A rightful king back on his throne

  • Brand Identity
  • Brand Strategy
  • Packaging
  • Merchandise
  • Interior Design

The Challenge

Kingpen had established itself as the first cannabis vape brand, known all over the US as the go to brand for quality cannabis vape carts. With this saliency, came a big problem, counterfeiting. Almost two thirds of carts being sold were fake. Kingpen approached us with a brief; “help us solve our counterfeiting problem and re-establish us as the king of vapes.” Further to this problem was one of a lack of sustainable packaging in the category. The regulations made it very difficult for Cannabis brands to make sustainable packaging, due to the increasing layers of child resistant mechanisms and labelling requirements. The brief was challenging on all fronts.

The Approach

Our first thought was to look at how we could design packaging to not only deter counterfeiters, but also build value into the brand, and longevity of use for the packaging.

We looked to some past projects where success would mean a consumer would keep the packaging and re-use it or collect them. Our solution was a sustainably sourced premium tin (metal recycles forever), a bamboo moulded fibre tray and a child resistant tube made from 100% post consumer recycled plastic.

The complexity of the packaging production was just one layer in the arsenal of anti-counterfeiting measures. We worked closely with a specialist printing house to create a hologram sticker, coupled with a scratch off verification code (paired with an online merchandise program), and a QR code

that took consumers to the lab test results for the cartridge. This further reinforced the brands position on safety and quality. Graphically, we re-drew the iconic king icon that had become known and loved by millions of consumers, and crafted the brands word marque and typography to be more own-able, usable and protected from an IP perspective. Subsequently the range was expanded into a super premium variant, ROYALE.

The design for Kingpen ROYALE borrowed cues from luxury whisky, whilst retaining the playful nature of the category, Working in hidden elements that told the now iconic Kingpen story. All elements were hand drawn and crafted to be unique and tell a story.

Once the packaging for the range was finalised, we developed brand identity guidelines for the internal design team to execute against, creating a more consistent and iconic brand across all brand communications.

Further to this, we developed a suite of graphic assets to be used across merchandise and promotional material.

The Outcome

The relaunch of the Kingpen brand in it’s new robes, became an instant success. NBC featured the brand on it’s story covering the national counterfeiting problem, and the brand was held up by the Governor of California as an example of the industry developing smart and effective solutions to black market practices.

Further to this, the brands practices have now become industry standard, showing how one brand can take up a leadership position and enact real change. Kingpen is back in growth, and the range continues to extend into new and exciting spaces, all with an identity that looks to stand the test of time.

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