Insight, advice, news and chit chat

Alicia and Keren

We asked Alicia Bell, who worked at TLD a while ago, what skills she learned here which still prove useful to her now that she is working in Canada as a marketing manager. Below is what she said!

What I learned at Top Left Design

Working at TLD was definitely a learning experience, not only did I learn HTML and Photoshop, I learned a whole bunch of simple skills that I have been using in almost every job that I’ve had afterwards.

Effective Email

Email communication doesn’t have to be complicated or take a long time. After writing many emails at Top Left Design, I learned that in order to avoid confusion increase efficiency, emails have to be formatted properly and be clear and simple. First, let’s start out with format. It is so important to start out an email with the person’s name. You could say “Hi Martin” or “Martin,” some sort of introduction. When you start an email out with information it can be confusing and not to mention it can seem a little rude. The rest of the email should be broken up into paragraphs and finish with a sign off like “Thanks,” or “Regards,” or whatever you are comfortable with. As for simplicity and clarity – this is the most important part. Unless you want to be writing back and forth all day with questions, its best to be clear about what you are talking about. This means to get the main points out separately. So, if you have to mention several points and ask questions it is good to group them together. When you are asking questions you have to make it obvious that you need an answer. If you say “I was wondering” and trail off with a long complicated question it isn’t clear in the end what you are talking about. On the other hand, writing an email with a quick one line answer can be even more confusing. If you follow all of these simple rules emailing will be less work and people will appreciate the ease of reading your emails.

File in Style – it takes a while but saves a mile!

Another important part of working with emails all day is keeping them organised. An organised email program on your computer means that you can respond faster to clients, colleagues and have a clear idea of what you are working on and will need to work on. By keeping a clear filing system in your inbox you will be able to find an email quickly and easily if you need it for reference. Not to mention that if you keep your inbox clean you can see what you need to work on and what’s new. Once you are finished working on something you can file it away and not worry about it anymore. If you have loads of emails that are in different stages of being complete you’ll have no idea what you are working on. You could also file based on urgency levels, i.e. 3 being least important (maybe ongoing projects that aren’t client based) and 1 being the most important (projects that have a deadline that is quickly approaching). If you are able to do this you will increase your efficiency level at the workplace significantly.

Mean well with a manual!

Another skill that I acquired working at TLD was manual writing. In any position it is important for someone to pick up a piece of paper and be able to figure out how to do a certain task. If you are the only one who knows how to do a certain procedure at your workplace it can be stressful if you are sick or going on vacation. The best way to work on a manual is to break down the process very clearly into bullet points or steps. Once you are complete try to do the steps based on your own instructions, or better yet get someone who knows nothing about the process to do it. That way you will see whether your manual has holes and how you can fix them. Once you have this information down on paper transitional periods will be much simpler at any job.

Overall, keeping organized is not something that everyone knows how to do. By following these easy steps you will be begin to be more efficient and dare I say happier at work. If you know what you are doing and what track you are on things will definitely start to go your way at the workplace.

Our last intern Maja who came from Germany has now left us – sad!
We asked her to write about her experience and this is what she said:

“When I heard about my internship in web design I was a little bit afraid, because I’ve never worked with HTML and web design before. But in the end I enjoyed it and I now know more about web design and how to present the designs to clients.
To be honest – this is my first internship that I really enjoyed. The whole team was very friendly and open minded and it was a very relaxed atmosphere. I even had my own computer – that was great!

The special things I have learnt whilst on my internship were:

Using Adobe Photoshop, Macromedia HomeSite, Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Indesign
How to make a gradient (using Layers) [ Photoshop]
How a website is designed in Photoshop then built in HTML (Footer, Top, Navigation, font size & Home and Inner, Templates) [ Photoshop & HomeSite]

I had a lot of projects, which was very good – so I could do a lot of designs which made me very happy. Sometimes I thought I was very helpful, so I hope at the end I was very useful to your company.

Every day I tried my best and the whole time in the internship was a very good experience for me. Thank you for giving me a lot of different projects to work on. This was very good and has built on my experiences.

I wish I could stay longer in your company because it was a really good time for me. I really liked this internship. This was the best internship I’ve ever had (seriously!).

In the past the other internships were not as good as here, because the atmosphere was not as good….a couple of my bosses were uptight and not good-humoured like you and your team are.

It was a great time at Top Left Design for me!”

We will miss Maja too!
She was hard working, showed great talent, was quick to learn and helpful. We wish her luck in her future career – keep in touch!