BDC Manifesto 03

03 Engage

If we have understanding in our designs and we are communicating, but not touching lives, minds and hearts, then we have missed the mark. This does not mean we stoop to whatever current fad we can to obtain a moment of engagement. We have to find the kernel of truth in our design, because when we find that, we will touch the tribe that we are solving the problem for, creating change, leading to engagement that was not there before.

By standing firm in the river of fads with conviction for what we stand for, we become timeless trendsetters and connect with the best of humanity.

Jesse Barney

December 3, 2019

BDC Manifesto 02

02 Communicate

Understanding is useless without language. If we cannot share our understanding with each other then it is in vain. There must be thorough study of language in every design problem. Not only design language, but also the language surrounding the problem itself.

A robust language used properly creates consistency, which is paramount to any great design.

Jesse Barney

December 2, 2019

BDC Manifesto 01

01 Understand

Every part of a design problem must be holistically understood before design can begin.

The entire subject must be fully grasped in order to translate the meaning of the design to the observer.

It is the job of the designer to understand the business and economies of the client fully. This demands an immense amount of collaboration and sharing. That’s the fun part.

To understand is the beginning of great design.

Jesse Barney

November 30, 2019

What is a Brand?

People throw the word around a lot. Brand. What is it? A custom shaped piece of metal that you get really hot and use to burn the shape into the flesh of an animal? No, that's a branding iron...

So is it the mark left on an animal? Yes. That is exactly how we think of brand and brand identity. But it's not quite right still.

We think of brand identity as the tool used to imprint the brand on someones mind like a branding iron. On the other side we think of the brand as the impression we leave on someone when they interact with our identity.

So close. So very close. What's missing is the understanding that it is not we, the brand and marketing people who make the impression. Rather, it is the people we seek to impress. They do it themselves. That's what gets scary. As designers, it's the moment we lose control of our work.

You see, our brand is how others choose to see us. It's the stories they tell themselves. We have no control over that. Not if we choose to be moral people, unlike those who work in government propaganda... But I digress. Sure, we can influence these stories, and we do, but ultimately what our audience thinks of us is up to them.

So what's the trick? How do we get people to understand us properly?

There is no trick. There is no easy way. You have to wake up and do the hard work of being communicative and transparent. You have to quiet your inner Sasquatch who wants to run and hide and stay under the cover of the infinite forest. You have to take the risks of exposing yourself in order to be loved. You have to let the haters hate and do it with poise.

Then, even more importantly, (actually you need to start here,) you need to listen. Listen to the feedback. Hear what your audience has to say to you. If they aren't talking, ask them to. If you don't even have one person in your audience, keep practicing your communication until you do.

Then process the feedback and go at it again. This is how we get better at representing ourselves.

The biggest companies can have the toughest time doing this. Inside of them, you have lots of people who love the company and are showing up, doing good work and serving their customers, wishing that their customers could see them and understand how much love they have for the customer (branding iron). Outside, you have a customer that mistrusts big companies and doesn't really believe the previous sentence at all, in fact quite the opposite, but they know they need the services provided so they feel at the mercy of the big company (brand). So the brand of that company is shit. The best in their field have realized that they way out is through.

There are companies who have survived this distrust. Think Coke and Mc'Donald's. For forty years or so, they have sat right next to tobacco and alcohol when it comes to how we as society regard them. Junk food, we call it. But those companies got square with the idea by saying, "yeah, we know it's junk for your health, but would life be any fun without it?" People understand that. Life without ever having a coke? Lame.

Okay Coke, you're right, life is no fun without you, we all like to party at some point. So society respond and says, "okay, well, if you are going to make money off of fun, and admit that it's not healthy if over indulged, we want you to spend some of your money teaching people how to be healthy." Coke says okay and starts supporting athletics and healthy food programs and buying organic juice companies...

Now what we have here is a giant society wide conversation that Coke is having with all of us. And when they do it right, they are really listening to us.

So at the end of the day, you might say, "I'm not Coke," and there are all these reasons why you don't need to or can't communicate with your audience because you don't have marketing, pr, graphics, film, or photography skills at your fingertips and you aren't even that great at the internet, in fact, you might hate facebook and instagram and you might even think it's ruining us all.

