International TAG Team

Many TAG clients are local, or U.S. based. But, did you know we work with international companies as well? TAG clients and services reach all over the globe, making us worldwide! This requires us to be extremely forward-thinking and compliant to assure we represent our clients effectively. So not only are we worried about compliance state-side but also abroad!

International Clients TAG currently works with:

Sandstrom Coating Technologies develops and manufactures quality coatings for customers all over the world. Sandstrom needed a contemporary website with improved Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The TAG team updated Sandstrom’s brand as seen on their website, to reflect its status in the industry and convey expertise to global customers.

Sivyer Steel Castings produces high quality steel casting products for use in the global construction, energy, military, mining and transportation industries. While the company implemented a plan to restructure in early 2018, the TAG team helped Sivyer launch their turnaround with key strategies focused on reinvigorating their brand. This involved redesigning their website and enhancing social media deployment to include video as well as public relation strategies to better communicate with a work market how Sivyer can meet the needs of the industry.

Crane Merchandising Systems is a leading global manufacturer of innovative solutions for vending machines, cashless systems, software and wireless communications. As a pioneer and market leader in vending, Crane has sought out new ways to enhance how consumers interact with their machines. TAG is engaged in assisting with launching new product brands utilizing strong design and messaging deployed on the web, print media and trade shows. All efforts are geared toward new customer lead development and current customer retention.

Sears Seating supplies superior seating solutions with over five generations of experience. Sears has expanded greatly over the years, establishing Sears Europe in the United Kingdom, signing a manufacturing partnership in India, expanding business in Brazil and even opening an office in Japan. The TAG team designed and launched a website that is adaptable in North America and Europe to help customers navigate their new site to easily receive the highest quality products.

TAG represents clients domestically as well as internationally, all over the globe. No matter the client if they are an Iowa native or a business owner in the United Kingdom, we offer the same services and steadfast dedication to creating and designing the very best. Our website compliance assures that your content will be accessible to all user no matter what country they reside in. For more information regarding our work please visit our website!

TAG! You’re It!

Meet Zach O’Connell! ZO_3

Zach recently celebrated his two-year anniversary at TAG and has been creating inventive designs and eating oatmeal every morning but today, we ask him about his creative process and other thought-provoking questions.

If you had to describe yourself using a kitchen utensil, what would you be and why?

I am a knife because of how sharp I am.

What helps you get into that creative space to design?

I am most creative when I am able to really focus on what I’m doing with a clear mind, so I will do things like go on a walk during my lunch break to help me get into that space. I also do a lot of sketching quickly, get a lot of ideas out before taking it to the computer.

You have a time machine. You can go back to any time period to have dinner and conversation with 3 people. Who are they and why?

First, I would pick Walt Disney to hear about the humble beginnings of what has become a massive company.

Second, I would pick one of my ancestors like my great great grandfather because I don’t know really anything about them and it would be interesting to learn more about where I come from.

Third, Steve Jobs, because I could hear about the early days of Apple, but more importantly, I hope he would be able to tell me about the early days of Pixar as well.

Tell me one thing about design that everyone outside of that world might not understand?

How valuable it is.  A lot of work goes into making things look good and function well, and it can have a massive impact on how we interact with the world around us.

You find yourself trapped in the board game Jumanji, do you think you survive or is it Game Over? giphy

Am I allowed to watch the movie before entering the game, so I can remember how to get out? Regardless, I’ll make it out.

What are your 3 favorite projects you have worked on at TAG? 

Three of my favorite projects I’ve worked on are: Logo and website design for Smokestack, packaging re-design for Hungry Hobo, and I still think it’s cool when I see Genesis buses driving around town with artwork I created on them.

When is your ideal bed time?

I used to be a pretty devoted 11:00 pm guy, but recently I have been getting up earlier and have transitioned to more of a 10:00 pm person (sometimes it’s more like 9:30. Teenage me would be shocked).

Finally, what is your favorite part about working at TAG?  

My favorite part about working at TAG is getting to be creative with a great team every day!

Why White Space is Important in Design


What was the first thing you noticed about this banner? Chances are it was either the happy couple or Something Borrowed, they both drive home the same message. It was effective in standing out because it was not overcrowded with copy, images and logos.

Using white space is an effective way to draw your eye to a particular point, and can also improve message retention. But in order to use white space effectively you have to know what it really is.

