BYU industrial design alumnus wins Crunchies award for 'Pencil'

For the second consecutive year, an app created by a BYU industrial designer has won a prestigious tech design award.  Alumnus Jon Harris and the company he co-founded, FiftyThree, Inc., recently won a Crunchies award for best design for their innovative stylus “Pencil” that works hand in hand with their iPad app “Paper.”

Harris graduated from BYU with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Industrial Design in 2000 and went on to help craft leading brands at HP, Zune, Xbox and Pioneer Studios.  In 2011, he co-founded FiftyThree, a company that brings together the craft of software, hardware and service design to to develop tools for mobile creation.  This includes the award-winning Paper app and now Pencil. 

There are several drawing apps on the market, but Paper has been called unique because of its simplistic design and ease of use. According to customer reviews it "remains the gold standard” in apps.

While touch screen styluses are fairly prevalent, Pencil has proven among users to be very intuitive.  According to Wired magazine, “It’s the rare iPad stylus you can actually use like a pencil. It’s just as easy to operate as the instrument it’s named after. That’s no small feat."

At the 7th Annual Crunchies award ceremony, hosted by TechCrunch in San Francisco,  awards were distributed based on the best performances among technology companies in 2013. Sponsored by Yahoo, the awards represent an internet and technology competition where no companies are restricted from consideration. Thousands of companies are nominated within 20 different categories, five nominees are selected from a popular vote and then the voting starts over for the winner of the top five.

The prestigious recognition received by Crunchies award winners is coveted among technology companies internationally. The runner up to Pencil for best design was Yahoo Weather in 2014 and Square in 2013.

The Crunchies design award is just one of several that FiftyThree, Inc. has received along with “iPad App of the Year” from Apple and the “Gold IDEA” award from the Industrial Designers Society of America. In addition to all the awards, they have been featured in numerous national publications such as WIRED, InStyle, Mashable, Fast Company and more.


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