5 ways to improve your desk health

We are rocking along to September, and although the year seems to be flying, I’m sure we are all feeling like it’s not going quick enough! Here are 5 quick tips to power through and keep you sitting up straight, to make sure your posture, eyesight and circulation are tip top! Enjoy the Christmas party this year, instead of spending two weeks trying to ease the back pain!

This one caught us out in the design studio. A visitor to our office pointed out the position of our windows and sympathised about the glare we must struggle with on our screens. We had blinds installed a few weeks later and what a difference! Glare can cause eye strain and make you sit abnormally to see the screen clearly, undoing all your hard posture work!

Ladies, this one will catch you out every 10 minutes if you’re not paying attention, yet it’s the easiest one to fix! I paid particular attention correcting this, and after one week, noticed a dramatic difference. I used to get a lot of knee pain when running at the gym, and I found by uncrossing my legs and keeping my feet flat on the floor, I was not only correcting my posture, but also the alignment of my knee with my hip. This will also help your circulation in your legs.

Make sure your chair is positioned to support your lower back. You should be at a height where your knees are level with your hips. Use a foot rest if this helps. Your head should be positioned above your shoulders. This allows the weight of your head to be supported down to the pelvis and into the chair. Slouching forward will put extra pressure on the muscles in the middle of your back and make them work overtime to keep your head up. This could lead to the dreaded stoop! And if you don’t like working overtime, I’m sure your back won’t either!

Objects which you use frequently should be within easy reach, try to avoid repeatedly stretching or twisting. For a designer, if you love your stationary, use a cool stationary holder or container, so everything is in easy reach. Or make use of the storage room (the more you move out of the chair and around the office, the better your circulation will be!)

Your chair should have a 5 star base, not 4 as it may tip over!

I hope this helps to make the time you spend doing what you love, that little bit more enjoyable!

Yours in good health,


Team Brio take on Bridge to Brisbane 2010

The alarm was not my friend at 4.30am yesterday morning. But joining the pre-race buzz at the start line an hour and a half later made up for it! Team Brio participated in the 10km Bridge to Brisbane fun run, and helped the 31,700 participants raise funds for Autism Queensland. We walked, jogged, and ran the distance and had a great time every step of the way!

Yours in fundraising & fitness,


We have a moral responsibility

When it comes to design and marketing we can package up and sell just about anything to anyone when you do it right. You know the age old saying a good salesman can sell ice to the eskimos!  Well that is true in some sense because it is our job to position a product or service in the market to make it desirable to a potential customer who didn’t realised they need it. We are selling something that really is more than what it is sometimes, it is a distortion of the truth.

From time to time a designer and marketer will be faced with a moral dilemma when they come across a potential client that has a product or service that is dangerous, exploiting child labour or will be damaging to your health if you eat or drink it for example. We must then decide, do we want to be part of ‘selling’ something that we don’t agree with?  We have to weigh up why are we designers and marketers in the first place and what power we have over the market and what our morals are before taking on work.

Milton Glasser really summed up this dilemma when in 2002 he wrote an article for Metropolis Magazine about design ethics where he created the ’12 steps to hell for a designer’.  Milton Glaser for those that don’t know him will be familiar with his work, his most famous the ‘I heart NY’ symbol. He would be in his 70’s now and a most successful designer in his time. Have a look at Milton’s words in this You Tube clip and remember to always do what is morally right for you. I believe you should be proud of every job you do.

Yours in Design


How to find 7 extra hours in a week

It’s a pattern we probably all find ourselves in: never having enough time to do everything that you want to do! How do we juggle a job, a home, hobbies, friends… maybe even a family?  I came across this article recently and even though it was originally talking to working career mums, it’s pretty relevant for a lot of us.  Ponder it for a while, it’s worth a shot as you may just be able to find seven extra hours in a week! Wouldn’t that be nice!

Yours in time management,



Brisbane hosts international Design Week – last week for early bird regos

Recently Brio Group has been involved in developing the website for the upcoming International Design Week to be held right here in Bris-Vegas!

In October, ICOGRADA (International Council of Graphic Design Associations) in partnership with AGDA (Australian Graphic Design Association), will host OPTIMISM: Icograda Design Week Brisbane—international design conference, 10th AGDA National Biennial Awards, exhibitions, design trade fair, workshops and other special events.

OPTIMISM 2010 will recognise the valuable contribution designers make to delivering benefits and results for business, community and culture.

Join designers and colleagues from around the world to celebrate creativity, communication and collaboration.

For more information check out the brilliant website that Brio Digital created or the links to speakers and events below!

Yours in International Design,




Brisbane Writers Festival 2010

Next week  (1 – 5 September) more than 250 writers and participants will gather in Brisbane as they take part in more than 150 sessions, (including 24 workshops), as part of this year’s Brisbane Writers Festival (BWF).

