We present a design concept for an optimized surface-emitting laser with two-dimensional feedback structure and organic gain material. The basic laser structure consists of an array of holes within a thin film of Ta 2O5. The optical properties of such feedback structures are investigated theoretically and experimentally. Combining first-order with second-order photonic structures leads to a higher quality factor of the feedback structure, resulting in a lower laser threshold and/or a much smaller footprint of the laser. © 2010 IOP Publishing Ltd.