Operation North Pole: An Inside Look At The World’s Largest Manufacturing Facility

Disclaimer: Locations and names have been changed to ensure the protection of both those involved and myself. It’s to the understanding of Mr. Claus that his facility and staff will remain a mystery, with only pre-approved details making their way into the final piece. Also, I’m not saying that any of this is true—I’m not saying it isn’t either.


I can feel my legs vibrate as they touch ground for the first time in the 3251-mile journey to the northernmost point on earth. I look behind me as the wind from the helicopter blades nearly knocks me off my feet. My mind races as I try to recall how I found myself in this situation. My boots sink into the snow and I can hear the sound of the snow as it forms to my boot; every step I take is met with a loud crunch as the snow packs under my boot, as if the snow atop the icy surface has gone untouched for years; my legs jostle as they fully support myself for the first time in what seems like days. The past 24 hours have been nothing short of a blur to me: a private chartered flights, a nine-hour road trip down the Canadian highway, a ferry across the Atlantic; every move I make is carefully designed and conducted under extreme supervision—and for good reason.

Back in July of 2016, our sales team received an order for over 200 unique visual management systems. Their final destination: unknown. The purchasing agent was very selective when it came to details. All we were given was the address for a warehouse off the coast of St. Anthony. After a few weeks time the products were manufactured and shipped off from our factory in New York and freighted directly to Newfoundland. A month later, the purchasing agent contacted us again, this time looking for an additional 800 production systems. The order itself was alarmingly large—even for a billion dollar manufacturing facility.

For context: The world’s largest manufacturing facilities, employing hundreds of thousands of blue-collar workers, only call for a third of what this order was requesting. Our dry erase boards solve a big problem many factories face by working as a form of visual communication between management and the workforce. While serving a vital need for the manufacturing industry, virtually no single factory can require this quantity of purchases For a factory to be ordering our products in such a massive number—to a location that has no immediate ties to the manufacturing industry—you’re left to assume one of two things: either that there’s a branch of a multi-billion dollar company located off the coast of St. Anthony, or that the organization in question is simply a cover and for something that’s worth all the trouble of concealing.

A quick Google search for “St. Anthony manufacturing” turns up nothing but a few articles on a local metal fabrication facility and a cold storage warehouse—surely nothing too out of the ordinary. I spent hours researching some of the globes largest manufacturing facilities: Do they do business in Canada? Perhaps they ship remotely from an off-site location? How many international manufacturers are based out of The Great White North? It became clear that no matter how deep I continued to dive into the origins of the purchase, nothing would come of it.

At this point in my day, I was so heavily invested in uncovering the origins of this purchase, that it would be foolish to toss in the towel so soon. Besides, any company that’s buying over 1,000 Magnatag products must adore our brand; I would be doing my superiors a disservice by not following through with the customer—at least, that’s what I told myself. The truth is the mystery was just too much fun to cover. I felt like a young Sherlock Holmes: ambitious, determined, brilliant (or so I thought), and lacking British sensibilities—the complete package, really.

With the help of our sales team I was able to get a hold of an email address for the purchasing agent in charge of the order. The client provided only his initials: ‘M.E.’, for the purchase. I reached out using the generic outreach email I usually use: talking a bit about our company; speaking of my position and responsibilities as a member of our marketing team; and most importantly, asking if they would be interested in a helping with some product research by conducting a quick over-the-phone interview with myself. Hook, line, and sinker. Continue reading Operation North Pole: An Inside Look At The World’s Largest Manufacturing Facility

3 Things You Need To Know Before Creating Your First Whiteboard Animation

The average person watches approximately 16 minutes of video advertisements per month. Some analysts believe that this number will double over the course of the next five years, largely due to an increase in quality content.

One cost-effective approach that many businesses are taking to push quality content for their brand is creating whiteboard videos. Whiteboard videos (sometimes referred to as explainer videos) are short three to five minute videos that walk the viewer through a particular problem, story, or concept. Using the backdrop of a traditional whiteboard to serve as a blank slate for the story, the narrator’s words are visualized with the help of illustrations.

Given that whiteboard animations welcome virtually any subject matter one can think of, it’s no surprise that many companies have begun to implement this design element into their advertising campaigns. But there’s more to whiteboard videos than simply talking about a product or service and adding some fancy animations alongside it. In fact, whiteboard advertisements are arguably one of the most carefully constructed forms of video advertisements, as they rely heavily on the art of salesmanship, copywriting, and visual cues.

