Family history, heritage and genealogy has been a big interest of mine for as long as I can remember. Much of that probably stems from the rather large and complicated family structure I’m a part of; many siblings with many different parents. Much of that was before I was even born. I’m the ninth of eleven children my parents have had in total, so there is a lot of family history I was never around for. Our family photos and albums were central in being able to grasp the family backstory when I was young, and even now.

My appreciation…

The Canadian Flag, adopted 15th of February 1965.

A relatively modern design, the Canadian flag has garnered a great deal of international recognition—not only for being the country’s flag, but for being an exemplar of successful modern flag design. It is often the benchmark that many strive for in flag campaigns and design proposals.

However, this flag owes a large amount to perseverance, political will, and a hint of nepotism, that lead to its adoption in 1965. The flag and its origin story offers a lot of learnings for those endeavouring to create or change a flag. …

Yes, Wellington has a flag.

In 2016, while still a bit nauseous from a year of studying the New Zealand flag debate and referenda, I found myself perplexed by something I spotted on the Wellington waterfront: this garish flag you see below. Still on overdrive from flag-mania-2015, I was asking myself why on earth do we have a flag with this logo on it?! Surely that’s not our official flag.

LAWA (Land Air Water Aotearoa) is a website designed with the purpose of making scientific information on New Zealand’s environment available to the public in an easily comprehensible, credible and trustworthy way.


LAWA is a collaboration between New Zealand’s 16 regional councils and Unitary Authorities, the Cawthron Institute, Massey University and the Ministry for the Environment. When it launched in 2013, LAWA was a world first in terms of making national water quality information accessible on a single platform. …

VoteLocal was a Voter Advice Application (VAA) designed and built for use in New Zealand’s 2016 local elections, with the goal of helping young New Zealanders engage in the elections and increase voter turnout.


VoteLocal is an online tool that calculates and suggests which mayoral candidates are most compatible with the user based on their responses to a number of questions. It provides information directly from the candidates about what they stand for, informs users about what councils do, and debunks any assumptions that they aren’t relevant.

The online tool was an evolution of the Design+Democracy Project’s prior initiative, On…

160 New Zealand flag submissions that utilise the upward triangle as an illustration of varying approaches and depictions of an idea.

2015 is the year of flags. I have been slowly drowning in the New Zealand flag debate all year as part of my Master of Design research, and has oddly given me the title of vexillologist and perhaps even vexillographer. In my work I have come across various responses from people across the country, both online (I created Flagpost) and in person. This is my attempt, while it is still relevant, to debunk or give thought to some of these notions.

“They look like logos.”

Flags do act in similar ways to logos — they are both visual manifestations of…

It is no surprise that the Flag Consideration Process put in motion by the Government has had this outcome, but there are plenty of revelations. Nine months in and 10,000 flag design submissions later, the Panel has whittled them down to four finalists — more commonly referred to as the three ferns and a koru.

That simplification in itself indicates the poor choice of the selection. New Zealand’s response seems to have amounted to a collective sigh mixed with frustration and confusion. …

Not Infographics.

I’m a big fan of information design and information graphics (infographics), and have enjoyed teaching the subject in the past. However, I have found there to be a misconception amongst many people, even among my students and especially on the Internet, about what actually constitutes infographics.

The current zeitgeist is seeing a surge in of interest in data, and this is often requiring information graphics to communicate that data effectively. This trend is propagated by and large by the internet, through popular blogs and sharing over Tumblr and Pinterest feeds, but also because of the mere fact that the world…

Thomas Le Bas

Designer, typographer, vexillologist. I like to work with people and tech to help make things that have a positive impact on the world.

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