Interview with Steve Nibbelink of Alien Graphics

Today NERD TREK interviews Steve Nibbelink of Alien Graphics


How are you Steve?  

I’m fine.  Busy but fine, and you?

Same as you!  I’m working the self employed life where one man attempts to do the work of 10! 


Please tell us a little about yourself and your business.

I’m a Trekker from wa-a-a-ay back.  I’ve got 5 kids (my three and Angela’s 2) 21, Nearly 18, Almost 18, Almost 14 and just turned 13.  Been married to the most beautiful woman in the world since Oct 2010.  She inherited the title after my first wife passed from cancer in May 2010.

I opened the doors to my own business after being layed off from a small town newspaper 3 months after my first wife passed and spending the next six months being told that I was “overqualified” for every position that I applied for.

I’ve taken the talents I have and brought my services to the public without a middleman.  I do graphic design (samples at my website and FB page), Custom vinyl graphics, Custom FB header pics, and more.


How did you get involved in graphic design?  

Reader’s Digest version?  I have always loved to put things together and make them look good.  That said after a head injury in the mid 90’s forced me out of my then career and into VocRehab, I was sent back to school for a degree in Graphic Design.  I spent five years in the catalog department of a national motorcycle parts supplier.  I was responsible for every image that went to press or was used on their website.  The working enviroment changed with a change in management and I opened a graphic design studio in Iowa.  It did fairly well but could not support the family.  When my first wife developed cancer I went to work for the Conrad Record (in Conrad Iowa) as their advertising/print shop manager.  My advertising earned numerous awards from the Iowa Newspaper Associtiation.



How many years have you been in the business?  How many years have you owned your own business and what’s that like?  

Professionally, nearly 15 years.  I’ve owned my own business for six of those.  It’s difficult not having a steady paycheck.  I never know what the monthly income will be until the end of the month.  It’s also very rewarding, I get to work directly for my clients.  My work isn’t being second-guessed by a successive string of managers (still hate that about the motorcycle company) before being seen by the public.



How has the field changed over the years? The biggest change that I’ve seen is that anyone with a laptop and creative software can make the attempt to be a graphic artist.  It’s also very interesting that I can now work from whereever there’s a WiFi outlet and creat something for someone halfway across the globe.



What is the smallest order you have ever taken?  The biggest?  

I make small decals that sell for $3 apeice.  Custom decals can run between $15-$25 depending on how marketable the request is (i.e. can I use the custom order for more decals?)  I’ve done vehicle lettering that can cost upwards of $400

I try very hard to work within the budget of my clients.  My motto is “Out of this World service, Down to Earth pricing.”


If someone were to order say, 1000 stickers that are white vinyl background with full color print atop that, what would your turnaround time be?  What would you charge for something like this?  

I don’t handle printing on top of the vinyl in house.  I’d have to subcontract that out to one of my printer suppliers.  Turn around and cost would vary depending on the print job, complexity, and my supplier.  On the other hand, say if Nerd Trek (to pull a name out of the ether) wanted 1,000 5″ x 2″ stickers, that would run between $800 & $1,000 (again depending on complexity).  Or in simpler terms, that kind of volume makes it less than a $1 / sticker.  I could have them done in approximately 5 business days.

Would you say the poor economy has affected your business at all? 
Yes and no.  The poor economy is directly responsible for my being laid off from the Ad man position at the Conrad Record, and that had a direct impact on my business.  On the other hand, I’ve been told by many of my customers that my prices are among the cheapest they’ve found and that brings repeat business.


Why did you name your company “Alien Graphics”? 

It’s a two-fold reason The primary reason is found in the Gospel of John chapter 15 v. 19

“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.”

-Gospel of John chapter 15 v. 19

My faith states that I am not of this world but rather an alien dwelling in the land.  The second reason is that I am BIG SF fan.  Alien Graphics sounds so much cooler than Sci Fi Geek Graphics.

Where do you see yourself five years from now?  Ten? 
Still making stuff for folks.  I’d like to be on the professional con circuit selling custom vinyl stickers.  I can work from just about anywhere, as long as I’ve got my laptop.

Thanks for joining us for this online interview Steve.  We hope your business continues to thrive for many years to come! 

Jonathan, It’s been a pleasure.

If you would like custom decals designed for either business or personal use contact Steve Nibbelink:

Alien Graphics 417-655-1050

Facebook Comments


About Jonathan G. Nelson

Jonathan G. Nelson is the editor-in-chief and owner of NERD TREK. He is also owner/publisher at AAW Games /, a tabletop gaming company based in Snoqualmie, WA. Connect with Jonathan via Facebook.