Sunday, April 14, 2024

Industry Insights | Ft. Nic Wright

by Miles
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In this edition of Industry Insights we talk to Nic Wright who has been a designer at DeCal Works for close to thirty years. He tells us how he got started in graphic design, what it’s like to work at DW, and more.

For the full interview, check out the Vital MX podcast right here. If you’re interested in the condensed written version, scroll down just a bit further.

Jamie Guida – Vital MX: How’s it going, Nic? It’s great to finally get you on here. I appreciate that you’ve been helping me with my graphics since I started at Vital MX.

Nic Wright: My pleasure.

Vital MX: Where did you grow up, and how did you get into moto?

Nic: I grew up about an hour away from DeCal Works in a small town in Illinois. I grew up in a family racing motorcycles, which was just one of those things. I grew up on a farm and all my buddies had dirt bikes. So, it was more of a ‘rip around in the fields’ kind of thing more than going to the tracks. 

Vital MX: Did you get into racing at any point?

Nic: Yeah, I got into racing later on in life. It was short-lived. I was pretty much a professional practice rider. I still ride a couple of times a week when the weather is good in Northern Illinois. Unfortunately, we get nice, long winters here.

Vital MX: As a high school kid, did you have a dream of finding a job in the dirt bike industry?

Nic: Somewhat later on. My family comes from a design background and it fell into place. I was working at a sign shop and riding and racing then. A buddy of mine was a sales guy at DeCal Works and said, “Hey, we might have an opening for you.” So, I went in and got to meet Ron (Joynt – owner of DeCal Works) and it went from there.

Nic Wright

Vital MX: What was the family background in design?

Nic: Both of my parents were graphic artists. There was always art in the family. 

Vital MX: What was your first role when you went to work at DeCal Works?

Nic: I was a designer. This was in 2005.

Octopi Media

Vital MX: Did you already understand how to use all the programs, or did you have some hands-on training?

Nic: I was pretty comfortable right of the bat. I had gone to school for it, and had worked in the sign shop. It wasn’t too difficult to pick up.

Vital MX: Do you remember the first kit you designed? 

Nic: It’s been so long it’s difficult to recall. I do know, early on, since I was so into racing, I went to Millville and Red Bud every year. At that time, we were doing the Wonder Warthog program. I thought it was so cool working with those guys. Ron taught me a lesson when he said, “Guess what? It’s yours.” I quickly learned the headache of dealing with race teams.

Vital MX: That begs two questions. One, do you get to meet the riders and are you a bit blown away? Two, what was the headache of dealing with a team like that?

Nic: Back then, we used to travel to a lot of the motocross and Supercross races, and it was really cool. So, I did get to meet everyone, and as you know, you get to know them via emails and phone calls. Meeting face-to-face is rare, especially with us in the middle of a cornfield in Illinois. So, going to the tracks and meeting those dudes is cool. The headaches come from the fact that with the Warthog program, even though it was a team, each guy had individual stuff. Each guy had his own shop, sponsors, gear, and whatnot. So, it was a matter of lining it all up and trying to give it a uniform look. It was difficult back then, but we’ve streamlined it a lot since then.

DeCal Works

Vital MX: How has your role changed at DeCal Works? Do you have different responsibilities?

Nic: I would say I just have more responsibilities in general. I deal with a lot of the free stuff, such as magazines and websites, including Vital MX, PulpMX, and (Kris) Keefer. I do all the magazine bike builds, too.

Vital MX: Do you enjoy the interaction with the media guys? How does it differ from helping a race team?

Nic: Oh, it’s rad. I like it because we can get more personal. It’s rewarding seeing it show up online. I’ve listened to every PulpMX show and was a big advocate when there was talk of joining Pulp Nation. Being a designer, you sit at your desk a lot, put your earbuds in, and go to town listening. 

Vital MX: Have you had the opportunity to implement something into a kit based on something that was said on the show?

Nic: Yeah, here and there. With Steve’s (Matthes) first kid we threw some gargoyles in there. Stuff like that. Usually, you get to know who you’re dealing with and have some fun with it. 

DeCal Works

Vital MX: You’ve been with DeCal Works for 19 years. How has the company weathered the storm of economic changes, Covid, and just time?

Nic: That’s a tough question. I think it’s because we were established and the boss man runs a smart business. We rolled on through. 

Vital MX: Yeah, you’ve built a reputation for being reliable and having quality work with a quick turnaround over the last 30-plus years. 

Nic: Yeah, we take pride in that. Ron always stresses “Quality, service, and knowledge.” We focus on that, customer service, and solving problems when necessary.

Vital MX: Talk about working for Ron Joynt. I’ve heard he is very passionate and dedicated to the brand and will even come in and work on Sundays to keep things going. How does that motivate you as an employee?

Nic: It’s great. You see someone who is literally their life and takes so much pride in the business, the look, and what people think about the company. It makes it easy to work for someone when they are so passionate about what they do.

DeCal Works

Vital MX: What makes a kit great? Where’s the line of it being too much?

Nic: Oh man, that’s the crazy thing with art. Everyone’s taste differs. I’m a big fan of the monotone look. I like a couple of colors on a bike and keeping it nice and clean, but that’s why we have pinks, toxic yellow, and all these crazy colors. Some people like the splatter and everything else.

Vital MX: Have you ever had a request and said to Ron, “I just can’t do that?”

Nic: (Laughs) You may say that, but then you must do it. You’ll have some stuff on your screen that looks like a box of melted crayons, but you must do your best to make them happy. 

Vital MX: You also offer other products like seat covers, plastic, and tie-downs. Stuff people are probably unaware of.

Nic: Yes, we’re huge when it comes to replacement plastic. We have a warehouse of pretty much every piece you can name. You can go to and buy it from the website. We stock a lot.

Vital MX: You are the graphics supplier for Red Bull Factory KTM and the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna off-road teams. Are there any other teams you support?

Nic: We do the KTM off-road team, the Gizmo Mods Rock River Yamaha team, MX101 in Canada, Team Tedder, and a full list of privateers.

Vital MX: We mentioned the Red Bull Factory KTM team. Isn’t there some history with DeCal Works and Chase Sexton?

Nic: We’ve been doing graphics for Chase since he was on Cobra 50s. We go way back. They’re great people and it’s unreal to be working with them again. It’s awesome. We used to ride with Chase every week at a buddy’s place. So, we’ve kind of watched him grow up. It’s great to have him back under the awning. We have huge Chase and AP (Aaron Plessinger) fans here. 

Vital MX: Nic, this has been fun, and I appreciate all your help.

Nic: Awesome! Thanks for having me.

This post was originally published on this site

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