On 17 October, earlier this year, Canada became the second country in the world to legalise marijuana. Second, only to Uruguay, Canada is now the largest country in the world that legally sells the drug in a regulated system. Justin Trudeau’s government oversaw the turn in the law in an attempt to represent the changing stigma around marijuana, as well as prevent black market operations that persist in the rest of the world.
The Toronto-based studio Blok has been a long-time collaborator of 48North Cannabis Corp; a female-centred health and wellness organisation built around cannabis-based products. Blok has been working with the company to deliver a brand identity that tackles the changing opinions around the drug. They have designed a clear and approachable identity for 48North, providing complimentary visuals that assist the “opportunity to rethink the space” around marijuana completely.
Blok’s creative director Vanessa Eckstein discusses the “shifting paradigms” of the project. She tells It’s Nice That, “Canada is leading the way into a new environment”, setting a design precedence as to how the legal distribution of marijuana is branded. “Both creative thinking and the actual designs play an essential role in new ways of breaking down barriers and expanding people’s minds about the potentials of the plant”, explains Vanessa.
In this vein, Blok’s new design focuses on the expression of “humanity and ethics” that are central to 48North’s principal values. Muted, pastel colours suggest warmth and friendliness and the graphic design adds to these evocations of softness. The studio set out to “challenge existing visual languages within the landscape, bringing a new sensibility to the subject” which is often rooted in negativity. The studio seeks to “think about new ways of depicting the subject matter”, creating a flexible design that can work “within the shifting rules and regulations still in motion in the cannabis industry.”
The identity for 48North does just this. It presents the contentious subject of a previously banned drug, tastefully and sensitively. The choice in open, sans-serif fonts and off-white paper connotes a wholesome aesthetic and an alternative representation for the stigmatised subject’s bootleg past. For the design studio, and the way it sees it, “there is never anything more inspiring than when we explore a design that is far away from its extended output.”
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