BWF 2010 is so much more than the name suggests… It’s an opportunity for people who love reading to come together; to listen to their favourite authors speak; receive feedback on their own work; to make new discoveries as well as share their own thoughts and connections to the stories.

We’ve selected a few program highlights:

Matt Condon, a firm Brisbane favourite, will share his thoughts on Brisbane, and home more broadly, with other Brisbane devotees, Robert Forster and William McInnes.

Jessica Watson will be back on dry land sharing her story of how she sailed into history while Jessica Rudd (Kevin Rudd’s daughter) will take us behind the scenes of her debut novel Campaign Ruby – an interesting chat given the current state of politics.

Benjamin Law invites you to meet The Law Family – eccentric, endearing and hard to resist!

And finally, talking about the world of new media, Brisbane bloggers Fiona Crawford and John Birmingham will be joined by China’s wild-child of literature Mian Mian, (who sued Google for breaching copyright and won!).

For all budding writers or published authors in Brisbane, next week is all about you!

For more information click here.

Yours in literature,


Just for the love of it

Imagine a world where you can share your skills and tools in a moneyless, stressfree community. Welcome to the world’s fastest growing alternative economy where you can save money, learn new skills and reduce your carbon footprint.

The Freeconomy Community is the brainchild of Mark Boyle who has been living off the grid in the UK for 20 months without money and recommends this stressfree moneyless life to all to save our exploited planet. He is the author of the book The Moneyless Man and regularly writes of his experiences and learnings of his new lifestyle in his Freeconomy Blog.

There are four main ways to use and participate in the Freeconomy Community with freeshare: skillshare, toolshare, spaceshare and the forum where you can post your ideas, advice and experiences, and learn from others.

The Freeconomy Community’s aim is to help reconnect people in their local communities through the simple act of sharing.

Everything is shared for FREE on Freeconomy, no money changes hands. Money has too often become a replacement over communities, friendships and families as the No.1 source of security for people.

The Freeconomy Community does not use advertising and receives no donations or income from their website www.justfortheloveofit.org and it is completely free to join, forever.

The philosoFREE behind the Freeconomy community is based on ‘pay-it-forward’ principles and economics. Someone may share their time, skills, tools or spare spaces with you for free and in return you will help someone else: ‘pay the favour forward’.

Reduce your carbon footprint and join the stressfree community at www.justfortheloveofit.org

Yours in Design,
Amber van Sloten

Need some inspiration?

Ever had one those days where the creative juices just aren’t flowing? Ever had it happen on a day when you have to create a logo?

Never fear, “stagnant days” (a term a design friend and I use when creativity refuses to flow freely), are now a thing of the past thanks to this great logo resource site: www.logopond.com

I can’t remember how I stumbled across this great site, but let me just say, it sits in the top 10 of my most frequented websites for design and inspiration. Whether you need some ideas on how to work type, colours and shapes or you just want to marvel at the creativity of others, there’s plenty of clever and amazing logos on show that will get that creative spark going again.

Enjoy … and bookmark!

…Paul :)

Top 5 political logos

This year’s election campaigns have concentrated on the political parties branding themselves to the public. While their brands have focussed on their brand language (eg. “Moving Forward”) it seems they have paid less attention to other elements of their brand, for example, their logos. The Australian Liberal and Labour party logos have regularly been in the public eye, where the media have covered events and ad campaigns. It got me thinking, could they do better? And looking at other political logos, I think the answer is YES. The following is a list of my top 5 favourite political logos (that maybe Julia and Tony could take some inspiration from).

#1. Obama 08

This logo is an obvious choice. The whole campaign was very well executed. The logo itself incorporates the “O” of “Obama”; the blue and red from the flag; the plains/American farmland (represented by the red stripes); and the sunrise which works as a symbol of hope and change.

#2. The Swedish Pirate Party

I love this logo for it’s slick simplicity. It cleverly represents the Swedish Pirate Party’s platform of reforming the patent and copyright system.

#3. National Urban League

This logo has a clear message about equality and inclusiveness shown simply by the round shape, encapsulating the ‘equal’ sign. The black thick lines add the feeling of strength with no complications.

#4. Kim Coco

While this logo for Hawaiian candidate, Kim Coco, looks a little like a fashion logo, it has nice messaging and aesthetics. The designers wanted to portray Kim as a multi-dimensional person who stands for a progressive agenda and who is intelligent; stylish but not frivolous; caring and passionate.

#5. Liberal Democrats

The typeface is strong and the imagery shows hope and progression, and works with their strong environmental values.

Have you seen any other good ones?

Yours in design,