Interview with Nick DePalo, founder of New York based Graphic Design Studio Empirical Designs

Empirical Designs is a graphic design agency located in New York City. They specialize in creating professional branding, logo design, web design, album artwork, packaging, apparel design, merchandise, advertising & marketing materials for both print and digital media. The agency has worked with numerous clients including Fortune 500 companies. We recently interviewed Nick DePalo, founder of Empirical Designs to know more about Empirical Designs and his journey as an entrepreneur.

Nick, Thank You for talking with us. When did you decide to launch your own Graphic Design studio?

I didn’t always have dreams of being a graphic designer. I originally stumbled into design when I was in a band by making album covers and apparel designs. I had no formal training and I really had no clue what I was doing at first. Eventually, as I got better, I got hired to do design work for the record label my band was signed to, as well as other touring bands we met along the way. I left a dead end job and started doing graphic design full-time in 2015 under the moniker Empirical Designs. Since then we’ve grown by leaps and bounds into a full-service design studio.

What were the initial challenges that you faced in running a Graphic Design Studio?

Some of the initial challenges I faced starting Empirical Designs weren’t exclusive to design. Anyone who’s started their own business can tell you that time management becomes of the utmost importance. I’m guilty of being a perfectionist, and even early on while I was still learning on the job I was trying to do each and every task to the best of my abilities, and I wanted to answer every single question. I would commit far too much time to each project, thinking things out, taking classes or watching lessons and tutorials about technique instead of just making mistakes and messing things up. In ways that’s lead to our success, but at the cost of spending a lot of time on projects and items that would be miniscule in the eyes of a more experienced designer.

How do you differentiate yourself from other design studios?

My goal is to differentiate Empirical Designs by creating timeless pieces of commercial art. If you look through my portfolio, you won’t see temporary, trendy fashion styles. Personally speaking, in 2018 I didn’t do a single piece with “Stranger Things” inspired typography and I did not create any designs with the infamous Post Malone neon yellow. Instead, I worked on clarifying and strengthening my own visual voice and refining the methods I use to create great work, that will stand on its own in 2019, 2020, and beyond. When people see something created by Empirical Designs, I want them to know it was us. If we bend to the whims of the trend of the day, our work looks like anyone could have made it. That’s not going to give us a lot of clout on Instagram, but it’s going to ensure our long-term success.

Tell us more about the range of services provided by your Design Studio.

Empirical Designs NYC is a full-service graphic design studio. We specialize in brand identity design, logo design, website design, album artwork, packaging design, apparel design, as well as advertising and marketing designs for print and digital media. Our mission is to make the brands we partner with stand out from the rest of the competition.

Where are your clients generally from? How do you manage difficult clients?

We serve a diverse group of clients, from mom and pop businesses to record labels to Fortune 500 companies. Some of our clients include Flo Rida, Pratt & Whitney, The University of Maryland, Old Bay Seasoning, Pabst Brewing Company, National Bohemian Beer, Barstool Sports, Martha Stewart, the Governor of Maryland Larry Hogan and Carson Wentz, Quarterback for the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles. I’ve been blessed to work with some wonderful clients and very few and far between could ever be categorized as difficult. Previously working in the service and hospitality fields has prepared me to deal with almost any complaint or difficulty a client could throw my way. The easiest way I found to overcome challenging clients is to imagine yourself in the shoes of the client, empathize with how they feel about a given topic. Most clients are reasonable, hardworking, and want the best for their business.

2019 is just around the corner. What are your plans for 2019?

Empirical Designs has grown every year we’ve been in business. 2018 was our best year, and my only goal is to make 2019 even better. We look forward to partnering with more brands and working our way towards becoming one of the top design firms.

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