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client: we'd
location: hamilton, ontario
type: branding & cannabis retail

The brief called for a unique, alluring design for a cannabis store as well as a whimsical logo, with an emphasis on attracting younger demographics and appealing to both new and aficionado cannabis patrons. The clients, businessmen new to the cannabis field, wanted to create a meaningful customer experience through accessible education and creatively curated product design, while remaining budget-conscious. Newcomers to the field, they desired a distinctive and revitalised store design in order to provide a stand-out, sophisticated perspective in the otherwise uniform cannabis sector. 

   The goal was to create a visually appealing display, emulating a gallery or studio of products, while simultaneously allowing first-time customers to easily discover the array of offerings, and discerning patrons to browse freely. In accordance with Ontario cannabis retail regulations prohibiting external visibility into the store, a challenge arose: enticing new customers without the advantage of visible allure of the products and designs inside. To overcome this, creativity was infused into the store’s architectural form through a large, wave-like entrance wall labelled with white-on-black supergraphics, creating an inviting, visually striking first impression. As a play on the company name “WE’:D”, the Architect designed a tongue in cheek logo with a smiley face :), further adding to the playful and vibrant charm of the store.

Upon entering, the space starts two journeys; one entices first-time customers to “take a stroll” through the offerings available; the other acts as a “pick-up” station for returning customers. 


Upon entering, the space starts two journeys; one entices first-time customers to “take a stroll” through the offerings available; the other acts as a “pick-up” station for returning customers. 

The “take a stroll” section of We’:D functions as an exploratory gallery, focused on presenting the full spectrum of cannabis products paired with a modern and fun ambiance for new customers. Large, curvy-style white pillar walls constrained by a datum and contrasted against the high black ceilings are adorned with horizontal wood fins, serving as display alcoves for the array of products. Inward-curving niches in these pillars house hanging shelves of products with prominent labels indicating the type and grade of each cannabis offering. To further enhance the customer experience, colourful light is used to capture the sensation and character of each product. Drawing inspiration from the resplendent hues of sunrise and sunset, a colour palette evoking the intensity and effect of different products envelopes the space. Each niche houses a different sensation matching that of its product; soothing indica products are paralleled with deep blues and velvety blacks, gradually transitioning to vibrant hues of orange and yellow surrounding the energising sativa products. The design is both artfully experiential and easily navigable for first-time cannabis users, enticing their senses and sparking curiosity.


Our design opted to omit standard drop-down ceilings, in favour of high industrial ceilings which were painted black. Rings of LED pendants drop in contrast to the black ceilings and punctuate the central customer education counter in the heart of the store. The display counter is a sinuously round, corian-countertop table with inward-sloping cylindrical legs, enhancing the eccentricity and free-flowing form of the store. The tabletop holds tablets facing each direction, assisting customers with their browsing and exploration. 

As the first time user transitions to the returning customer, the left side upon entrance to the store has a pick-up station designed for convenience. A window minimalistically placed within the curving wall acts as a grab-and-go area where customers can pick up their products with ease. Spirited phrases accenting the pick-up wall add a playful and vibrant mood to the design. Polished concrete floors and exposed ceiling contribute to a budget-friendly design, and, along with the wooden shelves, are eco-friendly in their execution.

The inspiration for the design was twofold: a solid cube with a fluidly carved out void opening. All walls and shelves created a continuous freeform wave pattern that enveloped and defined the store's interiors. The idea was to create an experience that was fun and fluid; a flowing journey of discovery that is at once whimsical, spontaneous and sophisticated. Returning to the shop months after completion, the client noted that in addition to the younger demographic that was targeted, the store, due to its elevated retail experience, also attracted the attention of the ‘soccer mom’ and other customers seeking an upscale experience in the cannabis market. 

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