• Nicole
    Lenferna de la Motte
  • Digital Designer

About me

I was lucky enough to start work at a small company in 1998, where a group of wonderful, patient people taught me how to write HTML with MS Frontpage. I was hired for my first web design job because I had no web design experience! Back then, web design followed a rigid grid structure as a result of the HTML tables, and they wanted someone fresh whose brain literally worked outside the box so that we could create websites that looked a bit different from everything else out there.

I have been taking entire website projects from design, through build, to delivery.

In 2014 I was brought in to Blackbaud's Peer to Peer fundraising UK client services team. Initially a tiny team of just a technical consultant and I, we grew from a £0 revenue business to bringing in £1,000,000 in 2018, and adding three more members to our team. At the start of the transition to the new services team, I created new design concepts that helped clients visualise their requirements for their projects, enabling the sales team to then find new opportunities and therefore grow the team significantly over the years.

More recently at Fin-Ex, I am the designer responsible for the visual brand and assets for seven of the eight companies that make up Fin-Ex's portfolio. This means that I do whatever is needed across the various teams - website design, packaging, logo and brand design from scratch for new companies, paper form design.... I love it. There is never a chance to feel bored.

I have always worked in small teams where I have been the only designer, or half the team! This means that I have had every role involved in creating a website from scratch (and a full hat rack):

  • helping to sell the project,
  • consulting directly with the customer,
  • mocking up a design and dealing with questions and design iterations,
  • making decisions about when a design is ready for the customer (ie. the Creative Director hat),
  • building the design in a CMS or from scratch with HTML and CSS,
  • creating new brands, and then refining the ideas for use on- and off-line,
  • testing of the built website and its functionality,
  • post-project support,
  • writing supporting documentation,
  • making a cracking cup of tea.


Everything that I know about designing and building websites has been learnt by doing it.

Multi-tasking? Hell yeah.

zigzag

I have also had to manage myself, and parts of projects where necessary, so I work very closely with the customers:

  • making sure that I have all the answers and assets that I need for a project,
  • contacting people both internally and on the client's side with information and concerns,
  • making sure that internal resources such as Tech are providing the necessary solutions where required,
  • making sure that I meet the project deadlines and manage expectations where necessary,
  • fix anything else that comes up during and after the project delivery,
  • helping the customer with any urgent little fixes/questions/favours that they might have, while in the middle of another project,
  • being firm where necessary to avoid scope creep,
  • being kind to help the customer feel confident about the project and our part in it,
  • explaining design decisions to the company CEO,
  • and I use past experience and lessons learnt to spot potential issues early on, and make recommendations for solutions.

But that's not all...

Add to this, working with other teams in the company:

  • helping the Marketing team to trouble shoot their website issues, proof-read material before it goes out, and providing artwork when they've needed a helping hand,
  • assisting the Sales team with answering customer questions and make sales, provide work estimates and realistic quotes,
  • creating site page mock-ups for the Sales team so that they had imagery and user flows to help with their customer meetings,
  • working through questions and issues with product Consultants,
  • helping the Services team to write air-tight Scopes of Work,
  • working directly alongside Developers to make sure that our solutions look good and work well,
  • working with the Support team to troubleshoot and fix unusual, or design- and build-related issues,
  • mentoring and/or supporting another Designer,
  • working with the company CEO on the company's design vision,
  • and helping to refine internal platforms and software by spotting bugs and making recommendations to the Products team.

Skills

Design skills

  • Adobe Photoshop *****
  • Adobe Illustrator *****
  • Adobe InDesign *****
  • Adobe XD *****
  • Wordpress *****
  • Sketch *****
  • Design workshops with customers
  • Illustration
  • Photography
  • Copywriting and documentation
  • Proof reading
  • UX and IA
  • Wireframing
  • Print

Tech skills

  • HTML5 *****
  • CSS3 *****
  • Flexbox *****
  • Bootstrap *****
  • CSS Grid *****
  • Adobe Dreamweaver - hand coding
  • Understanding of basic JS editing
  • Understanding of basic API integration
  • Flash animation
  • Eight different CMSes owned and developed by Blackbaud
  • Editing Wordpress sites
  • Testing with Browserstack

People experience

I have met so many different people in my career, both as colleagues and customers, that I can find a way to deal with most things that come my way. I have a lot of experience specifically with not-for-profit organisations, and that brings its own set of variables:

  • every size of budget,
  • every level of internal customer experience and resourcing,
  • all sorts of project requirements,
  • internal politics,
  • personality types (sometimes as a result of the type of charity),
  • working with everything from no branding or guidance at all, to comprehensive strict brand guidelines,
  • and designing and building for users with specific accessibility and medical needs.

Work experience

I studied Graphic Design and started working as a web designer at epages (a web company in South Africa) in 1998, and I left the company after six years, as Senior Designer.

I moved to London in 2004 where I was Web Content Manager for the tour operator Fleetway Travel, where I worked extensively with lastminute.com.

In 2007 I joined Blackbaud Europe, which acquired JustGiving in 2017. There, I have worked my way up to Senior Interactive Designer, having worked with eight different software products and CMS systems, hundreds of local and international charities, and even more customers.

I am currently the Senior Digital Designer at Fin-Ex, an investment company in London. I work with several brands such as The Harrington Collection, Nutripharm and Continuum Economics.