Successfully Incorporating AI into the Packaging Converter Business

Successfully Incorporating AI into the Packaging Converter Business

By Jorge Olson, Co-founder & CMO – Hempacco 


When I was 15 years old, people would ask me if I thought computers were here to stay. That’s where AI is now. AI has begun to touch nearly every aspect of business, and already works in the background of many tools professionals in the cannabis and CBD industries use daily without even realizing it, like Microsoft Word, Teams, and Google products.


AI is only going to become more important as time goes on, especially in the evolving cannabis and CBD industries, and companies that fail to keep abreast of these developments will lose their competitive edge. That’s why business leaders in these spaces should study this innovative technology’s potential and start implementing it as soon as possible.

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In particular, AI promises many advances for cannabis and CBD packaging. 


How AI assists packaging


Today’s AI can already be your graphic designer, painter, and illustrator. It can also be a fast, simple way to get ideas for a CBD or cannabis product’s packaging design, size, color scheme, styles, and more. For example, when I need to design a new package, I go to any of the free AI tools provided by Microsoft Edge, Google, or Stable Diffusion and ask the AI to send me ideas.


You don’t need to be a programmer or learn programming to use today’s AIs. All a designer, packaging designer, marketing manager, or art director needs to learn is prompting, which is also known as articulating in AI language. Basically, prompting means telling the AI what you want.


Learning to prompt the AI effectively is the largest challenge for newcomers, since it requires practice. In terms of CBD or cannabis packaging design specifically, the prompter should also have extensive knowledge of art, art styles, and even art history movements. That’s why, in my experience, it’s valuable to have artists, art professors, or art historians on your team who are familiar with the history of cannabis-inspired art.


Developing packaging with AI assistance


When I have an initial idea for a new CBD or cannabis product offering — complete with logo, packaging, and maybe even a counter display for convenience stores — I articulate my specifications to our software architect, who also happens to be a professional photographer. After running them through the AI image generator we’ve developed for packaging, he starts sending me ideas, and we rework the AI’s results until they are ready for my design team. 


Next, my design team explores how these ideas would look for various kinds of products (such as CBD gummies, hemp papers, smokables, or vitamins) and fabricate mock-ups. Once we identify the most promising possibilities, we use AI to produce 3D renderings of the packaging that we can now use on websites, sell sheets, e-commerce platforms, social media, and more.


We then test these prototypes with automated posts created by AI to see what the CBD and cannabis market thinks of our new product. Indeed, our marketing department uses AI in multiple ways, from writing articles and video editing to creating social media posts, analyzing web traffic, and more.


Finally, we identify which option performs best and move forward into production. My companies also use AI to create manufacturing models. At the moment, hardware and equipment lag in incorporating AI, however, since it takes a long time to engineer and manufacture machines to produce packaging.


The future of AI for packaging


Currently, AI cannot identify Pantone colors nor outline the different items you would need for a dieline, but I foresee it learning this information in the next few months as the CBD and cannabis industries continue to grow.


Indeed, AI will continue to improve and make our work easier in the future. As it gets to know this industry better, it will learn how to speak our language, so that we no longer have to articulate everything like a machine. It will conduct CBD and cannabis package research based on real online searches, buying behavior, and more to help you create a package and test it with your target market until you arrive at the best-selling version. Yes, it sounds a bit like magic, but that’s the AI revolution!


How to start using AI


Rather than resisting change, businesses in the CBD and cannabis space need to become fluent in AI. An easy way to start is to incorporate AI into your marketing efforts. AI can write content for your target audience, as well as conduct research for existing and emerging CBD and cannabis markets, test new marketing materials, and optimize them for search engines. This will allow you to craft better messaging and connect with more people, which will grow your business. 


— Jorge Olson is the co-founder and CMO of two publicly traded companies, Hempacco (ticker symbol HPCO) and Green Globe International (ticker GGII). He was born in Tijuana, Mexico, where he didn’t have running water or electricity and had to haul buckets of water across a block several times per day. Now he’s the author of business and inspirational books, as well as an authority on consumer packaged goods, beverages, and wholesale distribution. His partners are super-entrepreneur Sandro Piancone, Cheech and Chong, James Linsey, Rick Ross, and Snoop Dogg.


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