Insight, advice, news and chit chat

Michael’s Movember 2011 Roundup – More Moustache Memoirs

By now you must all be aware of Movember – it’s been hard to ignore this year, thanks to a great marketing campaign, fantastic use of social media to increase involvement, and all the dodgy moustaches you’ve been seeing for the last month!

In case you’ve been living under a rock though, Movember is an annual charity challenge, whereby men grow a moustache in order to raise money for Prostate Cancer.

We don’t like to scream and shout about it, but Top Left Design turned 5 years old this August!

To celebrate, we have just sent out our latest newsletter, which you can view here

While you might not have heard much from us recently, we’ve been anything but quiet here at TLD Towers – our heads have been firmly down, working on plenty more lovely website designs for our wonderful clients!

It’s also a good idea not to attract attention to yourself when there’s a riot happening outside – Michael reports from the scene in our newsletter this month, as he lives in Tottenham, the eye of the storm.

We also had a visit from TLD veteran Amy, who flew over from South Africa for a visit, and to meet our new TLD team members!

You can see our latest site launches, which include Rochdale Spears, Anne Sebba, A Business Innovation, Alicia Cowan, and Helicopter Mum – that should be enough to get your mouth watering..

When it comes to making websites look good, there are a plethora of ways to set a design apart from the rest, without needing to delve into the pit of cliché doom.

A strong design does not need gimmicks, just as it does not need uninspired generic content. The tricky part is finding the balance!

Here are some common culprits, steer clear of these or you might end giving people a migrane – or worse – they might steer clear of your site completely…

You’ve probably guessed by now that we love blogging. The very fact that you’re reading this blog post, which is about our latest newsletter, that heavily features blogging, blogs, and how to be a better blogger, (breath) proves this to any doubters.

Aside from our blog seminar, the newsletter is a source for all sorts of information – we’ve provided links to valuable resources which should help you out on your quest to be the best blogger in the wild wild west – along with some of our latest website launches.

Take a look here – if you think you can handle the sheer amount of blogging related content found within.

Today, March 20th, is ‘Holi’ – a spring religious festival celebrated by Hindus. Traditionally, Holi is celebrated by people throwing coloured powder and coloured water at each other – certainly a beautiful way to express yourself!

Rangapanchami occurs a few days later on a Panchami (fifth day of the full moon), marking the end of festivities involving colours.

Of course, we LOVE colours at Top Left Design!

Happy Holi today if you are celebrating!

“At one point, 50% of the CD’s produced worldwide had an AOL logo on it.”

Ahhh those were the days… Remember when an AOL CD came free with everything from a newspaper to a loaf of bread? You wouldn’t be able to get out of your house in the morning due to the pile of pointless shiny discs underneath your letterbox. On occasion, you had to take days off school or work whilst digging your way out. Our postman would feed us Mars bars through the letterbox. Digital snow days were such a nuisance in the 90s.

I think everyone knows what I’m talking about. It cost over $300 million to produce these CDs, and to what end? There were the obvious “green” issues, which are hard to ignore when you’re wasting that amount of plastic (and card packaging). I can honestly say that I never once actually used an AOL CD for it’s intended purpose – and I wasn’t alone – gaze upon the AOL Throne, or these alternate 61 uses for the spam CDs.

Today marks the 100 year anniversay (or Centenary) of International Women’s Day!

Since 1911, the 8th of March has been recognised as the day to celebrate the fairer of the species. As we know, back in “the old days”, women were treated very unfairly, and denied the right to function in society as an equal to the dominant and sexist male contingent.

Looking back, things have changed quite a lot, and for the better! Once upon a time, (and this is no fairytale), women had to fight for the right to work, vote, be trained, hold public office, and end discrimination. And some would say that this fight is not yet over.

I look back on the last 100 years and it baffles me as to how badly us blokes acted, and makes me ashamed to be linked (by a Y chromosome) to such blatant discrimination! Well things are quite different nowadays, and this is extremely evident to me especially, working at a Web Design agency, and being the only man in an office of 4 other women! Has it affected me? Well I do go shopping a LOT more since working here…

Not that I am complaining of course, the women I work with on a daily basis are amazing – I wouldn’t trade them for anyone else. Each are extremely proficient in the work they do, and there can be times when a project requires that softer touch, and a woman’s perspective. And the stereotype of women being able to multi-task more easily than men (whether true or not) is a definite advantage when it comes to juggling 15 projects at a time!

So, without further ado, here is what “Michael’s Angels” have to say about working at Top Left Design, and what it means to be a woman in society today!

