Pentagram has designed the brand identity for Jerry Garcia Wellness, a new CBD-centric business that evokes the vision and values of Jerry Garcia. As the legendary founder of The Grateful Dead, one of the most successful touring bands in rock and roll history, Jerry Garcia was an early proponent of cannabis legalization and believed in its natural benefits decades before it became widely recognized as an effective aid to health and wellness.
The Grateful Dead (ranked 57 on Rolling Stone’s list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”) was formed in the San Francisco Bay Area amid the rise of the counterculture of the 1960s. The founding members were Bob Weir, Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzman and Jerry Garcia, who was lead guitarist and vocalist and the natural leader of the group. The Grateful Dead remained active until Garcia’s passing in 1995 but the band’s soul was rooted in the psychedelic, pot smoking, hippie scene of the mid-60s.
One of the enduring symbols of the hippie era in America was the tie-dyed T-shirt. Tie-dye was not just a fashion choice, but visual expression of protest against the establishment and the Vietnam War and a symbol of support and advocacy for peace, love, and music. Naturally, tie-dye became synonymous with the Grateful Dead and the values it stood for. Tie-dyed apparel was frequently worn by the throngs of loyal Deadheads that attended the band’s concerts over the decades and, although Jerry Garcia rarely wore it while performing, tie-dyed patterns were used extensively as stage graphics and backdrops, on concert posters and album covers, and in other band promotions. Understanding the power of tie-dye as a ubiquitous symbol of peace, love, and music– “wellness”–and Jerry Garcia himself, the Pentagram team created a set of custom tie-dye patterns as additional brand tools. Different colored tie-dye patterns are used to differentiate the individual offerings in the line of products.
During the Grateful Dead’s long touring run and because of the group’s cult-like following, a rich variety of iconography became associated with the band including the “Skull and Roses,” the “Jester,” the “Dancing Bears,” the “Steal Your Face” logo, the “Dancing Terrapins,” and the “Uncle Sam Skeleton.” All these symbols of the Grateful Dead were possible reference points for the Pentagram team, but the designers wanted a symbol that represented Jerry Garcia on a more personal level–not his famous band.
The Jerry Garcia Wellness brand is an officially licensed partner of the Garcia family which gave the Pentagram design team exclusive access to Jerry’s personal signature and his famous, four-finger handprint. When he was five years old, Garcia lost his middle finger in a wood cutting accident. His distinctive guitar playing was influenced by the missing finger on his right hand–his strumming hand–and the iconic black-and-white handprint that resulted from it is as recognizable to “Deadheads” as his unique sound signature.
By combining the iconic four-finger handprint with custom tie-dye patterns, the design team created a new symbol to represent the Jerry Garcia Wellness brand that is uniquely “Jerry.” Nothing is more personal than his own handprint and the nostalgic tie-dye pattern symbolizes wellness and the other beneficial attributes of the natural CBD products.
In addition to developing the visual brand identity for Jerry Garcia Wellness, Pentagram designed the packaging for the full line of products, which includes a collection of highly effective tinctures, a robust array of topicals, and rose-shaped gummies.
Jerry Garcia Wellness was the brainchild of Garcia’s youngest daughter Keelin Garcia, who is the President of Jerry Garcia Music Arts, LLC. She launched the new brand in partnership with Harmony Extracts, a longtime Pentagram client based in Denver, Colorado. A portion of all sales will be donated to charitable organizations directed by Jerry Garcia’s family.
Keelin Garcia is an avid environmentalist, much like her father who advocated for the preservation of the rainforests and the coral reefs. Following in his footsteps, Keelin had high standards for the physical packaging of the new line of wellness products. The packaging avoids the use of materials made with petroleum products and utilizes natural materials like organic rubber and bamboo.
“It is an honor to work on this 100% organic and plastic-free CBD project initiated by Jerry Garcia Wellness,” said Keelin Garcia. “We appreciate how dedicated the company has been to ensure that every aspect of the project is in line with what father believed in and supported.”