Hierarchy: Marijuana Labels

A proposed, current typography issue: With the legalization of recreational marijuana in the US, the USDA will need to establish standards and practices in labeling and packaging. Since most growing businesses are not on a national level, a hierarchy in marijuana labels has not been standardized and varies among businesses and state lines.

Washington State Regulations
Recreational marijuana

Labels affixed to the container or package sold at retail must include:

  • The business or trade name and Washington state unified business identifier number of the licensees that produced, processed, and sold the usable marijuana
  • Lot number
  • Concentration of THC, THCA, CBD, including a total of active cannabinoids (potency profile)
  • Net weight in ounces and grams or volume as appropriate
  • Warnings that state: “This product has intoxicating effects and may be habit forming” &/or “For use only by adults twenty-one and older. Should not be used by women that are pregnant or breast feeding”
  • Statement that: “This product may be unlawful outside of Washington State”
  • Date of harvest

With this project, six hierarchies must be proposed that abide to the WA regulations. Only one typeface must be used, the design must stay in black and white, and the label must be 2″ squares intended for an intimate viewing distance.

Label 1, Label 2, Label 3, Label 4, Label 5, Label 6
Label 1, Label 2, Label 3,
Label 4, Label 5, Label 6

The hierarchy is pretty clear at first, in that the name of the strand should be the most important aspect on the packaging, as it differentiates this product from products next to it and is generally what people would refer to it as in conversation. In Labels 1,2,3,5,&6 the company name was emphasized, but what if no “brand names” emerge? Label 4 de-emphasizes the company name and emphasized the statistics on the effect of the product.


Letterform Assignment: Edits

To see previous iteration of this project:


Final Drafts:


Using Impact, a bold geometrically abstract typeface, COMPLETE in caps takes up a full space of text, versus incomplete in lowercase leaving negative space with ascenders and descenders, and the form-background colors where inverted to draw attention to this. The cropping of the composition further emphasizes COMPLETEly shown.


Symbolic of the typefaces styles chose, the “a” is a traditional humanist typeface, emphasizing the connection to the natural handwriting of humans. The “ur” is in a modern/neo-classical emphasizing the cleaner forms of the industrialization of type. Therefore, the shared letters of “nature” are in a Transitional type, being a product of both Humanist and Neo-classical typefaces.


Fight in a heavy slab serif emphasizes the sturdiness and rigidity of someone “standing their ground” and likens to bricks. A vertical orientation takes up more compositional space, an intimidation factor. Flight (in a light/thin font family) orients itself opposite, in a horizontal fashion, but the baseline is curved to imply movement away from steadfastness of fight.

Letterform Assignment: Black + White Draft

For the first assignment of Visual Communication Design: Typography (ARTG5130), students must choose six of the following word pairs and design a 6″ x 6″ composition using exclusively the form of the word. Use scale, overlap, cropping and depth in order create a dynamic composition that helps to convey meaning.

  1. shy/outgoing
  2. fast/slow
  3. in/out
  4. complete/incomplete
  5. nature/nurture
  6. fight/flight
  7. come/go
  8. wet/dry
  9. rough/smooth

The first iteration of the project only permits black and white compositions. The following are examples of my first drafts.