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CASE STUDY

WOODWARD FINE CANNABIS

BRIEF

The team at Woodward Fine Cannabis recognized that to capture their share of the young, highly competitive Ohio medical cannabis market, their product would need to be easily identified and distinguishable as the premium choice over their competitors. Pulling from their 20 years of experience and extensive knowledge of the history of the industry, the owners drew inspiration from an early advocate, Dr. William Creighton Woodward, for their name. With little more than that, they turned to OKTHX to build a distinctive and durable brand that would communicate their passion for delivering the highest quality medical cannabis available in Ohio.

Woodward logo

OUTCOMES

  • A two-week design sprint resulting in the essential foundational elements of the Woodward Fine Cannabis brand
  • A design system that will grow with the company and the maturing Ohio market
  • Packaging design for 17 strains of medical cannabis
  • A website that succinctly communicates the values, aesthetics, and mission of the brand
  • An Instagram brand awareness campaign
  • Branded retail displays for dispensary partners
Woodward desk photo
Woodward containers on dark background

BRAND

The challenge was to quickly build an identity based on a historical figure who unfortunately is little more than a footnote today. Dr. Woodward was a physician as well as legislative counsel for the American Medical Association from 1922 to 1939. In the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act hearings before Congress, Dr. Woodward defended the AMA’s position that cannabis should be regulated but not prohibited.

Our approach was to take design cues from the early part of the twentieth century, when Dr. Woodward was active, but updated for modern sensibilities. The graphic design of the 20s and 30s provided a rich well of inspiration. We crafted an ornate logotype that could have existed when Dr. Woodward was practicing. A simple palette of black and charcoal with white and satin gold highlights gave us the basis for our label explorations. For pops of visual interest, and to help distinguish the strains from one another, we introduced colorful marbled paper patterns. Typography was carefully chosen, and an assortment of graphic embellishments in the style of engravings rounded out the design assets, including a secondary mark based on round eyeglasses worn by the doctor in one of his studio portraits.

Our strategy to roll out the brand was to tell Dr. Woodward’s story, which was the foundation of the brand, but then to swiftly move on from there. We wanted to journey to go from “Dr. Woodward” to simply “Woodward,” so as not to leave the brand mired in the past. Instagram was chosen as the vehicle to accomplish this. Being primarily a visual platform, we staged a photo shoot of an idealized version of the doctor’s physical desktop, replete with apothecary bottles, stacks of books and documents, personal letterhead, and appropriate props such as a vintage pair of wire-rim glasses. We deliberately chose items incorporating gold accents, which we allowed to show through as color highlights in otherwise black and white photographs. These were used to help tell the story of the brand for the first two weeks of postings.

Woodward spectacles photo
Woodward notebook photo
Woodward stationery photo
Doctor Woodward artwork
Woodward Spectacles mark

DIGITAL

An initial age-restricted landing page was created for the brand rollout, and then extended to a full site over the next few months. Dedicated informational pages for each strain were drafted, accessed by cards on the home page. A list of dispensaries carrying Woodward products was enhanced by a search function for finding dispensaries in a customer’s area by city or ZIP code. An About page and an FAQ page rounded out the menu. A sign up form gathered email addresses for future customer engagement.

Woodward website desktop
Woodward website mobile
Woodward website tablet

ABOVE AND BEYOND

As the first round of labels were applied by hand, and watching as orders increased dramatically, it pained us to think of the staff doing their best to line them up by eye. So we built a simple wooden jig with guidelines drawn in Sharpie marker and presented it to the owners. Shortly after that they asked for more. And when we heard the staff were fighting over who got to use the jigs each day, we laughed and built a few more.

Blueberry Cheesecake

We’ve been impressed with how quickly OKTHX has helped us build our Woodward brand from the ground up, essentially hitting the ground running, while being considerate of the challenges posed by the many regulations in this very new market.

CONCLUSIONS

Not long after the first strains were available in dispensaries, patient reactions began to show up on Instagram. It became apparent that a high quality product paired with a killer brand identity had garnered a home run. After a few weeks we were already seeing comments expressing strong brand loyalty. Dispensaries were impressed, too, and began reaching out to the Woodward Fine Cannabis team with ideas about promotional partnerships, as well as offering up branded retail space in their facilities.