Okay, squatchy. Listen here. You DO have all of those things. You can write like the rest of us. You can speak into a camera on a livestream like the rest of us. You don't have to have all of the skills. You just have to start sharing and listening to our responses. Don't look for the fluff of your friends telling you "great job!" Ignore that stuff. Instead, look for the ones who call you out. Look for those who point out something missing. Take the criticism and refine your idea. We want to help you make it better. We want to feel like we are a part of something bigger than us and you are building that thing, so tell us about it!

Also, consume as much info about this as you can. Read and listen to people like Simon Sinek,  Seth Godin, Brene Brown, Gary Vee and Tim Ferris. Follow the people they follow. Learn and grow.

While you learn and grow, start sharing today. Share your Identity with us and let us tell you what your brand is and we can go from there.

Have a wonderful day and I can't wait to see you out there in the world!

Jesse Barney

November 27, 2019

Changing the World with Cannabis

Many people are rushing to get in on the Cannabis Industry. It has been referred to often as the "Green Rush." For illustration, in a matter of days, the largest cannabis trade show in the world wll flood Las Vegas Nevada. Out of the twenty thousand or more people there, most will know very little about the history and legacy of the cannabis plant or its potential yet they will be seeking financial gain from the plant. Meanwhile, there is a concurrent movement happening. A movement referred to by Skunk Magazine as the "Green Renaissance" A movement to change the face of the world for the better by living closer to nature and the natural processes of the earth.

I am not here to belittle those who are here for the Green Rush. Quite the opposite. I think it is up to us, the veterans of Cannabis, to teach the "noobs" what's up. And it is up to those who are new to humble themselves and start reading and asking a lot of questions before they decide how to be involved. If you want to make money with cannabis, you first need to understand what cannabis wants to do to help you.

For starters let's ask this. Have you read the Emperor Wears no Clothes by Jack Herer? By the way, it's Herer like Terror, just so ya know... Is your brain full of the information contained within that book? If so, why are you so focused on the "cannabis industry" when you should be thinking about the hemp industry?

The information contained within that book alone is enough to start tens of thousands of entrepreneurial efforts in biodegradable plastics, cosmetics, papers, fabrics, adhesives, building materials, and more. Basically, all of the products that we use in modern society can be made from the hemp plant. Yet, for the last seventy years we have been infatuated mostly with the medicinal effects of the plant. This is one of the fundamental shift points we need to focus on.

We need to focus our efforts on supporting businesses that are working in these areas. I have mentioned before that we should be replacing our swag at trade shows with hemp products. How about packaging? I have been looking for hemp plastic packaging for some time, and I have only found one company doing it. Sana Packaging out of Colorado. Kind of unacceptable when Henry Ford was making hemp plastic panels for cars 90 years ago. If you know of more companies doing this, please let me know. Especially a mylar like plastic that is hemp-based and biodegradable, is anyone even trying?

How about paper? My friend Erica Halverson has been working on commercial hemp paper products for quite some time and has everything needed to launch a company with the potential to disrupt the entire paper industry. Where are the investors crawling out of the woodwork to help her do it? I hear about so many investors that want to get involved in cannabis throwing their money into a dispensary or a grow operation when they could start a whole new line of manufacturing processes that could singlehandedly take on tree paper... That's like buying a dive bar in a small town when you have the opportunity to make the bottles that every drink company on the planet needs and wants for the same investment.

The point is this. We are at a flux point in human history. Some very bad people have been making very bad decisions for quite some time. We have the opportunity right now to be at the ground level of a real renaissance. We are trying to eject ourselves from oil, and plastics, and cutting down forests and we have the answer in our hands. The question is what are YOU going to do? What product switch are you going to make? What product are you going to design? It is up to YOU to have no compromise. Set a standard. Be a leader. Show the rest of the world how it can be done. Please, for all of our sakes.

Jesse Barney

November 26, 2019

Designing the Free Ounce

Yesterday I wrote a post about the industry's need to race to the top when it comes to craft cannabis and the small grower.

My dear friend Richard Eastman reminded me about the other side of the spectrum. Free Weed and the end of Corporate Greed.

I am also very passionate about this subject, as I have seen first hand the impact cannabis has on so many medical conditions. I have also seen the impact cannabis has on the health and wellness of people who are not ill, if used properly.