With a company slogan like “show what’s happening” our team at Magnatag knows a thing or two about making the most out of visuals. So in an effort to help your business get off the ground and start producing video advertisements that actually convert, we put together a list of must haves for whiteboard animations. Continue reading 3 Things You Need To Know Before Creating Your First Whiteboard Animation

3 Things You Can Plan For This Thanksgiving

Here at Magnatag, we’re all about maximizing efficiency so you can spend more time focusing on the important things in life—like spending time with family for example! With one of America’s most popular holidays just around the corner, and we’d like to help you spend more time with your loved ones and less time planning. So here’s five ways you can plan ahead for turkey-day.

Create a checklist of who’s responsible for each dish

Creating checklists is an easy way to ensure that every dish will be prepared for the big day. To ensure that our company-wide Thanksgiving celebration went off without a hitch, Magnatag created a Step-Tracker whiteboard that was displayed in our break room. With the whiteboard readily accessible by every member of our team, we were able to ensure that no single dish was assigned to multiple people. There’s nothing worse than having to run into the madness that is a grocery store the day before thanksgiving—and whether you like to admit it or not, we’ve all been there. Dish checklists can also double as a guest itinerary, preventing any second-guessing that may result during the table setting phase. Regardless of the scope of your party, this is definitely one element of the planning process that should be considered a must-have. Continue reading 3 Things You Can Plan For This Thanksgiving

Exploring The Forgotten Origins of Halloween

With Halloween weekend just around the corner, the Magnatag team wanted to create something a bit different than our typical blog post to celebrate the holiday. And with a company slogan like “Show what’s happening”, what better way to bring in the Halloween spirit than with an explainer video?

There’s a lot of history behind Halloween and it’s forgotten origins. So sit back, pour yourself a glass of cider, and find out what makes the history of Halloween so mysterious!

Introducing Whiteboards We Love

Whiteboards are everywhere: in the office, behind the counter at your local coffee shop, in a coaches hand during the final moments of a championship game, in your child’s kindergarten classroom. To many people, they’re considered a go-to resource for articulating and embracing ideas and conversations.

It’s no surprise that at Magnatag, whiteboards are our passion. Our offices are quite literally filled wall to wall with everything ranging from inspirational quotes down to monthly calendars. To put it simply: we can’t get enough of dry erase products.

We believe there is something mesmerizing about a dry erase surface. That’s why we’ve decided to start a new weekly topic that highlights some of the most unique and innovative whiteboard creations.

Every Friday, we’ll feature a one-of-a-kind whiteboard design, created by our community. In the case that it can be arranged, we’ll provide you with a short Q&A featuring the artist behind the creation, uncovering the inspirations, design choices and work that coincide with the piece.

Along the way, if you find something you would like us to share, you can tag it alongside the hashtag #WhiteboardsWeLove for a chance to be featured on one of our social channels, including the Magnatag Insight blog.

For the first week of our program, we chose an image that may be familiar to some of our loyal Magnatag devotees. Created by one of our in-house graphic designers, this illustration showcases the Rochester City Skyline. Check it out below:


Have you found any whiteboards worth sharing? Mention us  on Twitter (@Magnatag)  and Facebook (Facebook.com/Magnatag) using the hashtag #WhiteboardsWeLove and we’ll share some of our favorites! We’ll be back next Friday with more eye-catching designs!

Whiteboards, Conference Rooms, and The Scheduling Institute: An Inside Look At The Dental Industry’s Best Kept Secret

As the leading manufacturer of dry erase whiteboards, schedules, and office supplies, companies frequently call upon our expertise to help create an effective means of visual communication. We’ve helped thousands of companies find the perfect solution for all their communication needs, providing facilities with the tools needed to create a cohesive and connected work environment. We recently joined forces with The Scheduling Institute in Alpharetta, Georgia, as their global headquarters underwent a massive redesign.

The Scheduling Institute is a company that is focused on helping private practice doctors change how they approach their business strategies. By teaching doctors and their staff about how to work “on” the business instead of “in” the business, dental practices that have taken part in one of The Scheduling Institute’s many workshops and accompanying classes have become more safe, efficient, and profitable. Students of the program are taught business strategies and leadership skills that help grow and maintain their practice. All along the way, instructors encourage students to find a purpose for what they do and how they can make a bigger impact on their staff, their patients, and their community.

Andrea Lansford, who’s in charge of expediting The Scheduling Institute’s creative teams, has spent a great deal of time developing internal spaces for employees to work in that will facilitate growth, creativity, and collaboration in an effort to strive for bigger goals.

Continue reading Whiteboards, Conference Rooms, and The Scheduling Institute: An Inside Look At The Dental Industry’s Best Kept Secret

Earth Day 2016: 5 Simple Ways To Go Green At The Office

This year marks the 46th annual Earth Day, a worldwide event that was established in 1970 in an effort to exhibit support for environmental protection. Among the billions of people that plan to celebrate today’s event, leaders from over 160 countries will also be taking part in celebrations as they sign the Paris climate agreement. The agreement, which began its initial stages back in 2011 and was completed just last year, will primarily focus on combating the amount of greenhouse gas emissions on a global scale.

