Dark Igloo provide a bright, optimistic, and dreamy identity for psilocybin dispensary PLANT
Much like the evolution of cannabis brands over the 2010s, there is an emerging market looking to change the perception of psilocybin, known colloquially as ‘magic mushrooms.’ The naturally occurring psychedelic compound can be found in over 200 strains of fungi and is known to produce mild euphoric states. Thanks to optimistic research results in its treatment of depression, psilocybin is seeing an improved reputation, something that PLANT – an out-of-state psilocybin dispensary – were hoping to build upon.
When PLANT approached Brooklyn-based design studio Dark Igloo to design their identity and packaging, all they provided was a name (Peace Love And Natural Things) and their product line-up of capsules, tinctures and chocolates. This gave the studio an open opportunity to let their instincts lead the way, and in turn, allow the resulting identity to embrace the evolving perception of ‘magic mushrooms’ as holistic medicine. The identity’s visual language sees a combination of a trustworthy, contemporary, and understated foundation with optical illusions, vibrant photography, and other touches that speak to the sensations one experiences on a psilocybin journey.
The starting point of the logo can be found in the geometry of the Taj Mahal’s door frame – referencing the strain of mushroom used in the products as well as the idea of a ‘portal.’ As the illustration evolved, the logo was able to provide a second meaning, as it depicted a large mushroom. “Conceptually, the dual meaning felt like a bullseye: to show the mushrooms used in the products,” the studio explain, “as well as a path to brighter feelings and emotional honesty, in a single icon.”
The packaging remains simple, with the sunny typography of the wordmark grounded by the amber glass of the vials and jars. Quorum by ITC was the teams’ starting point, as they aimed to evoke the organic swing of a mushroom stem. “The font came pre-baked with some nice natural curves like in the lobe of the ‘P,’” Dark Igloo explain, “so we customised it by adding some curves in the ‘L’ and the ‘N’ to resemble the natural silhouette of a mushroom stem.”
Taking the natural theme as a starting point for the colours, the palette both references the dark, earthy tones of a forest floor as well as the warm vibrancy of a sunny sky. To counterbalance this, the art direction, through a serene blend of bright colours and shimmery highlights, aims to emulate the subtle effects of psilocybin; blissed out but not overwhelmed.
Tying the identity together are the ‘trippy’ illustrations provided by studio co-founder Dave Franzese. These feature the unofficial mascot of the wandering frog as she goes on her own little trip with a ladybug friend. Countering the more understated aspects of the visual language, the illustrations provide fun, detailed, and safe imagery to explore whilst the consumer eases into an imaginative state of mind. “Like the rest of the project, we wanted the work to feel optimistic and healing, not overly trippy and in-your-face,” they conclude.