The question is, how to get there? How do we get free weed without eliminating the craft market I spoke about yesterday? I think the answer is simple. Maybe.

Treat raw cannabis as a vegetable. #acannabisplantineverygarden

Our cultural understanding of cannabis needs to shift. Juicing raw cannabis leaves and flowers everyday is one of the healthiest things anyone can do for themselves and their family. Raw, fresh cannabinoids are non-psychoactive and treat many of the health and wellness issues so many are looking to alleviate and then some.

One of the challenges is that we need a national education campaign on this fact while educating people that if they cook the same cannabis it will change the properties and unless the person cooking the cannabis really knows their stuff, you will get wildly unpredictable results.

If more people in our communities were growing cannabis as a vegetable, then those who need free access could more easily obtain it. And no, I don't think it would compromise the elite, handcrafted cannabis market. If anything, I think it would highlight the difference between master growers and the rest of us and make their skill even more valuable.

Jesse Barney

November 25, 2019

Designing the Thousand Dollar Ounce

Cannabis is in flux. California, the world's leader in legal cannabis flower cultivation, is quickly becoming the leader in how to kill the golden goose.

What is the golden goose? I would contend that it is highly crafted cannabis grown by the best cannabis cultivators at the smallest scale. The challenge is, everyone has been trying to scale up. Grow more cannabis and sell it for cheaper. It's a race to the bottom. A race where nobody wins. The second challenge is, California has made it nearly impossible to get started as a very small grower, as the barrier for entry is very high.

But there are a few companies out there who could start this trend. The race to the thousand dollar ounce. The race to the top.

Here's the trick. In order for an ounce of cannabis flower to be bought at this price, it has to be authentic. It has to be cared for at the highest level from seed to sprout, to location of planting, the food fed to the plant, the music played to it throughout it's life, where the water comes from, the way it I harvested, hung, dried, trimmed (or not), cured, how long it's cured and how well, how it's packaged, shipped, presented and finally sold. Not to mention the sales and distribution pipeline has to be perfect and timely because the customer can't buy this product at the wrong time or they will not get what is intended.

That's just the beginning, because not only do you have to build the processes and presentation and distribution to make the ounce authentically worth a thousand dollars, you have to tell the story of that process in a way that educates the consumer why it's worth that. What would happen if I don't buy this on the right day? What if the cannabis got too warm or too cold or exposed to sunlight for a few hours while it cured or sat in the dispensary? You need to tell us every detail of every little decision. When you cut down this particular plant that is this particular ounce, I want to see photographs of the trichomes on the day that it was cut and an explanation of why you made the decision based on all of the attributes of the flower that day. This level of detailed storytelling has to be done in order for you to distill that volume of words down to simple, clean, brand messaging that educates me without bogging me down.

It's not easy. That's why very few have even tried. But I know one thing, if California legacy cannabis is to survive the next fifteen years, we have to start racing to the top and stop competing with cheaper, scalable cannabis. If there is to be a Steve Jobs or Elon Musk of cannabis who will attempt to take on and disrupt the big world players, then there will only be one, and if you are reading this, more power to you, I hope you win. The rest of us have to think like Seth Godin and design for scarcity, rareness, and make our cannabis unparalleled.

Be the Golden Goose.

Jesse Barney

November 24, 2019

Design Better Holidays

I love this time of year. Growing up in Montana, the holidays have a special magic. The crisp frozen air, snow everywhere, fireplaces raging, comfy wool socks... mmm. Love it.

Then I became an adult. I learned that people beat each other up for pieces of plastic fabric shaped as Sesame Street characters. I learned that elderly women have been trampled to death in the biggest yearly craze in the nation. Holiday shopping.

It's hotter than baseball in October. It's more popular than the Super Bowl (seriously) and you could actually die from it.

I for one have opted out. I don't buy it. Lol. Why do we participate in such a vile venture? Why do we support those who revel in the frenzy and stir it up so they can make even more money on things that end unused in a closet or better yet in the trash or re-gifted? Odd, I just heard some dude say "but I am getting a TV! I use that every day and the cost savings are too much to pass up!" I don't know if I can help you dude, the TV is eating you.

