DesignLabs Christmas Drinks

Last Thursday on November 27 saw our end of year Christmas party that we hold for all our clients to thank them for their support for the past year. It was a real success and a testament to how far we have come over the past couple of years.

We had such fantastic feedback from all our clients on the night, and most of them were quite amazed that little old us have such a vast range of clients, not to speak the quantity. On the night around 40 clients attended to an open bar and some of the tastiest nibbles (i.e. chicken popcorn, pork belly, prawn burgers and so much more) put on by The Grace Establishment on The Parade in Norwood (our neighbour).

A comment that kept being brought up on the night is that it’s rare for companies to take out their clients, usually a company takes out their staff, but we feel it’s more important and critical to the success of our business that we look after our clients. It’s our mission statement, our vision, it’s the reason we get up in the morning, we love what we do!

Some of the clients that attended were Adelaide Festival (we design all their marketing material for each festival on a yearly basis), Stratco (graphic design of brochures and trade books), City of Prospect (branding), City of Playford (graphic design), Top Tourist Parks (graphic design of all work) and Fork On Road (branding and web design).

We have had a successful year at DesignLab, in particular our new employee Raymond Carpozzi. Welcome Raymond!

Here’s to a even better 2015!

Merry Xmas from the team at DesignLab.

5 Google features you’re not using, but should be


Google is arguably the worlds most loved search engine. In 2013 alone, there were over 2 trillion annual searches, which equates to nearly 6 billion searches per day.

One would think such a popular site should have a very sleek user interface to go with it. However, as you would no doubt know, Google’s home page is very plain and thus its full feature set is not immediately obvious.

The leading factor behind this – the founders didn’t know HTML and wanted a quick interface. Hence, with such a bare interface, some features which can dramatically increase the experience and accuracy of your search results are often overlooked.

Below are 5 useful, but often overlooked features that can significantly improve your Google Search results:

#1 – Reverse Image Search

Ever wondered where an image has come from or would like an image you have in a larger file size? Using the “Search By Image” feature on Google will do just that. You can either drag the image from the website or from your computer straight to the search box on and let Google do the work – simple!

#2 – Discover Local Businesses

Google has begun placing a large emphasis on localising search engine results. You may notice that your search results may differ depending on your location, especially when searching via mobile. To use this to your advantage, head to and try combining search terms such as “pizza (suburb)” to get a list of pizza stores in that suburb – especially handy when you’re in unfamiliar territory! For extra effect, try adding words such as “best” and “top” at the start of your search to see Google Reviews by others.

#3 – Find Related Pages

Wanting to find a similar site to the one you’re already looking at? Instead of wasting countless hour’s googling things related to that website in particular, type “related:”. Sites related to the website you have entered will now appear in the search engine results. We still recommend Googling popular keywords related to the site you’re after to maximise your results.

#4 – Get Definitions

Typing “define (word)” into Google search will yield a wealth of definitions, synonyms and even the history of that particular word you’re researching. This allows you to get quick definitions for words, the perfect solution for when you’re trying to finish that all important report or email. It’s not limited to just single words either, you can define phrases such as “now and again”, brand names like “Pizza Hut” or things such as “Titanic Movie”. Get creative!

#5 – Convert Currencies

You’re looking to purchase something online from an overseas store but you’ve just realised you have no idea of the current conversion rates. By typing “AUD to USD”, or any other currency, an online calculator will come up allowing you free will to work out the exchange on any amount you would like. Although Google have posted a disclaimer that the results may be inaccurate at times, it is definitely the easiest way to do a quick currency conversion online.

Using these 5 handy search feature, you’ll be mastering Google in no time and displaying the most accurate results for what you’re after.

SA Caravan & Camping Show

This year’s SA Caravan & Camping Show was a massive success, with a record crowds, a new Camping Kids Zone, Jayco Main Stage featuring The Drumming Monkeys topped off by perfect sunny Adelaide weather, what was there not to love!

We took a different direction with this years branding. We wanted the poster to create a sense of the typical Aussie holiday camping with family and friends.  We used a photo which was a brother and sister running on a jetty about to jump into the beach, and with tagline named ‘Your Aussie adventure starts here!’