It’s a simple answer isn’t it? But white space, also known as negative space, is more than just a blank canvas. That “white” area could actually be composed of color or texture. It even exists in those spaces between and around words. The most professional-looking ads have been designed with white space in mind.

Many times people want to fill every square inch of the space. However, it is better to use the less is more approach, and use negative space to put the emphasis on actual content. When you don’t use negative space, the viewer is overwhelmed by images and text, making it difficult to retain the message. You can’t do that without some white space.

These elements are the most important when it comes to using white space:

  1. Consider the main message  – Be sure that you are surrounding the most important part of your ad with enough white space.
  2. Who is the customer  – They are not all the same, you need to adjust accordingly.
  3.  Appropriate margins – To help the ad look purposefully designed, use enough negative space so that you don’t crowd the edges. This doesn’t mean that elements of the ad can’t bleed to the edges, but your core message needs to be surrounded by enough white space. Sometimes this may mean that you need to reduce the size of text or an image for it to be more effective.
  4. Create a hierarchy – Adjusting the white space around visual elements can create various levels of importance and help the eye move through the ad.

Chelsea Liske, Graphic Designer

Top 5 benefits of updating your old website

If the last time you revised the design of your website was three years ago or more, it is in your benefit to update. Beyond the most apparent advantage of a fresh new look, there are many others you may never have considered.

TAG’s Top 5 benefits of updating your old website:

1.       Easier to edit:

Old websites were designed using hard coding, in which persons trained in HTML were needed to make any changes to the page. Contrary to this old system, a new option available today is the Content Management System, or CMS. The major advantage of a CMS over hard coding is, it is much simpler for the “average” computer user to go in and make changes to the page as needed.

2.       More user friendly:

Consumers’ implicit expectations for websites are in a constant state of change. What was the norm for layout and content on sites even a handful of years ago is not the same as it is today. Investing in routine website design updates ensures your company stays relevant and user friendly to all visitors to your page.

3.       Sleeker image:

Again, the rule of thumb I like to give for redesigning websites is to do so every two to three years. Neglecting this pragmatism with a static web appearance can make you appear just that – neglectful. Take pride in this important aspect of your business, by maintaining an informational and engaging site.

 4.       Improved search engine optimization:

One of the biggest advantages newer websites have is better Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. SEO is the ability of a website to be picked up by search engines such as Google or Yahoo when Internet users type in key words. The reason for this difference is primarily due to the way the site is built and the elements inside – such as photos, videos and blogs.

 5.       Mobile compatibility:

Contrary to their older counterparts, a majority of newly designed websites are mobile optimized for Smartphone and tablet users. This means the content on the page is not only quick to load, but is set to appropriate scale and easy to find. With 20 percent of the U.S.’s Internet use streaming from these two sources, mobile compatibility is not an element to be overlooked.

To find out what TAG can do for your old website, click here!

How is a urinal like an advertising agency?

Some of the most interesting conversations I’ve had lately start with just 140 characters. The other day, my friend @YoungImpact (Stephen) had referenced in a tweet the phrase, “toilet as canvas” in relation to a venture capitalist start up event in Washington DC. Just to show you what type of rabbit warren the tangents in my head resemble, his tweet immediately reminded me of Marcel Duchamp and his pivotal work, Fountain.

Subsequently, we had a brief conversation about venture capitalists, art and Hugh Jackman …and you’re about to read the final result of that exchange.

When Fountain was submitted by Marcel Duchamp to the Salon in 1917 under the pseudonym of R. Mutt, it was not displayed.  The board members, for whatever reason, did not see fit to include the work among “real art.” Whether or not a urinal with a signature is art is academic for the purposes of this blogpost. More important is the upending and redefining of what art is/was.

Simply by elevating any “found object” or “readymade” to the status of fine art by decreeing it to be so, Duchamp had inverted the traditional patron-artist relationship. Together with Picasso, who also redefined what art could be and for whom, Duchamp had put the power in the hands of the artist. The artist’s vision was the commodity.

Applied to the construct of an advertising agency: why do individuals, organizations and businesses hire us? Is it because we’re snappy dressers? We’re fun at parties? Yes to both, but again, academic for the sake of discussion.

Advertising and marketing firms are in the business of alchemy. We take data from market research, mix it with ink and celluloid, bytes and keystrokes and transform it into a message. The people who work at firms like ours are artists. We can kern letters just so. We can take your message and marry it with technology to render it memorable.

Our vision is our value. Our audience perspective is where it all pays off.