I beg of you, if you participate in this madness, please find an alternative. Cyber Monday is at least safer and more humane, although just as lost in a forest of consumerist, dopamine fueled insanity.

Let's do something better. How about making your gifts? Revive your painting skills, and don't buy the canvases, find something else to paint on. Mechanically inclined? Give your five closest loved ones a handwritten gift certificate for free labor on one free oil change, minus the oil of course, they need to buy that. ;) The point is, we all have skills that people value, and only children complain about money not being spent on them, even if they look like adults, they are still children. The rest of us love genuine heartfelt time and energy put into a handmade gift.

If you must spend money, consider the many alternatives to going shopping or buying things.

Whatever you do, please, do something besides continue to support this insane train we are on. This Black Friday thing has been going on nearly one hundred years and it's time for a change, it's likely the best gift we can give our society and our children.

Jesse Barney

November 23, 2019

Design to the End

Last night I went to a mansion party in LA. It was grand opening for a cool cannabis brand that has been up and coming for some time.

Cool party. Good weed, good drinks, good music, beautiful people...

There I was, finishing a joint we had sparked at this weed party where there were free lighters, grinders, weed, stash jars and more. As I finished the joint, I began looking for a receptacle for the roach. A garbage can? Nope. Ashtray? Nope. Anything like that for putting the remains of our smoking? Nope.

You see, good design is about thinking things all the way through. What happens in the beginning is important. Where do you get the weed? Where do you get the swag? What materials are they made from? What inks and paints were used? Did everyone in the manufacturing process get a good, livable wage? Very important stuff.

What about the end of a product's life? Where does it go when it has been used? How do we deal with it? Is there a process for that? Do we just sweep it under some proverbial rug and ignore it? We seem to tend to ignore it, as I noted that every good party or festival has the same problem. Not enough bathrooms, garbages or ashtrays. I guess we just don't like to deal with our own shit.

I ended up throwing the roach on the ground, as did the hundreds of other people who were lighting up. I am sure that this morning the cleaning crew became hyper aware of the lack of trashes or ashtrays as they scoured the grounds for roaches and butts. With a little thinking, that job would have been easy and much cheaper and the cleaning money could have been used for something else a little more useful and fun than paying humans tohunt for ground roaches.

So the next time you plan an event, here's a tip. Start at the end. Start with visualizing what happens when all the people are gone and you threw a successful (crowded) event. Visualize the two bathrooms you have for 400 people over the course of 5 hours. Visualize what they look like after 400 people have used them for everything that people at parties use bathrooms for. Visualize where the trash is put when people don't have receptacles nearby as they finish their drink. Visualize the containers you chose for the party or event. Red solo cups? They are everywhere. Cans? Yes you did see a couple in the street on the way back to cleanup. Visualize the thousands of cigarette butts and roaches on the ground.

You get the idea. Solve those problems first and then take care of the fun stuff like the collectible swag and the music and the activation area design... Your party will run better and people will know, even if it's subconscious, that you think about them and care about them very deeply. Isn't that what you want people to think about your brand?

Jesse Barney

November 22, 2019

Design for Money

When we design for money, we think short-term. We lack empathy, well at least long term empathy. We get an aha. We think to ourselves, "that's how I can make my millions this year!"

It's easy to make a lot of money, if that's all that matters. I mean, watch Gary Vee, he gives you a new way to make money almost everyday and you don't need much to start. People launch small products everyday that sell in the millions and last for a year or two and then the product stops selling. If you do it right, you can launch a cheap plastic product, make a ton of money and walk away in a year or two and no one's the wiser. Except for that fish choking on the little piece of plastic that ended up in the ocean after some kid threw your little product off the pier, the fish knows what you did.

On the other side of the spectrum, we have Design for Good. When we design for good, we solve real problems regardless of money. We start a clothing company making only products that are from hemp, organic cotton, and leather, rather than polyester or nylon. We start a company devoted to making 3D printing filament out of biodegradable hemp plastic. We make products designed to last and be used for a lifetime or more, rather than something designed to last a month or a year and purchased again. Sorry, but the Gillette model has to go.

If you really want to see where this plays out, think about promotional products. Every year, we have more than 13,000 trade shows in the US alone. At every trade show, there are hundreds of booths packed with thousands of junk plastic products they are handing out as a marketing tool for you to remember them by. Isn't that sweet?

