The Hero’s Journey of Martijn Frank Dirks

What do I love most about my work? 

The unpredictability and lack of clarity. I have no idea whatsoever where my creative work will take me in the coming years. My telephone is a kind of roulette table. It receives a call from a person I may or may not know, asking for my help. This leads to great collaborations and even friendships that come about very organically and it takes me to very special places, allowing me to work all over the Netherlands and beyond.

Secondly, I love the fact that creative talent always keeps developing and never leaves you. You are born with it and you die with it. I sincerely hope I to make my last design on the last day of my life.

And lastly, that my work is intrinsically connected to human behaviour, a great passion and fascination of mine. As far back as I can remember, I observe people incessantly, I have a photographic memory. I always notice unusual behaviour and that trait has been helpful in certain situations in the past. These days my focus is on consumer behaviour and I find it very satisfying to apply my knowledge to my work.

What is my idea of happiness? 

I derive my happiness from working with people, from experiencing and discovering things together. My greatest joy is my son Jalen, who came to me rather like my work and clients, just appearing on my path. We are now inseparable. My bond with him is my very favourite and most fulfilling aspect of my life! I thank the Universe and everything that lives and exists on this Earth for our togetherness.

What is my greatest fear? 

I don’t think in fear, nor in lack. To me, everything constitutes a whole and has a purpose and a function. Including anything you may experience as undesirable or fearful.

What is the trait I most deplore in myself? 

Deplore is a big word and it sounds rather negative. But I could do with being more patient  and sometimes I should think more about the words I use.

Which living persons in my profession do I most admire? 

Gerrit Rietveld was an amazing designer and architect. His sense of space and spatial proportion was phenomenal, it is a pity he is no longer alive, I would have liked to meet him. Long ago I worked as an intern in the studio of Marcel Wanders, just after his breakthrough with his Knotted Chair. I have followed his career closely and that has been a valuable learning experience. I admire him for everything he has made and achieved. To me, he is the most successful designer in the Netherlands. My most meaningful memory of him were our daily conversations in his car when he took me to Central Station.

What is my greatest extravagance? 

Perfume and Omega watches.

On what occasion would I lie? 

We design a lot of retail and branding projects. The world of retail is full of (positive) lies and I am afraid I am also guilty of this.

What do I dislike most in my work? 

Nowadays I struggle with the fact that people think they know everything. Look, I don’t start telling my hairdresser how he should cut my hair, he is the specialist, you know? He knows to which side my hair needs to fall to look good, so I leave that up to him. Unfortunately, over the last few years many clients are becoming know-it-alls. I understand why, with all the information available to them these days. But giving clients good advice takes much more time and persuasion now, and sometimes that bothers me.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work? 

I have been doing my work for more than 20 years, but to this day it continues to amaze me when I see my work being constructed, seeing it grow into a finished whole that I can touch or walk through. That process brings me great happiness time and time again. Secondly I love equipping myself with knowledge that I can apply in my designs. This makes me study everything related to my passion of consumer behaviour and human conduct.

If I could, what would I change about myself? 

I could certainly be more patient.

What is my greatest work achievement? 

The freedom I have created for myself and the fact that I have been able to find clients who give me assignments I always dreamed of!

Where would I most like to live?

I was born in Breda, lived in Eindhoven to study design and now live and work in Amsterdam. Around my fifth birthday, I began telling my mother I would come to live here one day. Decades ago, I added New York to this mental list. I really hope to live there at some stage, albeit temporarily.

What is my most treasured possession?

If we are talking about products; my telephone! By pressing a button, I can see my son or talk to him, watch an interesting documentary, read a good book, take great photos or do some research. It is amazing that you can do so much with a pocket-sized device these days.

What is my most marked characteristic? 

The fact that people say I look like Vincent van Gogh. In my imagination we are distant family!

What is my most inspirational location, in my city? 

All the walks I take through my city, Amsterdam.

What is my favourite place to eat and drink in my city?

To eat; ‘Hotel de Goudfazant’, to drink; Cocktail bar ‘Hiding in Plain Sight’, but you can also take me to the Conservatorium Hotel, all their restaurants and bars are my favorite!

Which books have influenced my life and how? 

‘What Are You Doing with Your Life?’ by Jiddu Krishnamurti is a very good book. This book taught met to fully embrace and accept life, to live in freedom and to let everything come to you rather than forcing things. Chetanya de Wit’s books taught me to live a life centred in love, power and passion and I find her life methods very, very valuable!

