring, but I truly enjoyed impacting innovation in a rapidly growing movement.

THE PLAN

272 Applications              18 Scouts

145 Entries                        2 Parts

APPLICATION/INVENTORY

Asked questions focused on what types of

products they purchase, reasons they use the

product, and their favorite package & why.

1 - MOMENTS

Asked users to show any moment they interacted

with a cannabis product and it's packaging "as they

are talking to someone who has never seen it before."

We learned how users interact with products and

how packaging influences their experience.

2 - STEPS

Asked users to Identify four steps that impact

experience positively or negatively.  By diving into

the specifics of each step we learned which steps

of the process was currently working and which

had the greatest opportunities.

CONTEXTUAL INQUIRY

CONSUMERS - 60 min. sessions

Participants

410 Observations

DISCUSSION & OBSERVATION

Our visits were geared to learn and observe 

user's goals, challenges, and desires within

their interactions. Some of the topics covered include child-resistance, portability, freshness, preparing, opening, and dosing.

BUSINESSES - 90 min. sessions

10 Places of Business

249 Observations

DISCUSSION

The discussion was focused on how each business fits packaging into their process and what hurdles they have experienced along the journey.

OBSERVATION

While visiting businesses we were able to

observe all aspects of the product process,

from growing to packaging and being processed

into other forms, to the moment consumers

purchase and consume products.

SECONDARY RESEARCH

MARKET

Gained a foundational understanding of demographics, categories, products and packaging within the landscape.

LEGAL

With the legal regulations and restrictions on cannabis and its packaging, it was imperative that we understood these restrictions before ideation.

THE FINDINGS

CATEGORY LANDSCAPE

DSCOUT

BUSINESSES

 

COMPLIANCE

Companies' top concern is compliance

and the MED is constantly enforcing

stricter regulations regarding packaging

and label requirements making it

difficult for them to keep up

DIFFERENTIATION

As the industry moves forward, companies are

beginning to focus on how they can differentiate

themselves by focusing on packaging and branding

EFFICIENCY

Companies are trying to maximize process efficiency

through packaging because current inefficiencies are

costing them money by taking extra time and labor

CONSUMERS

FRESHNESS

Fresh flower provides better flavor, a better

high, and a longer lasting high so people

take extra measures to keep it fresh

TRAVEL

Although cannabis is legal in Colorado,

people still feel the need to be careful about

carrying it in public so they seek convenient

discretion for on-the-go occasions

PREPARING

Extra steps, messes, and cleaning are all

barriers for the primary drivers for using

cannabis - relaxation, fun, and relief

 

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THE OUTCOME

BUSINESSES

EFFICIENCY

Eliminate manual labor

through packaging design?

COMPLIANCE

Make a package that is

impossible for kids to open?

DIFFERENTIATION

Make a package that can be used

for a variety of cannabis products?

HOW MIGHT WE...

CONSUMERS

FRESHNESS
Make it impossible for a flower

to dry out in its package?

PREPARING
Eliminate the need to touch and handle

flower when preparing and dispensing it?

TRAVEL
Make a flower package

comfortable to carry in a pocket?

IDEATION REFINEMENT

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WHERE WE ARE

 

The project's final concepts are patented and currently in unit mold production. With the cannabis market growing exponentially, this project has received a lot of attention and interest. We are expecting to have the first run soon to hopefully bring these products to market making cannabis packaging safer and more user friendly.

 

WE'VE GOT PRESS, CHECK IT OUT: 

http://www.studioblueclover.com/

https://www.packagingstrategies.com/

https://www.plasticsnews.com/

https://www.bloomberg.com/

THE DETAILS

PRELIMINARY RESEARCH

& PLANNING

category landscape.

Starting off I looked at the market

to understand the primary products

with the largest market share. This helped

us narrow our focus during research and again ideation to prioritize our efforts.

While looking at demographics we learned that while younger people are the primary users, older generations are increasing

use as well (due to medicinal benefits).

Older generations are more likely to

use products not required to be

smoked like edibles, topicals, or pills.

demographics.

exploratory research. 

Dscout was especially helpful with

this project as we truly had little

knowledge of the cannabis world.

