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Designers on a Mission

Here to save you from bad UX

We strive to make people’s lives easier by designing satisfying interactions that help bridge the human/computer divide.

How we got the name

Why we called ourselves ‘Pencil and Paper’

We start with these basic materials to build elegant & rich designs…using Pencil & Paper sets the scene for design especially well.

Capturing Complexity

Drawing lets us understand and communicate complexity.

High Tech / Low Tech

High tech solutions can be borne from very basic materials.

Creating Possibility

With Pencil and Paper, the opportunities are boundless. The only limit is the space on your page.

Iterate Rapidly

When you can erase your ideas just as easily as create them, you don’t marry yourself to ideas you’re too invested in.

Meet our Founder

Ceara Crawshaw, CEO

Ceara was introduced to UX design through science communications and grew her skillset in the biotech enterprise software space originally. Her love of biology and living systems comes through in her design work as well as her artwork.

After Ceara earned a biology degree in Victoria then relocated to London, UK to launch her career in science communications. It was through that work that she was introduced to user experience design, and immediately reoriented to establish herself in the design field.

She became established in UX Design on an agile product team, from there she struck out on her own, working on a wide variety of domains and contexts. Now she’s the founder of Pencil & Paper in the beautiful technology hub, Victoria, BC.

What makes us Special?

How we stand out from the crowd.

We are not all things to all people – this is what makes us great at what we do.
We’re specialists in two ways:

1. We only do user experience design (not web development, SEO, marketing) – this perspective allows us to be more focused and simply better at our craft than if we were trying to do everything at the same time.

Instead, we have a select few companies we recommend to our clients who work in SEO, branding, web development and app development.

2. Sticking to our areas of focus – we’ve honed in on areas that we are good at, interested in and that we are positioned to succeed in. That’s why we’ve defined our areas of focus as: Enterprise Software, Employee UX, FinTech, BioTech, & Startups.

We love complexity and manage it exceedingly well – whether it’s software complexity, domain complexity or user-related complexity (ex. making behaviour changes).

We’re up to the challenge of understanding scenarios, software architecture, company culture, domain information and basically all of the details so that we can figure out where the opportunities for simplification and communication lie in an experience. You know those things that you’ve gone over and over a million times internally and you don’t seem to get anywhere? That’s where we shine.

We love collaboration. There’s a status quo in the design consultancy space where designers distance themselves from their clients. We don’t believe in that, we believe that there’s a meaningful mixture of collaboration internally (you and us) and externally (with end users) that creates what we call ‘design magic’ – where we find that perfect balance of user-centred and business centred design solutions.

Hybrid Business Model

Our grand plan

We’re building this company intentionally to hybridize our business model, having both client work and a subscription product. In this way we’re able to create real value in our company and avoid the typical ‘agency madness’ that is caused by having solely project-based business model. (more details to come)

I recommend them highly to any fintech or startup looking for user focused design and would use their services again without hesitation.

Daniel BartonCo-founder, COO of Billi Labs

“What I view as one of their biggest strengths is their ability to grasp complex process flows and anticipate how it would affect each stakeholder so that we never lose sight of the bigger picture.”

Alex LeducCEO of Perch

Their deep knowledge of user experience design and best practices was evident in every stage of the project, they had a clear design rationale and their attention to detail ensured that every aspect of the UI was carefully considered and refined.

Lee NobleCEO of Goodpaw

The learning program gave our team a shared vocabulary and framework from which to approach our designs. For some in the team who came to design from other disciplines, this helped build a foundation in design fundamentals as well as diving into more advanced complicated design patterns.

Julie BaherVice President of Design & UX at Myriad Genetics

Collaborating with Pencil & Paper was instrumental as we shifted our product culture towards greater user-centricity. Their expertise in B2B software kickstarted this journey for us, and we can visibly see how their guidance shaped our current UX practices.

Nakisa product team(Nakisa HR Suite)