Client Advice

VISION – An insightful Q&A series with Orrbitt’s Founder & Creative Director

“The future is something we can’t see..not yet at least. In a creative space, we can track trends and plot where we think we’re headed but if I’ve learned anything about art, it’s that it refuses to be controlled or fully understood. I’m along for the ride.. and so is Orrbitt.”

Vision: Advancing Biotech Creativity. Stylized photo of John M. Stewart wearing 3D glasses. John is Founder & Creative Director at Orrbitt Creative Group.

As Founder and Creative Director, John contributes a one-of-a-kind level of expertise and creativity to Orrbitt Creative Group. His experience working for several architectural firms, design studios, biotech and pharma companies gives him a wide range of knowledge and a unique perspective while leading the way. Throughout his career, John has focused on taking an idea and crafting it into visual communication of all forms. He has developed and supervised award-winning work for industry-leading companies and small businesses all over the globe.

John’s innovative designs continue to capture national attention and expand the visual media marketplace. With an extensive portfolio including brand development, research-based creativity and unique marketing initiatives, John continues to be a versatile and inspiring creative leader.



Q: Would you say that you have always had a clear vision for your life?

A: Yes. I’ve always lived fearless and focused. Once you chase down one dream, the next one becomes much easier. But I never let my steadfast approach to reaching my goals limit my ability to pivot, see, and explore opportunities that are revealed to me one way or another.

What makes you tick? What inspires you in life? "I'm just a kid from Ohio with big dreams and the audacity to chase them down" - quote from John M. Stewart, Founder & Creative Director at Orrbitt. Text over image of a baby

Q: What has inspired your vision for both your life and your career?

A: My artistic gift was apparent early on. My mom would always say that I was born with a pencil in my hand. I will always be an artist first. Identifying my unique abilities and harnessing those talents for success is the thing I’m most proud of. I was born with a gift and I didn’t squander it. Rather, I recognized it, tapped into it, and had confidence I could depend on its potency for success. I hope to eventually call upon that creative gift to shape and inspire others who share a similar path.


Q: What is your relationship with vision like? Both your eyes as a visual artist and in your mind’s eye as a visionary?

A: I see life in shapes and patterns. Whether those patterns and shapes are in art, marketing, design, or human nature, I observe them, I learn from them, and I file them away as data to build profiles.


Photo of John M. Stewart, Founder and Creative Director at Orrbitt. Text "Vision" overlays headshot.

Q: Did you always know you would be an entrepreneur?

A: I believe we’re all an artist of something. I just happen to be an artist of art. It’s that artistic eye that allows me to see the world in a unique way. I certainly never set out to become an “entrepreneur” nor did I really know what the term meant when I was younger. However, I can say that I’ve probably always been able to identify opportunities for solutions to challenges. If you can see the dots, it’s easy to connect them.

quote from John Stewart, founder & Creative Director at Orrbitt: "...if I've learned anything about art, it's that it refuses to be controlled or fully understood."

Q: We have seen your vision for now – Where do you see for yourself personally, Orrbitt Creative Group, and the industry in the next 10 years?

A: The future is something we can’t see..not yet at least. In a creative space, we can track trends and plot where we think we’re headed but if I’ve learned anything about art, it’s that it refuses to be controlled or fully understood. I’m along for the ride.. and so is Orrbitt.

Photo of John Stewart, Founder & Creative Director at Orrbitt. Overlaid with Q & A included above.

Q: As a successful business owner, what is one piece of advice you would give young people who have an idea they want to realize?

A: If you’re the first, do it fast. If you’re the second, do it better. Your ideas probably aren’t novel in any way shape or form. Chances are that very same idea has crossed millions of minds. So.. hurry the fuck up.

"If you're the first, do it fast. If you're the second, do it better." Quote from John M. Stewart, Founder & Creative Director at Orrbitt. Image is of John sitting in front of a computer and leaning to one side.

Q: What type of mark do you want to make in the world, both at/through Orrbitt and personally?

A: I want to leave this world more beautiful than when I entered it – through art, design and through all other things.


Q: How do you nurture your creativity in your downtime?

A: I’ve never had to nurture my creativity. It’s there when I go to bed and it’s there when I wake up. The only decision I have to make is when, where and how much to use. Growing, cultivating, challenging, and inspiring others to create beautiful things encourages me to continue to do the same.

"I believe we're all an artist of something. I just happen to be an artist of art." Quote from John M. Stewart, founder & Creative director at Orrbitt. Over drawing of profile of an indigenous man with earring and feather on his hair.

Q: What makes you tick, what inspires you in life?

A: I’m just a kid from Ohio with big dreams and the audacity to chase them down. I’m inspired when I see the same in others.


Q: If vision is the what, and passion is the how – why did you start Orrbitt?

A: Tough question to answer quickly. But, here are a few of the glaring issues I identified…or to use an industry buzzword, the unmet needs.

