1- Hello Nick, can you please tell us a bit about you?
My name is Nick DePalo. I just turned 27 years old, and I live in Staten Island, New York. I’m a professional graphic designer and the owner of Empirical Designs.
2- What influences your work? What makes you want to wake up every morning?
Have you ever seen one of those “most satisfying“ compilation videos where every clip is just something falling into the perfect place? That’s what I want my designs to feel like to the viewer. I want to create design solutions that are aesthetically pleasing but more importantly have everything arranged in its proper place.
3- In terms of graphic design, what are your focus areas and why?
For the last year or so, I’ve mostly designed apparel and brand identities. I’ve veered in this direction more because the work is the most satisfying and diverse. Getting stuck working on the same tropes and cliches can be soul crushing. I’m really up for working on any project that is open to reinvention and tries to improve and build on the things that came before it.
4- Can you tell us more about “Empirical Designs”?
Empirical Designs is a graphic design agency based in New York City. We’ve worked with clients such as Flo Rida, Pratt & Whitney, The University of Maryland, Old Bay Seasoning, Pabst Brewing Company, Barstool Sports, Funkmaster Flex, and Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles. We offer many different products and solutions, such as brand identity design and development, logos, wordmarks, app icons, apparel design, t-shirt designs, screen printing, merchandise, album artwork, packaging, EP, single, and mixtape artwork, business cards, letterhead, envelope and stationary design, corporate forms, stickers, web and print advertisements, flyers and posters, billboards, tour laminates, EPKs, press kits, calendars, social media graphics, banners, web design, search engine optimization, web traffic analytics, copywriting, e-commerce solutions, website conversions, social media and email marketing. It is our mission to make sure that we provide our clients with compelling graphics that make their brand stand out from the rest of the crowd.
5- Where do you think you are making an impact?
I have to be honest, this is a difficult question for me to answer. I don’t want to come across like I’m full of hubris, as if somehow my designs are changing the real world in any tangible way. But I guess, in a small fashion we’re offering high quality, fairly priced designs for our clients which is improving their businesses and their work lives by making everything about hiring a design firm less complicated, intimidating, and confusing. Because they trust that Empirical Designs will provide them with a solution that’s right for them.
6- What were some of the biggest challenges you encountered while working on “Empirical Designs”?
Learning on the job has been my biggest challenge. I try my best to engage in deliberate practice in order to improve my skills and become a better, more well-rounded designer. The pressure of turning around a great result is something we all struggle with, but it’s compounded when you’re forced to learn as you go.
7- Where do see the company in the next 5 years?
If we continue to grow, even at half the rate we did in our first two years, then we’ll be on the right track. As a graphic design agency that strives to become a leader in the industry, our focus is to partner with some of the top brands around the world. I hope in the future we can work with some big international brands, charities, and eventually one day a professional sports team.
8- What can you tell young designers who are pursuing their dreams?
I’m still a young (is 27 considered young still? please say yes.) designer pursuing my dreams. I’ve only been doing this full-time for about two years, and it’s intimidating to stop what you’re doing to take that leap. Design is not like a light switch, it’s a slow burn. Owning a business is a 24/7 job.
9- What are you most excited about at the moment?
I’m excited about the process of designing, and I try not to be results oriented. When I get lost in making something, time flies by and it’s the coolest feeling in the world. That’s why I do this, to make things.
10- The last word or final thoughts?
Thank you for having me, and giving me a platform to talk about design. I just want to add that recently I read an awesome book called “The War Of Art” by Steven Pressfield. It’s a must-read for any creative person, and I highly suggest your readers check it out.