The other certainty in life—tax day

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It’s Tax Day again. And being a brand strategy agency, Siegel+Gale likes to question, interrogate and reimagine society’s systems. So at the request of Bloomberg, Siegel+Gale’s simplification and design teams redesigned the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to make paying your taxes more fun, accessible and, above all, simple. Here’s what we came up with.

Introducing the 1040EZR form

by Maria Boos, group director, Simplification


The idea:
 The IRS offers a true e-file option that is optimized for mobile, tablet and desktop.

How it works:
 The e-file system pulls taxpayers’ data directly from their Forms W-2 and 1099, showing the calculations in a logical sequence, explaining the amount to be refunded or due and offering options for how to pay.

Why it’s powerful:
 Millennials (and other segments, for that matter) don’t think about their financial and administrative tasks (like paying taxes) and “digital” as separate activities. They simply expect to transact, pay, inquire, shop, learn, etc. whenever and wherever they choose, on the device they prefer. By rising to the expected level of functionality—and surprising taxpayers with true simplicity—the IRS can increase timely filing, engender understanding of basic tax concepts and encourage the perception that “we’re all in this together.”

Balance and fairness

by Mike Scott, design director, London


I’ve integrated the three letters in a simple, unique rendition of a set of scales, which presents notions of balance, equality, and fairness. The style of typography is chosen to sit comfortably amongst the strong angular forms without being overpowered, and the letters’ straight lines create rhythm against those of the scales. In a rich blue the mark is lent a serious authority – and perhaps an American-ness – that off-sets the playful symbolism, as well as calling back to the blue of the current identity.

Transparent, open, balanced


The three letters are suggested in the negative space, each in a slightly different way (the I plainly centered, the R relying on the angle from the S’s box to complete it), offering pace and tension. The copper color suggests currency but also gives a soft neutrality and a non-harsh, unexpected level of contrast.

Balance, equality, boldly American


The mark’s type style, form and color recall multiple aspects of American visual culture. The stripes are an equals sign, and bring to mind an abridged form of the US flag. The overall effect is confidently poster-like, yet still strong and officious. An identity so boldly American can be used to hold brand stories along the lines of ‘doing your bit,’ ‘all in it together’ and similar themes that talk of the fundamental purpose of the IRS.

Simplicity marks the spot

by Olivia Lee, junior designer, New York


This is a modern and simple interpretation of the existing logo that is more friendly and approachable. The right and left American motifs represent peace and justice in perfect balance, mirroring the values of the country and the organization.


An eagle and an olive branch form a circular movement together while coexisting harmoniously, which conveys the idea of peace and balance.


Simplified marks—consisting of a scale and an eagle—represent the balance of justice and the United States. This conveys the idea of equality within the organization and the country.


Check out more of our work for the IRS here.

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