Woeful state budgets have relit the long-burning debate about pot legalization---couldn't California rescue itself by making weed legal, then taxing it? Meanwhile, more than 40% of Americans now favor legalization--which is the highest portion since the 1980s; Nate Silver, at FiveThirtyEight, has watched the trends and estimates that popular support will become overwhelming in 15 years time.
So Print, the hoary graphic-design magazine, posed a challenge to four top designers: How should the package of legal weed actually look? Each of them took a radically different approach.
Lust, a graphic designpractice in Amsterdam, tackled the controversy of the product head-on---albeit in a very dry, very arch manner. They opted to cover the package in infographics about weed, and its effects--which they claim would create an anti-brand brand, and also, presumably, turn the product into something more neutral than the demon weed. The only stoner reference is the Jamaican & Rastafarian color themes:
The New York office of Base workedwith its branches in Europe, to create a goofy nod towards weed's illegal past, with containers made from repurposed packaging from other brands--in other words, a reference to the stash boxes ubitquitous in dorm rooms all over the country:
Strømme Throndsen, an Olso firm that won the 2009 Award for Design Excellence for its flour packaging, produced the design strategy most likely to make it to the real world: Their packaging concept is modular, with a big box containing smaller packages, so that the user need only take whatever they need with them. Inside, the invididual cases could be branded to suit different demographics--which, by the looks of it, would include a red-eyed Apple designer and Paris Hilton:
TheHeads of State, a Philadelphia duo comprising Jason Kernevich and DustinSummers, wanted to stick with the illicit connotations of the drug--pointing out that to eliminate that bad-boy rep is to do a disservice to the product (and it's various brand connotations). So they kept the whole "bag of weed" concept, and branded the various strains with goofy stickers:
Read more about all the entries at Print, which just relaunched its Web site today.
[Image: Flickr user Brett Levin]