Nick Matarese

Nick Matarese
Nick Matarese

Nick’s creative design and branding firm, The Barn, has landed multiple projects for worldwide powerhouse companies like Disney (and its subsidiaries, including Pixar, Marvel, ESPN and ABC). He has also won acclaim each year The Barn has been in business from Graphic Design USA, winning the American Graphic Design Awards in multiple design sectors.

Age: 30

President/Creative Director

The Barn

New Castle

Social media you can’t live without: Instagram. I follow a lot of great designers and am constantly getting inspiration from them. Its like an ever-evolving energy boost of design for me.

Your biggest break:  Doing the AFL All-Star game logo allowed me to really put my foot in the door at places, but landing Disney as a client has made me push doors wide open. 

Best career advice you ever got: One from a mentor, who said, “You don’t need to be a large agency to be successful and make really great work,” and one from a professor, who said, “If all you are looking for is to make money, people can sense that and don’t want to work with you. Focus on making good work and the money will follow.”

How you give back: I have been a volunteer coach with the University of Delaware’s ice hockey team for the past eight seasons, while training high school and college goalies during the summer. I also produce design work for non-profits and charities at a highly discounted price if I feel they are doing great things for great causes.

Your biggest challenge:  Proving to smaller businesses that good design is something worth paying for; things like 99 designs and spec work completely undermine what good design is and how to make a personal connections to your target audience. Companies that focus on their brand and their design are the ones we read about in the news (Apple, Nike, etc.). Small businesses usually have a hard time understanding that clip-art is not going to make your business successful.

Networking group you use the most: My office is in the coIN Loft, so there are a lot of face-to-face meetings, lunches, and events that happen organically and make networking easy. Those are the best kind; the ones when, at first, no one is selling each other and you get to know the person and what their business really stands for.

Work-life balance technique you recommend:
My wife and I have a “phone basket” in our house. When we are home we put the phones in the basket. It makes you disconnect from work and focus on being home. 


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