A housewife. A kid in college. A grandma with glaucoma. What do they have in common? They all love old-school gangsta rap. And according to rap legend Snoop Dogg and prominent design firm Pentagram, they’re all potential customers for premium smokeware dubbed Pounds.
Pounds is a series of glass bongs, packaged with all the care of an alluring Silicon Valley gadget. “As cannabis becomes more and more legal across the country, [he] wanted this to be something that felt like an accessory on your coffee table. It could feel elegant or considered,” says Emily Oberman, partner at Pentagram. “We tried to do the same thing with the packaging, to make it feel like you were getting an Apple product, Beats headphone, or Chanel perfume.”
In an increasingly crowded competitive market, as states legalize cannabis, companies are turning to branding and design to differentiate themselves–and to make sure cannabis doesn’t appear to be a commoditized product.
While Famous Brands did the industrial design on the bongs themselves, Pentagram built out the complete brand identity. It’s the second collaboration between Snoop and Pentagram–the first of which was dubbed Leafs by Snoop, a series of strains of cannabis that’s still on the market.
“The way Pounds came about was, after Leafs, they wanted to branch out into smoking accessories,” says Oberman. “‘Leafs by Snoop’ is abbreviated to ‘LBS’–which is pounds. Plus of course, you have Snoop, and the dog pounds. So that’s where the name came from.”
With the name Pounds, Pentagram began considering what the pound should look like. At first, they thought about building the brand as a literal weight. But after talking to Snoop’s manager, Ted Chung, they decided to incorporate a different pun. “He was like, ‘What if we moved away from the idea of weight and did something more abstract?’” Oberman recounts. “From that came the fist bump, which is also [called] a pound.”
So a fist became the logo for Pounds. Look closely–very closely–and you’ll see that the diamond-shaped knuckles on the bottom of the fist actually derived their shape from part of the Leafs by Snoop cannabis logo (specifically where the letterforms meet the inner leaf). It’s a subliminal link between the two brands and a fun Easter Egg for design nerds.
“Getting back to the bong–[Snoop] named all the bongs,” says Oberman. “He decided to name them after ships. Because he thought they looked space-y.”
Snoop’s names like Mothership, Battleship, and Rocketship then informed Pentagram’s next steps. They created little spacecraft icons for each bong, which ended up getting etched on the hardware itself. And they created flight guides for each bong, little instructional booklets with line drawing schematics of each device. These schematics don’t look much like bongs; they more closely resemble handcrafted third wave coffee gear. Of course that’s intentional, and part of the brand elevation that Pounds is after.
The last bit of input from Snoop and his team was around color. “He wanted this colorful California vibe, so we wanted to find imagery of things that could be found in California,” says Oberman. Images of California-ish things, like palm trees and tiger fish, were built into the Pounds logo. Their colors were pulled into iconography, and even small rings of color on the bongs themselves. “We wanted to push the limits of those colors so they felt really bright and poppy and a little trippy at the same time,” says Oberman. “We wanted to be clear this experience is meant to be like happy and vibrant. Not like, sitting alone in your mom’s basement.”
Pounds products are available now, starting at around $140. Put ’em on a shelf next to that iPhone box you’ve kept around for no good reason.