American Weed: Legalize It for veterans

With the legalization of medical cannabis in most US states, there are many brands offering cannabis-based products. American Weed Co. is one of them, standing out from others with the fact that it was launched by US Army veterans for retired American soldiers. The founder and head of the company, Sean Gilfillan, is a former high-ranking military officer with a number of battle awards who was among the first troops deployed in Iraq. So you can guess the style of the identity American Weed recently got from Pentagram and designer Mike Tabie.

The launch of American Weed Co. needed a deep analysis of the target audience and ambitions of the brand. The research resulted in a strategy that came in accordance with the brand’s universe. So the goal was to accept and rethink the aesthetics of the US Army and appeal to the soldiers who have their military service close to their hearts, identifying themselves as veterans.

And American Weed’s logo is considerable evidence of this commitment of the company as it represents a wordmark designed in the straight bold typeface Integral by Connary Fagen. The most distinctive feature here is the American flag sign replacing “EE” in the “WEED”. It will be used as an additional emblem of the brand, along with the full signature.

The other elements of the visual identity refer to the Army as well, inspired by military insignia, symbols, and stenciled identification marks which are used for military hardware. Three emblems developed by Tabie allow us to identify the American Weed branding as something old-school. Thus, the bee riding a bomb is a reference to Slim Pickens from Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove. This character is accompanied by a dashing devil and an armored angel showing his fighting spirit with a sword.

When it comes to typography, the texts in promotional materials and on packages are typed in the narrow Motor typeface and a font from the Mechanics Speed font family. The color palette is based on the khaki color embellished with some shades of orange, purple, yellow, and red, depending on the product. Within military aesthetics, a metal package can neighbor with embroidered patches and fabrics with camouflage patterns.

This project caused controversy when unveiled, and a certain part of the public regarded the aesthetic choice of the brand as a glorification of war. The subtle yet clear reference to WWII and the Vietnam War in the visual identity also raises the issue of the reintegration of soldiers into civilian life after the army service. Hard “homecoming” often makes them take drugs, including cannabis, to ease their accumulated pains. While some speak of Sean Gilfillan’s project as an initiative that contributes to reintegrating such soldiers through therapeutic pain relief, others regard it as an insufficient, opportunistic, and risky approach to selling drug products to vulnerable groups.

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