So, every year, we dump somewhere in the tens to hundreds of millions of promotional products into our economy for them to be processed and shit into the ground or the ocean or wherever they eventually end up. Sad, right? It doesn't have to end here.

We have technologies and design solutions for issues like this. The challenge is, there is no short or longterm "money" in it. At least it doesn't seem like it. But look at the organic food movement in the US. Consumers were educated on the ground level. They went to the store demanding organic products even if it cost twice as much. How did it start? Advocates and activists. People who cared more about spending their time educating others and making the food reality than they did about making money in the short term.

So the question is, what can you do today?

Maybe today you were thinking about printing some shirts for your business or something like that. Consider where the material comes from, and consider where it ends up. Finding a source for ethical organic cotton shirts or even better, a good hemp fabric... that's hard. I know. I look all the time. Then you realize that the cost is a lot higher than your $5 t-shirt you normally buy, maybe even three times higher. Then you realize that the fabric isn't as soft. Now you are thinking about just buying those cheap shirts and getting it over with. Besides, who has time for this?

This is how bad design choices are made. The thought process should be this:

I know the fabric isn't as soft, so I am going to buy it anyways and get to know the maker of the fabric and talk to them to see if they are working on improving it. If so, I want to help, what can I do? Not to mention that, maybe I know some people who are good at engineering business systems and they can help us bring the cost of the shirts down so that others might be more inclined to support this business and cause. In fact, I should start a facebook group and link all the people I can find who work in ethical fabrics and get all the heads together. After all, aren't we all trying to change the face of textiles in general?

Do you see what I mean? The simplest thing like ordering shirts for your business can become a nexus point of major cultural change. The question is, are you willing? Will you care that extra amount that it takes to see it through? Will you do it, not just because it will make money, but more importantly, because it is the right thing to do?

I think so. I believe in you.

Peace and Love,

Jesse Barney

November 21, 2019

It's All About How You Start

It happens to everyone. You are mid project and you realize that you didn't start correctly and as a result your project isn't quite up to snuff.

This is why design matters so much. Even more, this is why a proper understanding of design is paramount.

The problem arises because we consume so much design everyday. From our house, to our car, to the bowl we eat from, our screens, not to mention the never ending stream of content on our screens... On and on and on it goes, where it stops, nobody knows.

Because we are such great consumers of design, most of us have an experiential understanding of what good design is. But we can't explain it. We definitely could not teach a class on design. Most of us have a hard time actually defining the word.

We are lost in a sea of design, and yet few of us have any real insight into the underpinnings of it all.

The truth is, what we design, designs us in return. The shape of a floor plan in a rail station determines how people walk through that space. The shape of a page, what you put on it and where determines the readers actions as they follow you through your story.

So you might ask, "Why does this matter? It sounds like you are rambling." Here's why it matters.

The world is full of people executing design without even understanding what it is. This is why there is so much bad design. That bad design is LITERALLY affecting all of us, everyday, helping us to continue to make the same choices that we have been making for quite sometime.

It's like a home builder who is an everyday Joe who knows how to build a house because "he's seen a lot of them and he knows what a good house looks like."

Yeah? What about Japanese design and woodcrafting? Know anything about that? How about the Arts and Crafts movement of the early 20th century? The Greene Brothers? Do you know WHY the Japanese built houses the way they did for hundreds of years? On top of that, could you build a house by yourself with no ones help, from start to finish?

The questions aren't meant to make one feel stupid or ignorant. What they are meant to do is point out that if you want to build houses, first you really need to understand not only the proper how, but even more important, the proper why.

It comes down to the little things. Installing the dishwasher two more steps away from the silverware than was necessary means that every time you go from the dishwasher to the silverware drawer you walk an extra four steps. So, if you are super efficient, and you never forget anything on your first trip, you only tally up four extra steps a day. After ten years of living in the home, that little design flaw cost 6 miles of walking or a full day from your life.

You might say, so what? It's not that much. Who cares?

Well, if it is possible that one little flaw that small is robbing you of your precious life one drip at a time, how many other things in your home are that way? What if there are over one hundred flaws like this in the design of your home? Maybe even hundreds? What about your car? What about the supermarket? What about your job? Your phone? Your email? Your social media accounts? Your family? Your vacations?

