Cannabis Design 101: Balancing White Space, Color and Fonts

In design by Nicole Flanigan

You know the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words”? Visual content (like branded imagery and videos) is just one of many forms of content that cannabis brands can use to create more memorable and engaging content for their audience. Thanks to the power of visuals, many cannabis marketers and cannabis business owners turn to DIY graphic design when they want to create content that is more appealing than long-form text content.

The problem is that a lot of us just don’t know where to begin when it comes to cannabis design. Is less more? What kind of fonts and colors should you use? What about the use of white space? Can you use stock photos? The fact is that strategic use of color with whitespace and typography can make a huge difference when it comes to improving the way your visual content looks, even as a cannabis brand.

Here’s a basic crash course on cannabis branding and imagery to help you get a better understanding of the essentials of cannabis design.

Color Essentials

One of the most difficult things about cannabis design is how to use color effectively for whatever it is you’re making. Color has a huge influence on the way someone perceives a design because color is so closely connected to our emotions. You ever see red when you’re angry or feel blue when you’re sad?

The purpose of your color choice is to convey a particular feeling, mood, or emotion to whoever is viewing your visual content, so how can you make sure your color choices make sense?


Cannabis Design: Contrasting Colors with a Color Wheel

Cannabis Design: Contrasting Colors

Start by using a simple contrasting color scheme so you can draw focus to particular areas of your visual design. A contrasting color scheme uses colors found across from one another on the color wheel. For example, purple and yellow are contrasting colors because they are across from each other on the wheel pictured left. The contrasting color scheme will direct the eye to the key information in your design like icons, keywords, key info, and other data points. It will also create visual interest, which is important if you want to get your point across. Many cannabis designers stick to green and purple, so feel free to create something different that matches your brand’s tone and vibe.

Creating a color scheme from scratch can be difficult even for seasoned cannabis graphic designers, so I always recommend that newbie designers check out user-generated color palettes through free apps like Colour Lovers (my personal favorite) or Color Hunt to find inspiration. Use the popular filter to help you find which palettes work the best.

Creating White Space

A lot of newbie designers feel like the more stuff you include in a design the better your design will be. However, a design becomes tedious for the eye to process if there’s just too much going on with it. This is why many professional designers opt to utilize white space. White space, also known as negative space, is exactly what it sounds like: blank space around or between the elements of your design.

Cannabis Design: Apple Ad Featuring White Space

Cannabis Design: Apple Ad Featuring White Space

A good example of the use of white space is the visuals put out by Apple. Apple utilizes blank space on almost all of its visuals which makes it so the emptiness forces the viewer to focus entirely on the product.

To improve your cannabis designs, keep in mind that less is more. Make sure the important parts of your design are front and center and the rest of your image highlights that while also giving the eye a place to rest. Use wide margins and add more space between design elements to clarify the purpose of the design. Make sure you leave unmarked space and get rid of elements that don’t NEED to be there.

Text Style and Readability

Designing with fonts is another tricky aspect of cannabis design. There is a lot of technical knowledge required to master designing with typography that most of us just don’t have the time to study. For today’s on the go cannabis marketer, the best way to improve is to follow the simple rule of balancing style with readability. While the pros will tell you that there’s a lot more to it than that, we’re still on graphic design level one and this rule will serve as a great starting point.

Cannabis Design: Good Font Use

An example of good use of fonts, design elements, and white space. 

As with most things, there are good fonts and bad fonts. Good fonts are fonts that are visually appealing and can communicate information clearly. Bad fonts are fonts that are difficult to read or are highly stylized. That doesn’t mean that every fun font is a bad font, though. Your cannabis design doesn’t have to stick to boring fonts.

The best way to balance style and readability is by using your fun stylized fonts as larger, attention-grabbing header text. Use minimal, traditional fonts for body text and small headings. By using a stylized font you can convey your cannabis brand’s vibe or flair into the graphic without forgetting that this graphic is designed to convey important information. Additionally, try to use no more than 3 fonts on a single graphic or else you’ll have a lot of trouble making your end design look clear and cohesive.

TLDR Blueprint for Clearer, More Attractive Visuals

Follow these tips to create better cannabis visuals for your brand or company.

Color: Draw attention to key information by using a high contrast color scheme.

White Space: Leave some blank spaces on your graphics to balance your design.

Type: Stylize the header with a fun font and use a basic readable font for body text to create a balance between clear information and your brand’s style.

If you’re still getting started and aren’t sure which way to take your company, the cannabis marketing professionals at Team MaryJane help our cannabis clients all over the country develop strong, effective content marketing strategies and optimize all aspects of their marketing, including fine-tuning content, providing input on social media campaigns, creating content, and even helping you build your brand from the ground up. As one of the top cannabis marketing agencies in Denver, we know we’ve got the tools to help you achieve all of your objectives. Get in touch with us today for a FREE no-risk consultation, or check out our Dispensary in a Box program, which is our most affordable (and most valuable!)  full-service marketing package.