Using Dscout we were able to

understand the types of packages and interactions people were experiencing prior to traveling to Colorado to dive deeper.

observations.

Each entry on

dscout includes a

video accompanied with questions. With

145 entries we were able to see first-hand people's experiences interacting with cannabis packaging.

statistics.

While we only had 18 scouts

in our mission, we had 272 apply. Using the questions we asked

in the screener we were able

to see a snapshot of how people use cannabis within their daily life. Ironically, cannabis is commonly thought of as a substance

included in parties, but zero percent of participants associated cannabis with partying.

USERS

6 participants
1 hour interviews
5:38 hours of video
410 Observations

stakeholder map.

Users, budtenders, and operators primarily interact with cannabis and its packaging. Others are more backstage, but are just as important within the process.

personas.

While many people use

cannabis for a variety of

reasons, we identified

three primary groups.

People want

- to feel better

- to relax

- to have fun

journey maps.

While with users we observed

their interactions with their products. Each product type required different steps and

tools with each having their

own benefits and pitfalls.

key observations.

While synthesizing the data, patterns emerged. I grouped

like-minded comments and observations to pull some

key observations from

each unveiled category.

Categories:

- opening

- package

- preparing

- travel

- dispensing

- transferring

- mess

- identification

example video.

I find videos to be one of the most important takeaways for stakeholders. Although they weren't there during the interviews, they are able to witness key moments that occurred. For each category of observations, I create a corresponding video using Premiere Pro.

This video is an overview of flower >

FRESHNESS

Fresh flower provides better flavor, a better

high, and a longer lasting high so people

take extra measures to keep it fresh

TRAVEL

Although cannabis is legal in Colorado,

people still feel the need to be careful about

carrying it in public so they seek convenient

discretion for on-the-go occasions

PREPARING

Extra steps, messes, and cleaning are all

barriers for the primary drivers for using

cannabis - relaxation, fun, and relief

BUSINESSES

10 participants
1-2 hour interviews
5:17 hours of video
249 Observations

process overview.

While there are many different products containing cannabis compounds, they all start

from the plant itself. This map shows the process from

growing the plant to preparing

it in a few of its many forms.

Overall companies were primarily focused on keeping up with the ever-changing regulations. They wanted to be prepared for an unexpected change, but were also trying to maximize efficiency within their packaging process.

key observations.

check it out!

I find videos to be one of the most important takeaways for stakeholders. Although they weren't there during

the interviews, they are able to witness

key moments that occurred. For each category of observations, I create a corresponding video.

This video is an overview

of business challenges >

COMPLIANCE

Companies' top concern is compliance and the

MED is constantly enforcing stricter regulations regarding packaging and label requirements

making it difficult for them to keep up

DIFFERENTIATION

As the industry moves forward, companies are

beginning to focus on how they can differentiate

themselves by focusing on packaging and branding

EFFICIENCY

Companies are trying to maximize process efficiency

through packaging because current inefficiencies are

costing them money by taking extra time and labor

KEY USABILITY TAKEAWAYS

& IDEATION

With the cannabis market containing so many different products, we identified some key attributes for each and prioritized them using

our research findings.

To help narrow our focus

we developed key takeaway

pages explaining the biggest challenges for the primary cannabis categories. 

insights & opportunities.

In order to develop new innovative packaging, we needed to understand what was already on the market. I gathered different packages that we saw and others on the internet to use as a baseline for what is already available.

packaging landscape.

Cannabis products are very complex and require many different tools to consumer the product. I gathered typical tools cannabis users own to help

provide an understanding of the preparation process and what consumers are currently using.

tools used.

Make it impossible for flower

to dry out in it's package?

Make a flower package

comfortable to carry in a pocket?

Eliminate the need to touch

and handle flower when

preparing and dispensing it?

HOW MIGHT WE...

Using our findings from research we developed a set of

"how might we's" to encourage innovative ideas through

ideation. Our ideation sessions consisted of quick post-ups, group thinks, and pass-the-sketch ideas. These sessions

cover the research so each idea has the user in mind.

concept refinement.

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final concepts & updated personas.

Copywrite Samantha Bennett 2019