Stay Gold Cannabis

Building a cannabis brand that believes that weed doesn’t have to be complicated or confusing.

Role: Art Direction, Design, Strategy, Copywriting 
Collaborator: Tyler Sporer

Our challenge was to build an iconic cannabis brand that stands out from the rest. A brand rooted in an emotional truth. A brand that appeals to the two fastest growing cannabis consumer segments: Boomers and Millennials.

Through our research — consumer interviews, retail site visits, desk research and competitive audits — we realized that when it comes to cannabis there is a lot of hype out there, and lots of dubious health efficacy claims. There are topicals, edibles, drops, flowers, oils, patches, pens, drinks, and even lotion.

Yes. Weed lotion.

Our competitive audit revealed that most cannabis brands are built on the same foundation. Most brands talk about what they offer: Top shelf, highest-quality cannabis. Many attempt to differentiate themselves by talking about how they do it. Some talk about their process: Sustainable farming, organic, sun-grown, hand-trimmed, low impact, no pesticides, all natural. Some talk about the science: Genetics library, strains.

Cannabis had become complicated.  It had become confusing.

Our ah-ha moment came when we wondered — When did cannabis stop being fun?

Framing the problem this way revealed the solution — we wanted to harken back to a time when cannabis was weed. A time when consuming it was social, simple, straightforward and, most importantly, fun.

We were inspired by a collection of visuals that communicated our three brand pillars — unpretentious, social, and generous. We wanted the brand to feel reliable like an old cast iron skillet, familiar like a hand-written receipt from your local diner, and fun like a gathering of close friends.

We built the brand out through a series of touchpoints including packaging, print ads, posters, website,  merchandise, and other bits of ephemera. The Stay Gold logo and packaging utilize sturdy, bold type and worn paper texture to communicate trust and authenticity. Typography is utilitarian and straightforward, while the tone of voice and copywriting is simple, straightforward with a touch of humor. Brand colors — muted oranges, blues, and greens — were inspired by the natural, organic elements required for cultivation, like the warm orange glow of a late summer sun.

© 2020 Adam Smith