When designing a logo for the cannabis industry, it’s important to understand several sections in the Cannabis Act and Regulation related to brand elements, packaging and promotion. Because of the many restrictions contained in the Act and Regulation, options for cannabis logo design are quite limited.
While these restrictions are specifically for cannabis companies that sell products to end users, such as Licensed Producers, Micro-cultivators, edibles and topicals manufacturers, they provide a useful guide for all cannabis companies because they help us understand what Health Canada deems most important – not making cannabis appealing to young persons.
For this reason, while many of these restrictions are specific to end user packaging and labeling, we have taken the approach at Cannabiz Social to apply the Cannabis Act and Regulations’ requirements to all cannabis related logos that we design for clients.
Generally speaking, cannabis logo design should avoid brand elements that contain people, characters or animals, whether real or fictional. Logo design should also not contain any visual elements that show a way of life associated with glamour, recreation, excitement, vitality, risk or daring.
When thinking about your cannabis brand name, shorter names are easier to work with because of the sections of the Act that talk about the size of the brand element relative to the standard cannabis symbol, which must be displayed on all packaging.
So, what are the specific restrictions in the Cannabis Act that could impact cannabis logo design?
The most obvious restrictions in the Cannabis Act that impact cannabis logo design are in the Brand Name section – section 130 (4), which state:
(4) The brand name that is required to be included on a label must meet the following requirements:
(a) It must be in a type size that is smaller than or equal to the type size used for the health warning message;
(b) It must not be a colour that has the luster of metal or has metallic properties in the ink, such as Pantone Metallics or Pantone Premium Metallics;
(c) It must not have a colour that is fluorescent, has fluorescent properties in the ink or has pigments that absorb ultraviolet energy and transmit it as a long wavelength, such as the Pantone 800 series; and
(d) It must be displayed only once on the principal display panel, or if there are separate display panels for English and French, only once on each principal display panel
Another section of the Act that should be considered is 130 (9) (d), which states:
(9) A label may include only one brand element, other than a brand name, if that brand element meets the following requirements:
Sections (a) – (c) and the same as above.
d) If the brand element is an image, the surface area must be smaller than or equal to the surface area of the standardized cannabis symbol;
Further, section 131 states that “A representation, such as an illustrations, sign, mark or symbol or design, that so closely resembles the standardized cannabis symbol that it is likely to be mistaken for that symbol must not appear on any container in which a cannabis product is packaged.
Finally, the Cannabis Act and regulations prohibits packages, labels and promotions that:
● Could be appealing to young persons;
● Sets out a testimonial or endorsement;
● Depicts a person, character, animal, whether real or fictional;
● Shows a way of life associated with glamour, recreation, excitement, vitality, risk or daring; and
● Contains information that is false, misleading or deceptive or is likely to create an erroneous impression.
As you can see by the various sections of the Cannabis Act and regulations, cannabis logo design can be tricky, but is also very important. Because of the restrictions on promotional activities in the Cannabis industry, your cannabis brand and associated logo must be well thought out and carefully vetted.
Your cannabis brand must make an immediate impact and it must tell your target audience your brand’s story, but you are very restricted in the ways you can accomplish this – for this reason, its important to consult with an expert with experience in the industry when designing your cannabis logo.
If you would like to speak to Cannabiz Social about your cannabis logo and brand design needs, please don’t hesitate to reach out.