Every time I pay a visit to a recreational shop, the back counters are littered in chaos, scattered products trying to scream to me, trying to stick out, trying to do their job. Trying. It’s been fascinating watching this industry transform and take shape in such fast fashion. Categories are being defined, companies are floating to the top of everyone’s list as the ‘real-deal’, while others are being called out for donkey-carrot tendencies.
Meanwhile, CBD is spreading like syrup on Sunday morning – but not many are talking about Delta-8 THC? Known as a subtle, clear-minded, feel good experience, with different psychoactive properties that its infamous partner in crime delta-9 THC.
The Delta-8 Category – the driving factor in this Empire brand extension. This is where our work comes into play. How do you uniquely capture function and experience within a design system, that truly SCREAMS, in a me-too rich environment?
By utilizing the strength of complimentary color hues, partnered with subtle illustrative notes, we were able to capture the clear minded, psychoactive essence of the product – making a visual promise at first site. This foundation to the delta-8 design system, the element that allows flexibility for a high-turn industry. Offering opportunity, to insert visual flavor cues, strain origin, SKU differentiation and more. This unique, chameleon-like foundation was built with the intention of covering multiple sub-categories, all supporting a rainbow list of sub-products.
Signature inverted Delat-8 lockup & band – this key design element stands tall, and also retains chameleon like powers. It shifts with flavor cues and acts as a platform for the hero: the product defining name. It is also boldly framed as the sub-hero, to efficiently communicate what this product is NOT, the most common suspect: delta-9 THC.
The powerful use of white space – from any given perspective offers depth, and the framework for communicating key product details, with a clear minded, no bullshit approach. The nature of the white space acts as a two-sided band, and it’s visual strength grows when the products are grouped together. Which plays as a strength in most retail settings, for most hanging products are presented in a row. A herd if you will, or better yet – all ducks in a row. Clean. Organized. Ready.
The next key factor in this brand extension, is the Empire umbrella design system – you always got to check with mom and dad right? They seem to always have it figured out, right? Well, in this case it pays off. This inherited design language instantly communicates key farm features, claims Empire is truly proud of and wants the world to know about. Such as: compliancy, pesticide and heavy-metals free farming, strain history, product lab results and more.
1. Chameleon-like Foundation - communicating top product features at-a-glance, such as flavor and key product attributes. Carrying this design language into multiple packaging solutions.
2. Delta-8 lockup & band – establishing the framework for clear delivery of unique product details.
3. Whitespace – establishing the framework for a clear delivery of unique product details.
4. Umbrella brand system – delivering key information from the farm.
This full cycle design system covers multiple subcategories of all sizes, activating 12+ flavor profiles out of the gates, with the foundation set for many more to follow. This brand extension carried over seamlessly into email marketing, aligned social campaigns and an asset library, ripe and ready for-the-picking. It was built with the intention of instant results, and boyyyyy – did it deliver. Pushing month-over-month sales and strengthening vendor relations.
It was pleasure working with Empire throughout this campaign development process – a journey of late night laughter and think tank curveballs