For the rest of us working folk, Earth Day is just another day at the office. Sure, we may be a bit more conscientious and recycle a couple pieces of paper and feel as though we did our part, but the reality is that few workplaces actually take part in celebrating this global event. In an effort to step up our own game, we’ve put together a list of five ways you can help your office go green this Earth Day!

Continue reading Earth Day 2016: 5 Simple Ways To Go Green At The Office

Magnatag’s Connection To The U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials

On Saturday, the U.S. Olympic marathon trials will be held in Los Angeles (NBC 1:00 EST) and on Sunday over 25,000 participants will take part in the iconic Sketchers Performance Los Angeles Marathon.

The Olympic marathon trials are expected to attract approximately 350 elite runners from across the nation, all of which are competing for a total of six spots for the upcoming 2016 Olympic games in Rio De Janeiro this August.

Being dubbed by some locals as “Marathon Week”, the city is expecting to draw a larger crowd than what they typically expect for a marathon weekend.

If you’ve been following the Magnatag Insight blog, you may remember that members of the L.A. Fire Department relied heavily on Magnatag’s WakTack® magnets last year to help allocate resources for the marathon’s 30th consecutive year.

For special events like the L.A. Marathon, The Los Angeles Fire Department utilizes Magnatag’s Waktack® magnets to mark specific resources located within a designated area, like the 26-mile stretch from Los Angeles to Santa Monica.

LA Marathon

“We use a map and label the WakTacks® by fire resource [ambulance, fire engine, bicycle medical team] to show where they are on the LA marathon course. The WakTacks® work great because we can move them in real time as resources move,” said Edward Tumbleson, a situation leader of the L.A. Fire Department.”

Don’t expect a change in procedure for this year; with the both the marathon and trials occurring within a two day span, expect the L.A. Fire Department to be out in full swing, providing essential services to athletes throughout the weekend.

Magnatag® Visible Systems designs, manufactures and direct-markets over 2,300 magnetic printed whiteboard kits, calendar planners, maps, custom boards, WhiteWalls, RotoCube Bulletin Towers, magnets, whiteboard accessories and other information display systems for industry, hospitals, schools, business and government. Call a Visible Systems Specialist at 800-624-4154 or visit their website at www.magnatag.com.

The Los Angeles Fire Department is a safety agency protecting people in one of America’s largest cities. The LAFD has 3,246 uniformed fire personnel who protect the people and city of Los Angeles. The LAFD includes 106 neighborhood fire stations across the entire department. For more information, please visit www.lafd.org.


Planning For The New Year With Magnatag

At Magnatag Visible Systems, we practice what we preach. So as we begin to plan for the New Year, many people around the office are turning to our GiantYear® 365-day dry erase calendars to help coordinate various plans around the office.

Our marketing department houses a three-month variation of the board, which displays important dates for advertising publications, as well as other digital releases. The marketing team likes to treat this editorial calendar as a public domain of sorts; since contracts with publishers and online outlets are ever changing, there is a constant need for people to be in the loop with the what’s, where’s, and when’s of every advertising campaign. The whiteboard calendar is a hands-on tool for everyone in the office, providing an open opportunity for editing as needed.


Other members of our team, including managers of our I.T. department, use their GiantYear® calendar to stay on top of on website updates and new product launches:

Continue reading Planning For The New Year With Magnatag

How are dry erase markers made?

How many times do you think you’ve used a dry erase marker? Hundreds, perhaps even thousands of times? Some of us interact with these objects on a daily basis, but do not have the slightest inclination of what they are made of and how they function. I was recently writing on one of Magnatag’s own whiteboards earlier this week and I found myself asking this same question. So I did some research around the office. I questioned our R&D department and in turn, I developed a better understanding for how dry erase technology works.

In order to gain an understanding for how dry erase markers work, we must first examine and understand the science behind permanent markers. Permanent markers are made up of three components: colored pigments, a solvent (be it water, alcohol, or another solution entirely varies on a manufacturer to manufacturer basis), and a polymer. Permanent markers commonly use an acrylic polymer in their ink, which helps the marker stick to the writing surface. The polymer, in addition to the solvent and pigments, is then mixed to form the ink of the marker. The ink is then stored in a polyester reservoir that helps contain the ink inside the plastic casing of the marker. Top that off with the plastic casing and a felt tip and—voilà—you have just created a permanent marker! Of course, this is much easier said than done, but you get the picture.


Continue reading How are dry erase markers made?