Hmmm. It's starts to pile up, doesn't it?

Speaking of flaws, why are we currently spending resources globally cleaning up our natural environment?

Bad design.

What if the scientists who were making fuels out of peanuts and hemp oil 150 years ago had won? What if all of our plastics were made from hemp as Henry Ford imagined almost 100 years ago? What if all of these things were biodegradable and more integrated into the way the planet works? It's been possible for a long time. We have the technology. We have everything in our grasp to build the most amazing future for our kids, but it seems so hard to get out of this spiral we have put ourselves in.

Shit. How do we get out? 

Start learning how to start. Learn about the the foundations of everything you interact with. Don't just learn about it, put the knowledge to use. Extract the wisdom and meaning from everything in your life and you will start building an excellent foundation. An excellent foundation for what, you might ask. An excellent foundation foundation for being an excellent designer of an excellent future.

Jesse Barney

November 19, 2019

Education and Differentiation

In the Cannabis Industry today we have a myriad of problems affecting our marketplace. These problems are trickling down to every area of the industry to the point where many of the largest companies in California have announced serious layoffs and deep budget cuts as we prepare to go into 2020.

Everyone knows that there are many reasons for this:

  1. State Regulation is very expensive and difficult to deal with, almost impossible for a small business.
  2. Depending on the municipality or county, the State Regulation difficulty can be multiplied by a large factor.
  3. The State is cracking down hard on operations in the black market making the supply more scarce.
  4. Prices have risen on the legacy market. The pound price this harvest is in many cases a couple hundred dollars higher than last year at the same time.
  5. People are rushing to capitalize on this legacy market opportunity while it is so difficult to enter the regulated market.
  6. There are many more reasons... etc. etc. etc...

For those of us who are still fighting on, believing that we can fix the problems created by the state, there is hope, if you can hunker down and hang on. Not only that, this is your opportunity to really see longterm and work to shape the next 40 or more years.

One major way to do that is through branding. Storytelling. How are people going to understand how fragile the flowering and harvesting and curing process is if we don't figure out how to tell them? How will they know that it matters that you let your flowers mature to get those trichomes nice and amber while your neighbor harvested the same genetic early while the trichomes are still clear? How are they going to see that you care so much about the details?

I will tell you how. YOU have to tell them. YOU have to do the writing. YOU have to publish articles on your site and share them to social media. YOU have to talk about your experiences and create new words and terms and share them with the community so we can all learn to use them. YOU have to devote a small portion of your day everyday to telling the story and pushing it to the world. YOU have to hear the feedback and refine the way you tell people so that you get better and better. No one is coming to save you. There is no secret formula. This is it.

As you educate people to your passion and knowledge, your branding will emerge. Who you are will become very clear, to them, to you, to everyone. What makes you different will become nearly impossible to miss. You will continue to gain market differentiation if you stay true to your core values and passions and you strive to communicate that to your customers daily.

I know it's hard. I know it seems like it's more than you can handle. I know you already put in 16 hour days. I know that you used to take off December to April and then work your Spring Summer and Fall relentlessly. I know that now, you don't get to take the winter off because that's how you stay ahead.

Keep going. It's worth it because we only have one life to live and spending it making sure the lives that come after us have a better world because of Cannabis, well, isn't that why we are all fighting so hard?

Jesse Barney

November 16, 2019

Tension by Design

Yesterday I had the time and fortunate luck to stumble onto Seth Godin's Instagram Live about tension.

He riffed on the fact that creating tension is the process that pulls a person forward toward change. Marketers have used this for a long time to help you make decisions about life. Generally they use it to sell you more and make more money.

Here is an example put forward on the show Brain Games:

You walk into a movie theater, you go through the line and get your ticket. Then you proceed to the ever-expensive concession stand. You want popcorn and you see that the small quart size container is $4 and the gallon size large is $12. If you are like most people, you see the better deal in the small container as you don't want to spend drastically that much more for the large than the small.

The next day you go to see another new movie, only this time you walk in, get your ticket and go to the concession stand and now there is a medium that is exactly a split size between the small and the large and it is $9. Suddenly, your frame of reference for pricing on the small and large is very different. Now, if you are most people, you perceive that the large is now the best deal because you perceive a large savings in the jump from small to medium to large. You buy the large.

