Is the “Ontario Cannabis Store” name and logo really that bad?

Perhaps in response to strict cannabis marketing restrictions, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario has unveiled the name and logo for their cannabis stores, choosing the literal over creative with “Ontario Cannabis Store”.

According to the LCBO, “The name is designed to convey a safe, simple and approachable environment for consumers, and agency employees, in a clear and easily understood manner.”

The design has drawn criticism for being boring and too expensive- the Ontario Cannabis Store brand reportedly cost taxpayers $650,000 to develop, after all- but maybe this was the LCBO intentionally pushing itself to create the most inoffensive brand possible for their government-controlled stores.

Maybe it was deemed necessary in order to help consumers differentiate between Ontario Cannabis Stores and the hundreds of dispensaries currently operating all over Ontario, which are technically illegal since the LCBO is being handed a monopoly on cannabis distribution and retail. It seems the provincial government is committed to doing whatever it can to stamp out any cannabis retailers operating outside of the OCS system through raids and arrests- even after “legalization“.

But with any logo design, it comes down to personal taste, and there are some people who like the minimalist approach, and some who don’t. In comparison to the LCBO’s logo, the font for the Ontario Cannabis Store is cleaner and looks more modern, but it should be pointed out that the LCBO itself is a legacy brand with over 90 years as Ontario’s primary liquor distributor.

During the design process, the LCBO must have at some point considered a similar style for the OCS logo to capitalize off the goodwill and name recognition of the LCBO brand, but as we can see from the final logo, that decision was not pursued. A possible reason for this might have been to keep the LCBO’s cannabis and alcohol businesses separate.

ontario cannabis store
The logo for the LCBO.

In other details, Shopify will be handling all sales (online and in-store) as stated in the LCBO press release, and the stores will have a point-of-sale system that apparently runs on iPads.

At this point, Ontario Cannabis Stores will only sell cannabis flower, oils, and accessories, with edibles and concentrates expected sometime next year.


CBC: Not High on Inspiration: Ontario Cannabis Store logo derided as boring.

LCBO Cannabis Updates: New Agency Brand Name and Logo, Details on Online and In-store Technology, Board of Directors.