Location: United States
Project Type: Produced
Client: Aura Cannabis
Product Launch Location: United States
Packaging Contents: Cannabis
Packaging Substrate / Materials: Textured paper, rigid box, glass bottle
Printing Process: Lithographic printing, foil stamping
Premium packaging for an elevated experience.
Aura grows meticulously crafted, world-class cannabis designed for users to enhance their day-to-day experiences. Zenpack and Haptik Studio developed an atypical brand identity, packaging, photography, and a website that offers a modern alternative in a crowded market.
In a marketplace overflowing with antiquated cannabis stereotypes, Aura stands out as a lifestyle brand for confident, empowered customers looking for the highest quality cannabis. They approached Zenpack and our partner agency, Haptik Studio, to elevate the brand identity and develop packaging designed to present their products as accessories for life enhancement. The packages needed to be tactile, warm and bold, satisfying to open and beautiful while resting on a coffee table. Aura also needed a variety of cannabis containers that communicated their brand across a variety of materials, surfaces, and materials.
Haptik and Zenpack developed a unique brand identity and style guide that extends from the website all the way through to packaging. Aura offers a fresh approach to cannabis by describing the strains as profiles—Blaze, Roar, Cosmic and Flare—designed for customers to learn more about the effects so they can personalize their experience based on individual goals. Each profile comes to life through vibrant colors, specialized printing, and premium materials, inviting the customer to make a deeper connection with the products inside.
Recreational cannabis is still a very young industry. While cultivation for medical use has been thriving for the past few decades, recreational cannabis wasn’t legalized in California until late 2016. Now 15 states allow recreational use. In a rush to stock dispensary shelves, brands relied on tired stereotypes that glossed over the health benefits of cannabis. Currently, customers are bombarded with traditional visuals of graffiti, excessive graphics, and an array of kraft paper colors borrowed from the organic foods industry. Aura wanted to stand out in the sea of cartoonish green marijuana leaves with an approachable yet refined brand identity.
The brand needed to reach a new audience while honoring their cannabis expertise. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Aura has over 75 years of combined cultivation experience. They knew the rejuvenating power of their plants, but they needed their customers to understand as well. Aura was on a mission to present the finest cannabis in the world as more than just something to consume, but a restorative tool. This unconventional approach would require a comprehensive branding study and industry research.
Aura wanted an elegant, sophisticated, and powerful brand identity. From a graphic design standpoint, the main challenge was depicting the “aura cloud” and the four effects, abstract concepts more suitable for words. Aura imagined their brand to be more like a winery with distinct varieties intended for steady enjoyment, one sip at a time.
The branding would also come to life across multiple surfaces, materials, and mediums. Once the brand guide was established, Haptik and Zenpack would need to apply designs on jars, boxes, pouches, and the Aura website. Texture, color, and graphics had to be consistent in order to maintain the brand experience across physical and digital touchpoints.
The Aura logo is bold, emotional, and distinctive. The logo mark suggests an uplifting movement from an artistic brush stroke. The positive and negative space communicates both energy and calmness, which represents the wide array of products and their effects. The color palette is both functional as product line color codes and emotional as an abstraction for the effects. Overlapping to create new shades of the same color, biomorphic energy clouds flow across the packages, representing the exceptional moment when the customer and product combine to create something new.
The family of packages consists of glass jars, boxes, cartons, and pouches, including an innovative sliding box that unfolds to reveal pre-rolls in their own compartments. The four effects have distinct yet related color palettes unified across sturdy structures with textured paper and gold foil printing. The packaging elevates a ritual experience, inviting customers to enhance the moment and add magic to their lives.
We decided to use lithographic printing on textured paper for the entire labeling system, covering boxes, cartons, jars, and pouches. This semi-coated substrate provides a vibrant color palette while keeping the surface matte for the foil finish to come alive. More than a throw-away package, the substantial structure invites customers to cherish each item and look forward to the ritual experience. The reusable pre-roll packaging places each joint into its own sleeve, making each precious and protected. Interior textured paper, unexpected hits of gold foil messaging—every detail is intentional and designed to spark joy.
Once the packages were produced, we styled physical sets for each Aura profile. The resulting photographs capture the effects in their natural habitat, further developing the brand’s narrative and helping customers connect with the profile characteristics. We paired these photographs with product and bud descriptions, additional lifestyle photography, and a store locator to create a simple, user-friendly website.
The graphic treatment, cohesive color palette, and packaging system convey a personal, almost magical experience that makes the brand instantly memorable, leaving the customer with a pleasant after-taste. Launched in 2020, Aura is now available in select dispensaries across California. The brand is rapidly expanding throughout the state, and has become a popular option for customers using local delivery services in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Each package in the Aura set is intended for long term use and reuse, and the pre-roll container packs four pre-rolls in a compact, slide-and-unroll design that can be stashed in a pocket, backpack, or handbag.