  1. Bottom line, the overall design in biotech was garbage. Outdated, formulaic, uninspired.
  2. There weren’t a lot of design options or niche biotech design agencies that even existed.
  3. Of these limited options any given biotech company had at the time, NONE of those agencies were supported by a Scientific Advisor. I mean…really? Our scientific advisor has been paramount in our success. Bridging the gap between art and science is what it’s all about. You really want artists reading and interpreting a whitepaper? Understanding each of our client’s unique scientific platforms allows for personalized, well crafted brands and design solutions.
  4. I discovered a passion for scientific graphics and started to see a real need for support in that area. There were even less creative agencies supporting that need.
  5. Having learned all the things above, I pretty much had no choice.

I’ll elaborate. Design in biotech and pharma was severely lacking – falling well behind other industries that frankly have a lot less funding. At the time (2014), bigger PR agencies with a “one-stop-shop” factory formula were the only viable avenues for creative needs that combined biotech insight with design support. Direct lines of communication between the actual creative team doing the work and biotech leadership was discouraged or simply not part of the process. The process was basically a telephone game, and it involved so many unnecessary channels just to communicate ideas to and from clients. The end result wasn’t excellent.

This gap in creative support from Big PR, combined with the limited number of design agencies, left startups and very early stage companies –who may be running on restricted budgets and limited runway –pretty much on their own to develop their brand and story during the most critical phase of growth. The industry was in dire need of an independent, full-scale creative agency that could fully support their creative needs with a well-rounded, experienced team. And one that would utilize the support of a scientific advisor to help bridge the gap between art and science. We’ve always pushed our clients towards an a-la-carte approach. One stop shops are not the answer – the creative was just one line-item service in a very long list of other services. We’ve seen the industry really embrace a “build your own team” approach to curate a team of specialists who can work together quickly and effectively to produce excellence in each of their core areas.

The goal was to build an agency that works side-by-side with our clients to develop a strong, personalized brand and digital presence – no matter the budget. A fresh, new creativity agency that would harness experienced scientists to really understand the science and deploy award-winning creatives to pull it off. An agency with no other agenda other than to design and execute beautiful brands for our clients.

screenshot of Orrbitt site homepage with text "Launching Creativity" over a floating astronaut

Q: Meteorr. What is it and why did you think it could benefit the industry?

A: Meteorr is a first-of-its-kind online shopping experience built for biotech and geared specifically towards startups looking for a cost effective solution to build a cohesive, sophisticated websites and brands. Each design has the option to add on matching assets like PPT templates, business cards, letterhead, social media banners, and more. There is currently nothing like it which allows clients to choose from an array of striking templates and complementary brand assets. This is a huge time saver for companies on a tight timeline to launch their brand and/or website, and the best part is that they don’t need to worry about launching something subpar just because they are pressed for time. So it’s really a win-win.

To understand Meteorr’s potential and how it has made such an impact in the industry already, It might help to know a bit about the origins and the design / build / launch process.

When a design agency creates a website for a client, it usually starts with 2-3 homepage design concepts which are refined until the client decides to move forward with their favorite one. This elimination process essentially leaves 2 fantastic design options sitting in a folder to collect dust. The tragedy here is that – and if you ask most design agencies they’ll tell you –the client often chooses the weakest of the 3 designs.That means, two very strong design options are set aside. Yes, sometimes these designs can be picked and pulled apart for future projects, but since our process is to create tailored, personalized designs for each client, the unselected designs are left unused and we move on.

When I first started Orrbitt our main focus was to stay small, work directly with clients, and frame ourselves as a high-end boutique agency that focused on custom websites. The ability to work with larger budgets and longer design/build timelines allowed us to really focus on creating striking, dynamic designs without rushing the creative process. You never want to turn down work, but you don’t want to launch something that isn’t your best either. As we grew, we noticed we were turning down a lot of clients simply because they had a shorter window to launch. As we continued to grow, we started to see a greater unmet need:clients were seeking high quality creative solutions but had smaller budgets and shorter timelines to work with.

The solution was crystal clear. Take all the discarded designs we had laying around, and offer those as an option for these companies. We started sharing some of these pre-made designs with our clients, and they instantly loved the idea of not having to start from scratch, but still having the ability to make minor customizations to fit their needs, their content, and their brand. Soon after, we started designing complementary PPT templates for each website design, and the rest is history. The idea of Meteorr was fully realized. All we had to do was build an entirely new online shopping experience for an industry that didn’t have one.

You can certainly go online and with the click of a button buy a website template, a powerpoint template, and a stack of business cards, but that means each asset will be from a different resource. With that strategy, you’ll still need a design agency to pull all those assets together and create a cohesive set of materials for you to use. Now, Meteorr does all that, and it’s backed by an award-winning niche biotech design agency.

We’re seeing a lot of interest and potential for VCs, Incubators and other PR agencies tapping into Meteorr for bulk use as they look to launch multiple startups each year. It’s a perfect solution and one we’re continuing to evolve and refine for our biotech friends.

Launching Creativity