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We are an independent brand consultancy, based in Melbourne, striving to be among the best in the world.

We help our clients understand who they are, use this as the basis to decide where to go, then design and build everything they need to get there.




1. We are all people

Nobody owns anybody. Clients buy our services, not our souls. We employ people, we don't buy permanent rights to their talent. We do not tolerate bullies inside our business so why would we tolerate them outside? Be rude, be abusive, be toxic and you will be fired, wherever you sit.

We are humans and we design for humans who have relationships with our clients who are — yes — also humans. The minute anyone forgets this, why we do what we do, and who we do it for, either assuming superiority or putting anything but the integrity of the relationship first, then the whole system falls apart. Being decent, being respectful and being honest is a good start point for any endeavour, and this works in all directions.

2. Death to mediocrity

This is not as good as it gets. Everything, everywhere, can always be improved upon. There is no limit to how well you can do, or to how much you should expect. Let go of the limits and go further.

We over-benchmark our work, measuring ourselves against the greatest who've gone before us, and asking ourselves how we'd improve upon what they achieved. This is not arrogant, it's open-minded. We may not be able to do any better, but we're going to try. We have one absolute priority: the quality of our work, and we navigate budgets, timeframes, expectations and politics to allow for this. If your first priority is anything but quality, please don't call us.

3. There is no future

We design for now. What matters to people, what's possible, what we believe in — now. Anyone who tells you what the future will look like with any degree of certainty, then sells you something pre-emptively designed for it is a false prophet. They're gambling with your money and scared to address the world that exists in front of their faces lest they be proved wrong. We ignore trends because by the time it's named you've already missed the opportunity it (theoretically) presented. Your opportunities and your problems are here today, so deal with them today. If you don't, you have no future.

We create work designed for today so it'll still be alive tomorrow, not having to be redone because it was faddish, vain, under-developed or otherwise flawed. We then iterate our work so it remains good. This predicates a move away from project-based branding work, and that scares some people. But it's necessary if we're to start tuning our brands to stay meaningful in a world where the pace of change is itself accelerating.

4. Go hard and go home

Design is not a job, it's a way of seeing the world. We're cursed by the fact we're always working, whether in bed, in the shower, in conversations we should be listening to, or in hospital.

So we must make space for good design AND for the life that fuels it. There'll always be occasions where someone needs to stay late, but we don't do it by default. We turn up, we work hard, then we go home at a reasonable hour. If we're here late night after night there's systematic problems that'll be fixed, whether it's ours or our client's. Better balance, better work.

5. Never do the devil's work

We do not, nor ever will, work for purveyors of death, supporters of abuse, deniers of science, or those who've been proven to flout the law. Branding is effective, and we will not put money in the pockets of those making the world a worse place simply so we can line our own.


Design & Animation / Conlan Normington
Music / I'lls – Asakusa
Sound Design / Sean Holmberg
Identity / Wesemua
Direction & Words / VAN O



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VAN O's leader, creative strategist and sometime writer, Luke spent years consulting to the big end of town before deciding to break away from the accountants and try build something better.

Luke is committed to using fresh, meaningful and nonsense-free approaches to branding to elevate the standard of consulting in Australia to meet our international peers, and improve the Australian economy in turn.

Formerly of Saffron, Designworks and Futurebrand, Luke's now focussed on redesigning the design industry itself to produce better results for Australian businesses and international businesses interested in Australia.



The latest addition to the VAN O team, Marco's the talented, not-at-all-jaded-yet graduate designer who brings a variety of interests and wealth of enthusiasm to the daily mix.

Having demonstrated solid skills in photography, layout, typography and - more importantly - a willingness to learn new things (including strategy), Marco's rapidly becoming just as important a part of the team as any of the rest of us.

At VAN O we believe in investing in great talent like Marco, because we know full well that one day we'll be asking them for work too. And they can 'do the social.'


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Brand health

Qualitative research

Insight generation



Business model generation

Brand strategy

Experience strategy

Portfolio strategy

Private label strategy

Brand architecture

Creative strategy

Tone of voice


Brand identity

Experience design

Service design

Interface design

Spatial design

Retail formats

Digital design

Brand optimisation



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