About

My aim is to create beautiful designs for discerning, purpose-centered people. When something needs to be from the heart, hand-made, thoughtfully considered, and authentic, I’m there to serve the cause. For the few I work with, the love runs deep. 

It started with music. Solving problems to make the best album possible was my first introduction to the creative process.  Constraints of time, money, equipment, and strong personalities in an intensely competitive field were the norm for many years. I performed and produced in a variety of styles with fantastically talented friends (Hughes & Wagner, Buellton, Petracovich). I’m proud of the music that I put into the world and am grateful to the audience that has welcomed the music into their lives. 

Today things have expanded, though the goal is more or less the same as it was back then - to reach a goal by designing from the heart. 

I’m a Bay Area native. I lived on the Peninsula before the dot coms and before traffic started to resemble the gridlock of LA. From an early age I was steeped in classic, historic San Francisco. The rhythmic rows of Victorian houses, Golden Gate Park, the sunsets at Ocean Beach that made me feel fantastically small … I have always held a love for the city. 

After high school, the draw to experience another part of the state was strong, so I ventured out and earned my philosophy degree in Santa Barbara. I particularly loved formal logic and the critical thinking skills I developed but stepped off the academic path in favor of starting a recording studio. For years I worked towards a career in music. It was a intensely productive and satisfying time, but as much as I loved music, I realized that it had never been *just* about music. It was about expression and craft of all types.

I loved the wild ring of a distorted guitar, but I was also drawn to a beautifully composed photograph. So as I grew up beyond college, I grew into a larger world of visual design and an appreciation for all types well-performed artistic work. 

I went from guitar to photography, to web design, to vector illustration to ink drawings and custom letters. I’ve loved them all at different stages and they still all get along.  They’ve come to fit like puzzle pieces and work together to inform my love for all things that are genuine. While I now focus on drawing letters and illustrations, the rest is all there, an ephemeral presence, informing each line. 

About a year ago I moved back to the Bay Area - to San Francisco specifically. I’m reconnecting with family and childhood friends and visiting the parks and buildings that I've loved so much.  I’ve enjoyed an amazing homecoming that has been centering and life giving.  

In this new chapter I’ve been honored to befriend some of the best artists and designers out there. Workshops with Type@Cooper West and regular Type Thursday type critiques keeps me growing deeper in love with hand-crafted designs and with a city that was never all that far away. 

 

 

Testimonials

Thank you for leaving a legacy of brilliance at Oniracom! You will always be part of the family. I can’t wait to see your next chapter unfold.
— Jacob Tell, CEO Oniracom
In addition to being a talented and creative artist, Tad Wagner pays close attention to the needs of clients. He is responsive, works within time and budgetary constraints, and always delivers top-notch work.
— Brian Thompson, Owner Telegraph Brewing
This [logo] looks fantastic... you delivered something that completely meets our goals.
— Jonathan D. Miller, Partner NPS Law
Tad is without doubt one of the most pleasant people you can imagine working with. He is a selfless worker who seeks to resolve tensions. As a leader, he remains calm under pressure and seeks to make not just the quick decision, but the decision that makes sense and will work in the long run. Work with him, work for him, anything, you won’t regret it.
— Brandon Waybright, Designer/Colleague
One of my favorite people to work with ever.
— Jimmy Straayer, Colleague