SA-Caravan-Show-2014Poster    Photo 22-02-2014 12 43 28 pm Photo 22-02-2014 12 37 51 pm Photo 22-02-2014 12 13 21 pm Photo 22-02-2014 1 24 57 pm Photo 22-02-2014 1 04 58 pm

Category: Graphic Design Adelaide


Thoughts about similar-looking logos

A recent blog post, Your Logo is Not Hardcore, got Bucharest-based designerAndrei Tache thinking. He shared a few of his comments in this guest piece.

Nike VCXC logo
Nike VCXC branding by Jon Contino


We’re able to see those X-based logos together because the Internet connects everything, making it look like the world is one big box, but to each of us, life still takes its course in a limited area. Maybe all of those logos do their job for a small area and stand-out just as they are. Regardless, it’s no longer possible to have perfectly distinct logos for every business. You can hardly have that within a specific domain, much less cross-domain as it’s depicted in the case of Your Logo is Not Hardcore. Just because there are so many similar-looking logos doesn’t mean they’re not distinct.


Although this particular design direction looks like a fashionable decision to make, I’d argue that the form is quite generic. Maybe just as generic as a square or a circle. The X looks like the new square, and it feels rather natural for designers to make more use of a new geometric form. Even looking at the examples in this collection, you know that it’s a route that leaves room for innovation. Its versatility creates its own place in graphic design, representative of our period.


Fashion is a taboo subject for designers but maybe it should be looked at more closely. Fashion is about mass adoption of a certain mentality or a certain way of doing things. This means that fashion is a statement about the times in which we live — a statement that will be of value in 30 or 50 years from now. Just as we like motifs from other recent periods, this might grow into a classic of our time.

The downsides come through two means: one is that if you adopt ways that are fashionable today, you are already behind the flock. You’d be better off shaping the next best thing, but not everyone’s an innovator, and that’s fine. The second problem one might encounter is using fashionable shapes without having an understanding about what they mean. This can result in poor design that lacks coherence and intellectual content. But because the X stands for so many things, it’s difficult to mishandle.


We design symbols to last, but nothing lasts forever, really. I’m not saying we shouldn’t try, I’m saying that thinking about something with a life cycle seems more natural and might offer a different perspective within the process.

Old ways

The form of these X-based logos can conjure thoughts of heraldry. So maybe it’s just an old habit with contemporary ways. But there’s one small glitch to this…

New ways

Similar-looking designs don’t work for us because we glance over them so quickly that we only grasp the main features. Crests come from a time where this just wasn’t the case. But maybe, just maybe we should consider slowing down a bit. It’s clear to us that logos won’t get more distinctive, so perhaps it’s us. Perhaps we should slow down and go into more detail, enjoy nicely crafted things, despite their vague resemblance to tons of other stuff. This calls for peace, thoughtful analysis, and a slower pace.

But it goes to show that maybe hardcore is not what a good logo should strive for.

You can view some of Andrei’s work on his website: Fabrica de Design.

Related, from the archives: When logos look alike.

Star Wars logo evolution

Alex Jay published an in-depth examination of the evolution of the Star Wars logo. See the full post on his blog Tenth Letter of the Alphabet.

Star Wars letterhead
Star Wars letterhead, with lettering by Joe Johnston

Star Wars logo Suzy Rice
Mylar poster with Suzy Rice’s logo, 1977

“I’d been reading a book the night before the meeting with George Lucas, a book about German type design and the historical origins of some of the popular typefaces used today — how they developed into what we see and use in the present.”

Star Wars trilogy logos
The New York Times, March 24, 1985

Full archive: Anatomy of a logo: Star Wars.

Via Kottke.

Our Christmas Show

Every 2nd year we like to treat all our clients to a Chrissy drink to thank them for their support throughout the year. Last year we took our clients to Grace The Establishment at Norwood.



_JN_2816 _JN_2818 _JN_2819 _JN_2820 _JN_2821 _JN_2822 _JN_2823 _JN_2824 _JN_2826 _JN_2827 _JN_2831 _JN_2829 _JN_2832 _JN_2830