I am Jeff Yu from China. Last Christmas, I was preparing my portfolio in Tongji University Shanghai to apply for a master course in University of the Arts London. This Christmas, I have been studying in London for three months and working in Top Left Design for two weeks. TLD is a dynamic team, with Keren teaching patiently, Elisa always making tasty tea and Amy clearly outlining Trello tasks! It is really a magic journey and I have experienced two different Christmases in Shanghai and London.
Dream and Life
Our studio is located in Soho in central London. I can feel strong Christmas atmosphere every day, with people laughing and talking passionately and freely outside the pubs alongside crowded streets, orchestras playing charming Christmas symphonies, beautiful Christmas gifts shinning in the stores. Everywhere is bustling and lively. In contrast, Christmas Shanghai is busy in a tranquil atmosphere. People in Shanghai are elegant with exquisite dreams. Reserved manners and emotions are typical in Chinese culture. Everyone is talking or smiling quietly and enjoying delicious courses cosily indoors. One typical trend is that people usually photograph gorgeous environment, fascinating looks, fine courses elaborately with close friends in a restaurant and share them in WeChat for meeting an exquisite dream. Some even spend hours retouching photographs carefully. Shanghai is close to a dream and London is close to life, which is the same in eastern and western culture and philosophy.
(Middle Huaihai Road, Shanghai 2015)
Flexible and Classic
Shanghai an international city in China and Christmas atmosphere is strong in public areas. Although most of middle-aged people do not spend Christmas and would like to keep a traditional Chinese custom, most of young people would like to embrace all kinds of fresh things, even if it is at least a good reason for relaxing and having a big dinner with friends or kids! Chinese post-80s and post-90s generations are completely different. Even the way of celebrating the Chinese Spring Festival keeps changing among us as long as we feel happy. In my eyes, the most classic British style is kind of like what you see in Downton Abbey. The lifestyle in UK changes in a steady and consistent pace.
Actually, Shanghai and London are both attractive in history, culture, environment, people and living, which is also what makes each city unique. I am very lucky to experience and share them with you. I love exploring the cities, listening to stories, and expressing how I feel. Everyone has unique experiences and feelings of a city. If you have different opinion, I would love to talk it with you in the cosy TLD kitchen.
Meetings and Trello
I also would like to share some working experiences. Before I came to London, I had worked in two design studios in Shanghai. Actually, this is my first job in UK and I am satisfied with the working conditions. It is well-organised and efficient. We use Trello to communicate and the collaboration with overseas teammates is even smooth. In TLD, the basic principle is writng the needs clear in documents or Trello. In contrast, big or small, formal or informal, regular or unscheduled, serious or relaxing, different kinds of meetings are typical features in Chinese offices. Meetings are also a way to encourage people work better and quicker. The most reliable and easiest thing is that making everything clear face to face.
I am satisfied with the experiences of working in Top Left Design. I can learn practical knowledge in interface design and project management and many useful tools. The design projects are interesting and I have enough space for creation and innovation. The teammates are friendly and I love the four values, “Caring and Helpful”, “Teach and Learn”, “Efficient, Effective and Reliable”, and “Enthusiastic and Energetic”, which guide me how I would love to be. In addition, there are a lot of restaurants to enjoy every lunchbreak in Soho. Christmas Regent Street and Oxford Street are very attractive and Christmas Sale is a good change of shopping! It is really an impressive experience for me studying and working in London.
At last, Merry Christmas! Seasons greetings and wish you every success in the coming new year,