Ajay Patel
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Ontario Cannabis Store

Removing the Stigma

SOME BACKGROUND

Upon Ontario’s legalization of marijuana on October 17, 2018, a provincial government-run marijuana seller (Ontario Cannabis Store, or OCS) made Canadian history as the only legal recreational seller of marijuana in the province. Operating initially as an online channel with a delivery system, the retailer plans to sell a variety of products including fresh or dried cannabis, cannabis oil, seeds, and plants.

Simply put, OCS’s mission is to provide a safe and responsible online access to recreational cannabis. Additionally, its aim is to prevent sales to anyone intoxicated and/or under the designated legal purchasing age of 19. Therefore, their overall fundamental goal centres around not only protecting the youth and remaining positive community partners, but also eliminating the black market through careful strategy.

THE PROBLEM

The intent of the logo seems clear to produce a boring logo, where risk is anathema. Evidently, the public was not excited by the brand or ideas it conveyed. The current logo features a wordmark and a monogram represented in two variations. Legibility problems arise when scaling the 20-character wordmark to a smaller size. The overarching issue however is that audiences can’t mentally and visually connect the wordmark and/or monogram to Ontario Cannabis Store. It looks sterile, tired, and shameful. You can view their logo here.

MY STRATEGY

Although their unorthodox strategy of blandness is clear in the logo, careful consideration for this product and its design need to be reassessed. My aim was to reposition OCS’s visual passivity to a more explicit and dynamic spirit of the existing cannabis culture and the one in which it will permeate. Incorporating key pillars raw, responsible, and dynamic, I developed a responsive mark that distinguishes itself from the competing popularity of the black market.

As a consistent visual framework that can easily display on packaging, stationary, and ephemera, the brand utilizes vibrant colours (to represent a culture coming together) and bold type (to represent bold voices and quality). Most importantly, the identity doesn’t shame one for purchasing by debunking negative views on the drug.

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