Pacific Gold vape pen rendering

PACIFIC GOLD

(Mid)West Coast Vibes

Following up on the successful California launch of his brand Pacific Gold, the company’s founder, Jules, set his sights on the burgeoning cannabis market in Ohio. Now, anyone who calls the midwest their home knows what a great place it can be, but even the hardiest of us sometimes pines for a relaxing day on the beach, soaking in the mellow vibes of the California sun. That’s the feeling evoked by the Pacific Gold brand, originally created by the talented folks at Hoodzpah. Our task was to carry that vibe forward into a very different market without messing it up.

Luckily, we had a strong foundation to work with. First of all, we had the custom vape pen that Jules had painstakingly designed and prototyped into a sleek all-in-one disposable form factor. The existing brand guide and assets were solid. A few items were tweaked to conform to the stricter guidelines required by the State of Ohio. A few colors were added to the brand palette and one new typeface. The seal artwork needed to be reworked (more on that below). The biggest challenge was in rethinking the packaging to accomodate either the pen or a new 510-thread cartridge device as well as, again, adhering to specific state regulations.

services provided:

identity
photography
video
illustration
print
digital

Pacific Gold logo suite.

Logo suite.

Pacific Gold color palette.

Color palette.

Pacific Gold typography sample.

Typography.

The Seal

The round seal designed by Hoodzpah was deemed problematic by the state cannabis review board. As the program was still under a medical phase and recreational use had not yet been voted on and approved, we had to conform to a set of, let’s say, rigorous regulations which included the rule that cannabis plants could not be depicted on packaging, even as stylized illustrations. Our brainstorm was to replace the plants in the seal artwork with buckeye tree leaves. For those who aren’t familiar, Ohio is known as the “Buckeye State.” The review board gave the new seal design a hesitant thumbs-up. Other troublesome rules included no actual product shown in photography or video (though the devices were allowed), no sound in any video production, and no advertising (the definition of which was purposefully left vague).

Comparison of California Pacific Gold seal to Ohio version

The original California seal on the left; the redrawn Ohio seal (with buckeye leaves *wink wink*) on the right.

Pacific Gold stickers.

Stickers with the new seal artwork.

The Package

How do you advertise a product when advertising isn’t allowed? It helps to have really nice packaging. Something that stands out on a dispensary shelf, or looks great on Instagram. As with their other work, the California-specific cartons designed by Hoodzpah were beautiful, but unfortunately couldn’t be used for Ohio. Along with regulatory considerations, Jules wanted one box design that could accomodate both the existing vape pen and a new 510-thread vape cartridge. The pen would need to be reoriented which meant the carton became slimmer and taller. The label needed to allow for twice as much required data. And the child-resistant and child-proofing mechanisms needed to be rethought.

Several months later, two printers later, and after many rounds of mockups, prototypes, ink drawdowns, and revisions, we landed on the right combination of design, materials, and printing techniques. The original concept of three colorways was maintained to indicate the three strain types: indica, sativa, and hybrid. The colors were tweaked slightly in pursuit of a “sunwashed” effect. We agonized over just the right tone of gold foil. And one big win from a security as well as an accessibility perspective was a new locking mechanism that no longer required two hands to open. The new custom label blanks were printed with batch data in-house and applied at the grow facility. Each box got a sticker and an instruction card.

Pacific Gold old and new box comparison.

The original California box on the left; the new taller, slimmer box on the right.

Close-up photo of a Pacific Gold Blueberry vape package laying on a sandy beach with sunset lighting.

Embossing and foil stamping details on an indica box.

Pacific Gold Sativa box mockups for social media posts.
Pacific Gold Indica box mockups for social media posts.
Pacific Gold Hybrid box mockups for social media posts.

Vape device packaging in three colorways that distinguish indica, sativa, and hybrid varieties.

Pacific Gold vape device instruction cards.

Instruction card for the vape devices included in each box.

Extending the Brand

The Instagram account was relaunched with new box and pen imagery. We scheduled a photo shoot at a secret island location to establish a library of photography to use for social media and promotional materials. Brochures and related collateral were produced for educational and promotional events at dispensaries. An in-store display was created to showcase the six core strains and the vape pen. And, everyone’s favorite, swag!

On the left, the vape pen sitting on rocks with a tropical waterfall in the background, and on the right the vape pen sitting on a piece of driftwood on a sandy beach.
Pacific Gold vape pen against a black and white rocky background on the left, and on the right a Black hand holding the vape pen in front of a white wall with black graffiti and palm trees in the background.

The pen shot on location in the tropics.

We had fun making video shorts for social media. Sadly, without being able to use any form of advertising language or product claims, or music, or really any sound at all, we just had to come up with clever visuals. Imagine how much better this would be with a soundtrack (*sigh*).

Pacific Gold promotional z-fold brochure.

Promotional z-fold brochure.

Pacific Gold t-shirt on left; Pacific Gold monogram ballcap on right.

Apparel.

Pacific Gold dispensary display unit.

Dispensary display unit.

It’s our hope that our involvement with the Pacific Gold venture in Ohio was on a level with Jules’s passion for his products and attention to detail, and in keeping with his vision of an elevated cannabis brand that plays outside of the typical tropes. A laid-back but sophisticated experience. A warm beach when you need it on a cloudy day in the midwest.