In my experience, doing what you love certainly has a direct correlation with success, and the story of the two brothers that made good, designing their own way was no different. I was lucky enough to sit down with the guys from Van Orton Design to talk about their entrepreneurial journey and their work with amazing clients. If they were to pinpoint their secret ingredient they would say it was simply paying tribute to the music and cinema that they loved and promoting on Instagram. Enjoy the interview.

Give me a little background, did you guys have a mother of father that was an entrepreneur? Did you guys study graphic design?

"We do not come from a family of entrepreneurs, indeed, we come from a very humble family, our mother took care of the home and has taken care of us while our father was the worker. We've always had the passion for design and graphics, but we did not do any study after high school, we just started working at age 19 in some communication and advertising agency."


What did you do for work before you jumped into business together?

"We have always worked in the world of graphics, communication agencies and events. After 12 years working in an agency we decided to dedicate ourselves to what we had created with the Van Orton project. Van Orton is a project born entirely casually, simply bringing to life what we had inside, paying tribute to all our passions between music and cinema."

How did the relationship from being brothers to business partners evolve? What stopped you from killing each other?:)

"Fortunately we are very much in agreement and we have always come to much agreement. I think this was our strength even on choosing to leave the old job at the agency and get in with Van Orton."


Your design style is very unique...who are your inspirations? and how did the style develop itself?

"Initially our style could be somehow inspired to the stained glass windows of the churches, which in the early works we could remember. Afterwards, the style has changed, with a very POP mark but mixed with neon and psychedelic effects in the 70s and 80s. We were definitely influenced by the world of pop art, but we like to contaminate our work with cinematic and musical cult elements of our 80s."


What has been your strategy in terms of marketing and growing a business doing what you love?

"We have always done everything in a very natural and passionate way. Our real strategy is not a strategy at all. We have always acted very instinctively and in a very artistic and creative manner on what we had in mind. This fortunately worked a lot and helped us grow and make the right decisions."


Can you talk about some of the failures that you have overcome?

"There have been, for example, some works that have been skipped or failed for some clients choices or change of direction. This has certainly helped us and reaffirmed our artistic direction and ultimately created our style, like all the mistakes or failures in life - only good can ultimately come of it." 


What have been the keys to your success? When did you know you were onto something?

"I could not say the key to success, also because it was not sought but just driven by passion. Perhaps we realized we had created a style when people asked us to be "Vanortonized" :)".


In our case, instagram was fundamental, and very big jobs with major brands came directly from instagram
— Van Orton Design

What is your advice to artists stuck in a job they do not like? How do they make the move to doing what they love?

"It would be easy to say to try to follow the passion but it does not always work and can not always turn into work. I believe that in our case have a co-founder in my brother has helped us a lot. We also helped in choosing to resign from the old office - and leaving the creative agency".


Sometimes artists seem to be fearful of self-promotion - what is your advice?

"I think that for an artist or designer today there are no more curriculum presentations, but modern curricula is social. In our case, instagram was fundamental, and very big jobs with major brands came directly from instagram. Instagram or other social are very useful means to use intelligently".


Whats next for Van Orton Design?

"We are designing the flux capacitor to time traveling :)".





So begins 2017.

When it comes to writing goals I primarily take into account 3 major influences, all with very different approaches to goal setting... Elon Musk, Grant Cardone, and Brian Tracy.

I love Grant Cardone’s concept of writing down goals daily, while they may change slightly day-to-day, it will be apparent what is most important to you because those things will always be on the list, and you will simply forget others over time. It is also a great way of starting the day the right way with a focus on what’s important to you.

I love Elon Musk’s approach, with his ten year plan, because it is this grandiose plan, broken down into simple steps. As a designer, turning something complex,  into something that is simple and elegant is an extremely powerful and gratifying process…so to do the same with ten years of your life is just so bold, you have to respect it. Also, as an entrepreneur that sees opportunities in most things, I love that this approach comes with an immense need to remain focused and disciplined…after all, it was posted for the world to see.

Lastly, I love Brian Tracy’s technique of actually writing the goal called the 3P formula which requires you to be present, positive and (contain a) personal statement…. coupled with a deadline.

You write it in first personI earn, I own.

Write everything using positive language, ie. dont say I won’t smoke, say… I am smoke free

Then add a date.

'I am smoke free by Jan 2nd 2017, feeling fit and healthy' (If you can also inject some feeling in the goal that makes you feel good, also do that :) 

I started writing this piece because I wanted to write down my own goals for the year, and to make them public…so while partly self-indulgent, I do believe there is something powerful in sharing your plans, and making them known. Firstly, because with it - comes accountability and second, because in putting it out there, it becomes a shared vision…each time it is read, people know what is important to you and know if you stayed focused or fucked it up :)

I am also personally interested to see (looking back on this a year from now) what came to fruition and what fell by the wayside.


In terms of process

I like the idea of having a purpose so that my goals are aligned with my purpose (another Grant Cardone concept) and I break the goals into 3 categories, Love/Family, Business, and Personal, but you could break this up into whatever is important or makes sense to you. Also write as many things as you like down, there is no need to limit your ideas or ambition, I just try and narrow it down in terms of time, and what can literally be accomplished during that timeframe.

First… My Purpose

My sole purpose is to provide my family with love and wonderful experiences, to be successful, to be prosperous, happy and healthy. To create, and to help others create and find their own success.



Love / Family

  • I grow deeper in love with Suzy each day
  • We get a date night in once a fortnight
  • My girls and happy, healthy, and confident
  • I get up each morning with my daughters and spend quality time together
  • I am solely focused on my family after work until the girls are in bed
  • We buy a $2m house bayside
  • We travel first-class to Europe and Japan in 2017


  • The Startup Grind Global conference Melbourne makes $1m
  • I secure a major Aussie superstar for
  • We clear all business debt
  • We hit $10m in sales
  • We expand our team to 10
  • We work on creative projects for great clients
  • We have so much business, we pick and chose who we want to work with
  • We smash content and become #1 in private label.


  • I create daily and post content daily – podcasts, videos, artwork , and writing
  • To publish my first book
  • Build my personal brand both as an artist and entrepreneur
  • I am a fit 95kg (need to lose 15kg), training daily for a minimum of 20 mins
  • I am caffeine free
  • I continually learn to improve myself and to better understand people
  • I adhere to Tim Ferriss’ slow carb diet (6 days on diet and one day of eating whatever you like)
  • I meditate daily at night before bed


The Ten-year Plan – (Business)

  • We are global leaders in private label food and beverage >> We are global leaders in custom products

  • We own a global network of graphic designers, product and packaging designers

  • We run a distribution network that can take any product to market globally overnight

  • We have a portfolio of the world’s coolest brands


I hope that helps to get you motivated enough to put pen to paper with your own goals, that it helps put a little structure around something that can be quite daunting, and best of luck in 2017!


Gatebox - Your New Virtual Home Robot


Gatebox - Your New Virtual Home Robot

The team from Vinclu in Japan have developed a super cool 'virtual home robot' called Gatebox. Part assistant, part companion - Gatebox's central character Azuma Hikari is the star of the show.

What I think is incredible about this project is that Gatebox is not trying to compete with other home service robots, that help with shopping (i.e reordering washing powder) they are targeting a far greater problem, people living alone, and loneliness.

So why not have another friend? :) 

The reason why we (developed) Gatebox is not because we are just pursuing entertainment or convenience. We want the characters (to) be naturally in our daily lives and spend relaxing (times) with us. ‘I want to live with my favourite character.’ We dreamed of such (a) world and we started this project.
— Gatebox Official Site