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen to on my last day? 

Classical Jazz, a love I inherited from my father and for which I am extremely grateful. 

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?

Momo in the novel by Michael Ende.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?

Beside my family and close friends (you know who you are), I particularly admire Charles Bradley. What a soul, great character and loving person, wow. I am a late bloomer myself and somehow I see him as a great role model.

Which movie should everyone see during their lifetime?

Into the wild (Director Sean Penn, 2007)

What is the role of art in my life and work? 

The way I see it, almost everything around us comes from the art world, which is far ahead of our daily lives. When travelling, I regularly visit museums and art galleries, a great source of inspiration!

What do the words You are the storyteller of your own lifemean to me?

Not much. My story was written a long time ago. What I do and where I am is a confirmation of my dreams and déjà vu’s. I do believe that we all ‘read’ the life stories of other people. I just have a different vision of whether or not they write these stories themselves.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?  

Strangely enough, I don’t have the feeling the people I love appreciate me much for what I make and create. And I guess that’s a good thing. They appreciate me for who I am and what I do for them. My son is definitely my greatest fan, he is twelve now and he expresses his feelings and appreciation in such a genuine and beautiful way, it warms my heart! I receive similar feelings from my sister’s kids and those of my best friends. That makes me really happy.

Which people or companies would I like to work with in 2021? 

My work is commercial and I love brands with a story and global fame. I am a huge Basketball fan and I particularly admire James Harden. So if Adidas ever asks me to design an ‘Adidas Harden Only’ store or popup store, I’ll be shouting that from the rooftops of Amsterdam!

In 2021, who would I love to meet who can make a real difference in my creative career? 

It would be fantastic to meet Tenzin Gyatso in person.

Which project for 2021 am I looking forward to working on? 

For years I was so focused on working for my clients that I forgot about myself and my company. I now love to spend my time working at my own business. My website is finally in order. The latest addition included a timeline with projects and collaborations going back to 2006, the year that I set up my business. Looking at this page does make me feel real proud. Right now I am working on a portal on my site, offering online seminars about consumer behaviour.

Where can you see me or my work in 2021? 

Throughout the Netherlands and at some locations abroad. The circle is becoming bigger and richer. See or follow us on

What do the words Passion Never Retiresmean to me? 

That I will never stop finding people to help on their journey.

Which creative heroes should Peter invite to tell their story?

Admar van Schalen, Elma Polak, Neeltje de Vries

How can you contact me?

Please text or call me if you ever happen to visit Amsterdam +31628582916

Here follows a message of Peter de Kuster, founder of The Hero’s Journey


  • tickYou are a creative professional who is interested in developing yourself and your creative business.
  • tickYou are aware that there are no quick fixes. Learning is a journey that works when you are fully committed to it. A coach can bring awareness and help you navigate, but in the end it’s you who is in charge of your growth.
  • tickYou want to learn more about how to tell yourself a more powerful story, learn about blind spots, and get feedback.
  • tickYou are curious and want to engage in an interactive learning journey with Peter de Kuster.
  • tickYou are motivated to work in-between journeys on yourself (e.g. working on questions that will help you develop new storytelling, mindsets, skills, and behaviors).


The Hero’s Journey is all about your development. To make the most out of your journey with Peter, we ask you to prepare topics to work on with him. These topics can serve as a starting point for further in-depth exploration.


One Hour Virtual Coaching for Euro 150 (excluding VAT)

One Day Journey for EUR 1,200 (excl. VAT)

Two Day Journey for EUR 2,150 (excl. VAT)

Three Day Journey for EUR 2,950 (excl. VAT)



Who can sign up for The Hero’s Journey?

Creative professionals who wish to improve their storytelling, mindset(s) and develop their leadership skills.

What language do we speak in the journey?


Can I bring my own topics?

Yes, you get to choose your own topic.

Are journeys confidential?

Yes. Peter will not share anything that is discussed in the journey.

Where will the journeys take place?

Sessions will take place travelling with Peter a world city like Paris, Rome, Florence, Barcelona, Amsterdam, London, Antwerp, Venice, New York, Berlin, Madrid.

How do I sign up?

Send Peter an email to

How do I pay?

After you booked The Hero’s Journey by sending an email to Peter you will receive an email with info how to pay.

How do I book and reschedule a journey?

Once we’ve received your payment, our Program Coordinator will book your journey. She will also support you with rescheduling journeys if needed.

What is your cancellation policy?

Individual journeys can be postponed up to one week before the journey.

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