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Things that I've learnt at Top Left Design that I didn't know before (by Olivia Collins - intern - September-November 2012)

When I came for the interview at Top Left Design I was excited, but not particularly optimistic about my chances of being selected to intern here. As an advertising and brand management graduate I knew little about web or graphic design and had always considered myself to be computer illiterate. However, I was eager to learn and the always friendly and helpful team at Top Left Design took the time to teach. So here are the seven most important things I’ve learnt:

Photoshop- the Basics

When I began using Photoshop, I found it comparable to a spaceship’s dashboard. A vast array of controls, no idea how to use them and a high potential for disaster. However, now I have a good level of comfort with the basics and if Photoshop really was comparable to a spaceship, I would now be able to turn the windscreen wipers on.


WordPress has been my most used new skill. Unlike Photoshop, WordPress is very user friendly. Whether I was entering content into a website or managing blog posts, WordPress was easy to pick up. I’m still working on understanding EndNote and Sublime!
Learning WordPress

The language of HTML

HTML has always seemed very mysterious to me.  Initially, looking at a page of HTML felt like trying to read a foreign language! However, it’s been much easier to learn than I anticipated. Now I’m beginning to see recurring ‘words’ that I understand. Because I felt so apprehensive to work with HTML in the beginning, I’m very proud of my new found skill and I’m excited to keep learning!

Social media skills

It has been impossible to work under Keren and not pick up a certain amount of social media skills. Like many people I know, I had been avoiding Twitter. I thought it would take up too much of my time and that it was only used for bragging about who you know or all the exciting things you do.  It’s safe to say I was pretty cynical about Twitter and the whole concept of internet ‘friends’ or ‘followers’.  I also had the proud notion that I should have more followers than people I’m following, which kept the number of people I was following very low!
Now I understand that Twitter is just one of many social media platforms that can be a really effective business and networking tool. Sites like Buffer and TweetDeck can help organise your social media so it doesn’t become a time thief. Knowing how to use each type of application and the different types of content to share through them will increase your reach to the right audience and help you become a more efficient social media user!
Social Media

The art of image sourcing

When I was asked to start image sourcing, I was unaware of all the pitfalls; cheesy poses, tacky settings and bad composition. Scrolling through websites like Dreamstime could engulf entire chunks of my day. Then I learnt to take a more artistic interpretation towards image sourcing. Images do not have to be of the exact thing you are trying to caption; what’s important is the quality, composition and mood of the image.

Content management

Having a rather naïve view of what it takes to build a website, I assumed that a super intelligent computer entered all the content into newly built websites. How wrong I was.

Bosses aren’t always scary!

Perhaps I’ve had bad luck in the past, perhaps I’ve watched the film horrible bosses too many times, or perhaps it’s because she has such a lovely staff, but Keren’s attitude to leading the team here at Top Left Design has opened my eyes to a different style of leadership.
Horrible Boss
So there you have it, the top 7 things I’ve learnt whilst working at Top Left Design. I hope it inspires you to keep learning and to never turn down a challenge!

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