The packaging design for Toast cannabis cigarettes is sophisticated and upscale, positioning Toast as a luxury lifestyle brand for adults who smoke marijuana socially, the way cocktail-party guests sip mojitos.
Toast is based in Colorado, where marijuana is legal for recreational and medicinal use. As the retail cannabis environment continues to evolve in such states, packaging is becoming an essential merchandising tool for marijuana products—the way it is for other consumer packaged goods (CPGs).
The Toast package is a rigid box containing filtered cannabis cigarettes; each cigarette is referred to as a Slice. The package design evokes the Art Deco styling of the 1920s, with the brand name and other details highlighted in metallic gold.
In addition, each Slice is decorated with the brand’s “social butterfly” icon stamped in gold foil on royal-purple filter paper. Viceroy Creative developed the structural and graphic design for Toast’s packaging.
Gabrielle Rein, chief creative officer at Toast and creative director at Viceroy Creative, answers some questions about the brand and its packaging, including Toast’s emphasis on responsible cannabis consumption.
When did Toast launch?
Rein: Toast launched in Aspen, CO, on Feb. 10, 2017. Toast has since grown across the state, with plans to expand to other states this year.
Please describe Toast’s package structure.
Rein: The box is high-quality paperboard with meticulously crafted details. We took a very high-quality, crafted approach to creating something that was enjoyable to use. The package is recyclable. Or you may want to just hold onto it for a secondary use! It has a magnetic closure.
Was the Toast package designed to appeal to women?
Rein: The Toast packaging is a unisex design that skews feminine; however, men love the pack as well. I know a ton of men are asking for this pack and using the product. Luxury brands are becoming more gender-neutral every day.
Was this package structure designed specifically for Toast?
Rein: The entire branding and packaging concept was created by the Viceroy Creative team and is 100% custom. We have a group of talented individuals who specialize in branding, structural design and graphic design, and who work together to create the best possible result for the market and brand. I am simply the team leader; it’s a group effort.
What materials are used to make the Toast package?
Rein: Paperboard, regular paper and tissue paper.
How is the paperboard component of the package decorated?
Rein: We used foil stamping, embossing and metallic inks to create special features.
Please describe any child-resistant features.
Rein: The Toast box comes with a branded and custom childproof exit bag, which has a pinch-twist-pull opening that is compliant with Colorado regulations.
[Editor’s note: All marijuana products sold at retail in Colorado must be placed in opaque and child-resistant packaging before leaving the store.]
How does Toast communicate the “dosing” aspect of the product—that one puff of a Slice cigarette is like a sip of a cocktail, and smoking the entire Sliceis like drinking the entire cocktail?
Rein: Each purchase comes with a responsible-consumption guide. It is printed on a piece of paper that is slipped into the exit bag. You can view the infographic here: https://www.wetoast.com/toast-responsibly
How does the brand encourage responsible cannabis consumption?
Rein: This is part of our DNA and ethos. It’s not a marketing tagline, but part of our mission, and it drives our decisions to shape the burgeoning cannabis industry toward responsible consumption. Beyond the messaging, the product itself was specifically designed for responsible consumption. With Toast, you know exactly what you are consuming, and we do not hide the cannabis by cutting it with other ingredients. The Slice is custom-dosed for the consumer to be able to consume the entire Slice and remain in control. Toast gives control back to the consumer, which establishes a level of trust that is powerful.
As a combustible product, the feedback is immediate, similar to when you consume a cocktail, and you can immediately regulate your intake accordingly. The low potency enables consumers who enjoy a variety of cannabis experiences to add Toast to their portfolio of products.
Moving beyond the product itself, Toast is working with communities to provide legal and safe access to consumption via our Mobile Cannabis Lounge partnership with Loopr. Toast is also working with communities and governments to educate consumers. This includes educational seminars, educational material distributed across cities and the educational infographic provided with every purchase of Toast.
Were there any shelf life issues to consider as you designed the packaging?
Rein: Shelf life is always an important factor in design and will continue to be for future innovations in our product road map. Our exit-bag material is a proprietary blend of laminated films that are child-resistant, provide excellent printability and have superior barrier properties.
Shelf life is contingent on a number of factors, which we designed our supply chain to manage so that it’s not an issue. It also helps that a number of our stores have trouble keeping it on their shelf!
Is the product sold only in brick-and-mortar dispensaries in Colorado?
Rein: Yes. In Colorado, that is the only legal method to sell cannabis products.
How important was shelf appeal in the design of the Toast package?
Rein: Shelf appeal is a major concern for any CPG. We want the product to sell! Customers consistently enter the store and are immediately drawn to Toast due to the beautiful packaging, which stands out on the shelf along with the custom-designed store displays.
How have consumers responded to the Toast package so far?
Rein: Everyone loves the packaging and experience of using the product. The product is selling out of top dispensaries in Aspen already!
Why did Toast choose to create a smokable product when so many publicplaces don’t permit smoking?
Rein: There are a number of reasons that we chose a smokable. The most authentic form of consuming cannabis is smoking a joint. It was important for Toast to not shy away from cannabis and instead celebrate it while innovating and modernizing the culture and providing consumers with a sophisticated experience that encourages social and responsible consumption. As part of that responsibility message, Toast is also partnering with communities to enable legal consumption.
We are constantly evaluating other consumption form factors and have a strict set of guidelines that include compliance, social but responsible consumption and high-quality ingredients that meet our standards. I am sure you’ll continue to see many exciting innovations from Toast in the future!