A Brush with Majik

In 2005, when the body care company he worked for closed its doors, Ronnie realized his experience creating natural care products made him an ideal candidate to develop such a product and went to work perfecting an antiseptic balm. With a local tattoo shop as his test market, Ronnie quickly refined his recipe, capturing the attention of area tattoo enthusiasts and giving birth to Tattoo Majik.

Hank Bertka, owner of Hardcore Tattoo in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was one of the first clients to use Tattoo Majik’s healing ointment. He tried it first on some of his own tattoos and was so impressed by the results that he began offering it to his clients. “I really liked that it wasn’t a petroleum-based product,” Hank says. “It goes on thin, is all natural, and it doesn’t clog up your pores like Neosporin and products like that.”

The option for tattoo shop owners to add their own private labeling to Tattoo Majik made it even more appealing. According to Hank, “The private labeling really sets Tattoo Majik apart. Every tin I sell is like a business card promoting Hardcore.” Initially, Ronnie worked with an independent designer on the label customization and packaging. However, as word of Tattoo Majik’s natural healing products spread and the independent labeling requests became more numerous and complicated, it was obvious that it was time to bring in a bigger firm.

Thumbing through the design section of the phone book, Ronnie was drawn to FUEL’s listing, thinking to himself, “They could fuel my business.” His musings turned out to be correct. When FUEL showed Ronnie its initial design ideas for his company, he knew immediately that partnering with them would give him the edge he was looking for.

“Every little detail was accounted for and presented with such precision and balance. They had completely nailed what I was looking for.”

— Ronnie F.

After an intense stage of dynamic collaboration, FUEL emerged with a refined identity and logo for Tattoo Majik, followed by a series of advertisements and a collection of distinctive product labels. “They exceeded all of my expectations,” Ronnie explains. “Every little detail was accounted for and presented with such precision and balance. They had completely nailed what I was looking for.”

Before the ink had dried on the first FUEL ad, Ronnie received an invitation to promote Tattoo Majik in Crave magazine, a publication dedicated to the business of tattooing and body modification. Inspired by his product’s fresh image and identity, Ronnie placed a two-page full-color ad and waited for the edition to hit the newsstands.

The response was immediate. The phone rang continuously with calls from tattoo artists and shop owners intrigued by the custom label concept and anxious to promote their business with a product their patrons were raving about. “What surprised me most of all,” shares Ronnie, “was the perception these clients had of Tattoo Majik being this big corporation. FUEL’s ad design had pushed us to a level of professionalism that gave us instant credibility in the industry.”

In addition to capturing the eye of potential clients, the vivid color palette and maverick illustrations used in the Tattoo Majik advertisements earned both a gold ADDY and the esteemed Judge’s Choice award at the recent Cedar Rapids Advertising Federation award banquet. These annual accolades recognize exemplary and innovative design and speak volumes about the sophisticated approach used to convey Tattoo Majik’s message.

In Ronnie’s eyes success has come as a result of hard work, being true to his vision, and aligning his company with a progressive design firm. “FUEL helped Tattoo Majik make a name for ourselves immediately,” he explains. “By the time the competitors tried to imitate what we were doing, our reputation for reliability and excellence helped us to maintain our edge.”

Today Tattoo Majik’s custom-labeled organic ointments, lotions, and creams are shipped wholesale to tattoo and piercing shops around the world from the company’s underground studio in downtown Cedar Rapids. The business has grown immensely from its early days, thanks largely to its niche products, strategic advertising efforts, and partnership with an innovative design firm.

Bill Bollman
Creative Director

Bill Bollman is FUEL’s Creative Director. Before co-founding FUEL in 2001, he worked for Horizon Communications, JW Morton and Basler Design Group. Bill studied Illustration at Hawkeye Tech in Waterloo, Iowa. An expert in the “old ways” of hands-on print production, these skills influence his work in the digital world to this day. His work throughout his career has been featured in international publications including Graphis, How International Design, Communication Arts, and The One Book as well as numerous design annuals and reference books.

Hometown: West Union, Iowa
Involved in Design and Marketing since 1988
Interests: Fitness, Travel, Movies