History of Tingalls Graphic Design
After graduating from UW-Madison in December 1997 with a double major in Communication Arts and Journalism, I started working at a local ad agency called Bob Pike & Company. Although the position title was listed as Assistant Account Executive, I was nothing more than a secretary making coffee, purchasing office supplies and running errands. I found myself drawn to the design staff and quickly realized I wasn't in the right department and left the firm.
I applied to the art department at MATC, but to make ends meet until the semester started, I took a temp job with Epic Life Insurance Company as an insurance quoter. To my surprise, I actually enjoyed and excelled at the position and was soon promoted to Associate Underwriter. Still with my eye on design, I dabbled in design throughout my position redesigning letterhead, forms, fax sheets, business cards, etc.
A few months later, the company folded but my supervisor, who had known of my design interest, asked if I'd be interested in transferring to the Corporate Communications department of their parent company, WPS Health Insurance. "Cool! On the job training!" I thought. For the next three years, I worked diligently to master the ins and outs of page layout in QuarkXpress. I was known around the office as "Speedy Tara" because I became so proficient.
When I got married in 2000, my email prefix changed from "thallam" to "tingalls" which got a few laughs. For fun, I designed a business card with a phonetic twist on "Design" and POOF! Tingalls Dzyn was born.
My first freelance client was my wedding photographer who asked me to design their wedding brochure and stationery. A few months later, they referred me to AARP Wisconsin and White Iris Stained Glass. With my two monthly newsletter designs for the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce and Cherokee Country Club, I decided it was time to take the leap. My last day at WPS was September 14, 2001.
Through networking and word of mouth, those 5 initial clients quickly grew to over 50 in my first year. I found myself drawn to start-ups, small businesses and nonprofits (which makes up 85% of our existing client base today) as well as larger companies looking to outsource their marketing. I also began offering website design in addition to my logo design and print marketing. In no time at all, my little freelance company wasn't so little anymore.
In 2003, I decided to make another leap and move out of my home and into office space. I found a quaint little spot off Fish Hatchery Road. It was a great starter office but when I had to convert my storage closet into an office for my third employee, I knew I'd outgrown my "nest." In May 2006, we flew the coop and landed in our current location in Fitchburg, Wisconsin.
Today, the Tingalls Team consists of several talented employees in not only graphic design but also illustration, photography, copywriting, search engine optimization and project management. I have also established strong partnerships with Madison area printers, coders, photographers and videographers to round out my full service design firm.
I'm really excited where my business is headed! With eye-catching and affordable design products, a talented staff and over 650 clients, I hope the next 10 years are as fulfilling as the last!
- Tara Ingalls, owner