These decisions aren't conscious. We are lead around our modern world by our noses and we rarely are aware.

That is the point of this post.
A: Let's all decide to be more aware of the subtle messaging in our consumer oriented world.
B: Learn to use these techniques of tension in your own world to make the world a better place. These techniques aren't inherently bad, it all depends on the level of intent that we put behind our tension.

Riffing a little more, you can learn to see this tension everywhere. The way we get ready in the morning to get the attention of our boss or girlfriend or coworker that we want to impress, The musical tension in a song that makes it go to that super funky bridge, that art piece that makes you wonder just exactly what the artist is saying, the teacher who gives you just enough information to make you want to learn more on your own...

Tension is all around us, and it is up to us to see it and use it for good or let others see it and use it to direct us to whatever purposes they think are good for us.

Which do you prefer?

Jesse Barney

November 14, 2019

Cannabis and Design

The intersection of cannabis and the world of design and marketing is quite interesting indeed. Traditionally, in recent history, design has served the corporate and industrial needs of the world by creating messaging and communication intended to sell sell sell. That selling has gone down a path towards more and more convenience, luxury and single use items leading to mass pollution.

On the other side, cannabis is a plant that when studied, teaches us that the natural world has much more to offer. Aside from the cannabinoid content, the oils and the nutritional and medicinal aspects of the plant, it can do nearly anything we can imagine it to do. We can use the oils of the plant to make fuel, plastics (biodegradable at that), cosmetics, adhesives, cleaners, food and more. We haven't even talked about the fiber of the plant, which is one of the strongest we have discovered in nature. It can be used to make clothing, building materials, furniture, insulation... Then imagine recombining the properties of the oil and the fiber...plywood and fiberboard, hemp post-it notes, hemp fiberglass... All the modern products that we make with oil, we can make with plants, and make it so those things are more easily absorbed back into the earth. And I have yet to mention terpenes! The chemical possibilities of cannabis are just as astounding!

The world of design is huge. We don't think about it much as we mostly take it for granted. It's like air. It's everywhere. Every screw, every bolt, every structural beam, every frame, every sign, every road, every fit and finish, design is everywhere. Architectural design, industrial design, graphic design, communication design, sound design, fashion design, product design, packaging design, all of these things have the potential to be majorly disrupted and impacted by the cannabis plant. We haven't even begun.

The revolution that is about to happen in the design world impacts all of us. What we design designs us in return, so we would all do well to really think through the consequences of our actions and to focus on our goals and make current decisions based on that. There is no excuse to put out a cannabis product in packaging that isn't 100% hemp. The only reason that hemp packaging isn't meeting the design standards of normal plastics, papers, cardboards and printing processes is because most companies settle. They settle for tree paper products because it looks better and it's cheaper. Remember the old adage, sell sell sell? Well here we are again.

Just like the organic food movement, real change will happen when consumers decide they don't care if the packaging doesn't look as good because the concept of "better" has a new definition. Better means the blacks are not necessarily the blackest when printed (yet), but the ink and paper are compostable and plant based so it returns to the natural earth more easily. It means that having shiny gold foil plastic inside of a box might have to be clear or brown for now and the consistency might not be as good, but again, It's compostable and better for us and our environment. Wouldn't it be great if 100% of our trash could convert directly to compost and mulch for farming and gardening?

We have to make the decision to tell a new story about what better is. Our concept of comfort and convenience has to change, and we have to make the demand with our dollars. If you are a consumer, look for products made from partial or 100% hemp and buy them even if the quality isn't there yet. It's a tiny sacrifice in the longterm. If you are a business, look for packaging that is hemp based and use it, even if the look and feel isn't there yet. Better yet, if you have a business that is currently in fabrics or plastics or any kind of product manufacturing, you ought to be creating your own sources or processes for more and more hemp in your products. First movers are going to win in the long run with this strategy. Use it as a story to promote your corporate responsibility. Publicly shame companies and competition not doing the same. Show your customer that their dollars are making real demonstrable change.

Tell others about why you are making these decisions and encourage them to do the same. This is how revolutions happen friends so let's stay on target.

Love and Peace,

Jesse Barney

November 1, 2019