For Kiva’s chocolate-coated infused espresso beans, Sharp inserted a clear sheet that cautions customers to take in the cannabis-infused morsels sparingly.

Image for article titled Finally, marijuana packaging that doesn’t look like it was designed by a stoned teenager
Image: Kiva Confections

New normal

Sharp explains that he deliberately avoided the familiar motifs of weed world: trippy psychedelic swirls, Rastafarian colors, and grungy typography. “We didn’t even go there,” he tells Quartz. Sharp’s anti-tie-dye creative direction is a strategic move to fortify Kiva’s quest to normalize cannabis edibles in every day life. “We wanted people to feel safe having them in their home environment,” explains Scott Palmer, Kiva’s co-founder, who presented with Sharp at the conference.

Indeed Kiva’s bars are discreet. With the marijuana leaf artfully cropped, Kiva’s bars easily blend in with other energy bars and artisanal chocolates. Its promotional material too showcases natural ingredients, like advertising for a high-end health product.

Its gift set even looks like a box of tea.

“We wanted [customers, or ‘patients’ as Kiva calls them] not to feel that having the edibles around means they necessarily participate in weed culture,” Palmer says. “We really believe that marijuana is a normal thing—and should be a normal thing—and we wanted the packaging design to respond to that.”

For Sharp, the assignment was an opportunity to forge a new design direction in the billion-dollar cannabis industry. Since marijuana is still considered largely illegal in many US statesregulations governing cannabis packaging and labeling are just being defined. Until the last few years, marijuana was mostly packaged in hastily-marked plastic bags and vials. ”The field is wide open and perhaps we can set a standard,” he says. “Maybe grandiosely, we’re thinking if we can move the brand of cannabis itself.”

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