Self-organisation and self-assembly are critical to the stability of synthetic and biological membranes. Of particular importance is consideration of the packing arrangements of the various molecular species. Both phospho- and glycolipids can pack in ways in which curvature can be introduced into self-organised or self-assembled systems. For instance, it is known that the degree of curvature can affect the structures of any condensed phases that are formed. In this article we report on a systematic study in which we have varied the shapes of glycolipids and examined the condensed phases that they form. In doing so, we have also unified the shape dependency of lyotropic liquid crystals with those of thermotropic liquid crystals. In order to undertake this systematic study a range of different pentaerythritol derivatives was synthesized, which covers combinations of one to three alkyl chains of different lengths (6,7,9,10,11,12,14,16 carbon atoms) and three to one galactosyl heads. Mono- and di-O-galactosyl derivatives were prepared directly by glycosylation of the corresponding alcohols using 2,3,4,6- tetra-O-benzoyl or acetyl-alpha-D-galactopyranosyl trichloroacetimi date or bromide as the donors; the tri-O-galactosyl derivatives were synthesized from O-alkyl-O-benzyl di-O-galactosyl pentaerythritol intermediates, followed by de-O-benzylation and glycosylation steps. All of the fully deprotected products were obtained by standard methods, and their self-organising and self-assembling properties examined.