(Read more about International Women’s Day and it’s history on the official International Women’s Day website)

Tamlyn’s take on things

Tamlyn Hall

Hearing that your prospective work place is a studio made up of almost entirely women can be a little intimidating the first time you walk through the doors. However, it was a thought that flitted across my mind so briefly here at TLD that it’s barely worth mentioning. Working with the amazing women here at Top Left Design has been a purely positive experience right from day one. There is an overwhelming sense of togetherness, support and understanding within the office, all which makes for an incredible and positive work environment. Even with Amy being halfway across the world (boooo), we are still a very close team – there is always someone there to lend an ear, a heart or give a hug (sometimes a virtual one), whether they are standing right next to you or sitting in sunny SA 5630 odd miles away (thanks Google!).

Of course, we mustn’t forget that whilst TLD is predominately women, we do have Michael representing the boys! At times I’ve wondered what it must be like for Michael working in a predominately female environment – almost a role reversal in a world (that world being web design) that is fairly male orientated. In fact I’ve ALMOST (not quite) felt sorry for him at times, having to deal with female sob stories, and tears on one or two occasions. But then again, he gets to work amongst four extremely talented and GORGEOUS women on a daily basis.. All sorry feelings gone!
And anyway, just between you and me, I think he quite enjoys being the only boy here!!

Amy’s advice

Amy Senyard

Women speak two languages – one of which is verbal. ~William Shakespeare

Being a woman in an almost solely woman inhabited company means that we get to speak our own language. We understand one another and bouncing ideas around at Top Left Design, well… it just works!

Arriving at Top Left Design to a company of 3 women was a pretty daunting experience. Aren’t a few women together in one room meant to be a recipe for catty remarks, bitchiness and having your every outfit scrutinised? Maybe I was still thinking back to school days as this was not the environment that I found myself in. It’s amazing what a sense of companionship you can find from a company of women. The people you have to see more days of the week than not need to be people that you love, people that you respect and this is what I find everyday at Top Left Design.

The main thing I love about having these TLD women around me every day (be it only via skype and email since I moved back to South Africa) is that there is always someone there to notice when I get my hair cut, or hug me when I am feeling sad, or convince me that I won’t get fat from that one more cupcake as long as we eat them together. And even though I miss out on seeing these women face to face I still feel their love and respect.

…And Keren still makes sure to send Tamlyn home every now and then so we can get a TLD manicure and pedicure together.

Tina tells us how it is

Tina Webster

I have been working in web design for 2 years now and it has been great to work alongside so many lovely/passionate ladies in the company. This was my 1st “proper” job (in the sense that it was related to my creative degree) after university. I knew from the start that web design was a rather male orientated world and it was so nice to come across a team of mainly women who were and still are driven, committed and striving to rid the world of bad website design!

A lot of our clients are ladies and again working with so many women who are professional, in tune with their clients’ needs and are overall all round lovely people is so very inspiring!

Whilst at Top Left Design I was also introduced to networking, by Keren, and for the past 2 years I have been a member of the Athena Network which is a networking lunch for women in business. This has given me a great opportunity to meet other driven women in business from lots of different industries and also forge some great alliances.

Keren’s Comment

Keren Lerner - owner of Top Left Design

I decided this morning to put this post up as it’s the 100 year anniversary of International Women’s Day and I wanted to show how – even on a day when I had 6 meetings, including a 7am BNI breakfast, 8 calls to return, and a speech to prepare for tomorrow, I could still pull it together. Granted, I asked for my lovely team to contribute but they did – and this proved what we women are capable of (with the help of one great guy!)

Which browser do you use? (Poll)

Here at Top Left Design, we need to keep on top of many different browsers – websites can look different depending on which one you use!

While the less tech-savvy Windows users amongst you may still be using Internet Explorer (*ahem*), most of you will have no doubt experimented with different browsers.

With so many available, which one do you prefer to use?

[poll id=”02″]

The Expendables Poster

On the 9th of August, the Top Left Design team (and guests, but sadly minus Amy) were privileged enough to attend the red carpet Premiere of the new Blockbuster film “The Expendables“, starring Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the voice of Justin Bieber. Ok well maybe not that last one, but pretty much every big action movie star of the last 20 years!

How you might ask? Well Keren’s (@topleftdesign’s) father just happens to be Avi Lerner, Producer of the movie. He has also produced such Hollywood hits as Rambo IV (Stallone), Righteous Kill (Pacino / De Niro), and The Black Dahlia (Hartnett / Johansson).

8 Ways To Increase Your Browser Productivity

We all know that web browsers are getting faster. So what can you do to keep up with them?

There used to be a time when you might have waited 3 minutes for a webpage to open.

Then we got broadband.

Then we only had to wait an average 10 seconds for a page to load.

Then we got Firefox.

Now our new browsers such as Google’s ‘Chrome’ not only load the page in a split-second, but the programs themselves open almost instantaneously. Plus they can handle a metric ton of ‘tabs’ and not slow your computer down in the process!

Here’s 8 tips to give your web-surfing a steroid boost