Shawn Cole is a designer, researcher and strategist who has worked with some of the biggest brands in the world to identify salient opportunities, build defensible strategies, and create beautiful, human-centred solutions. His work spans consumer tech, automotive, business design, AI and crypto, as well as past experience in retail, social, and finance.

Shawn is a co-founder and principal at Humanistic.

an image of shawn looking off camera to the right with messy hair and a plant in the background



Project Dashboard

In Progress

I'm constantly working on personal projects that never see the light of day. So, this is a dashboard of the things I have on the go, and have yet to start. Check out Building out in the open

What's this?

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I'm constantly working on personal projects that never see the light of day. That's going to change. This is a dashboard of the things I have on the go, and have yet to start. When completed, they'll move to the work & ideas section of the site.

Check out Building out in the open


Shawn aims to create a future worth living in by leveraging empathetic research, curious exploration, and meaningful execution to build things that are good for people.

Personally, he keeps things quite private; building a fun and fulfilling future as a husband, with a mixture of creativity, adventure, and personal growth.

Places to find Shawn

LinkedInTwitterSentient Spaces
A black and white picture of Shawn wearing glasses, sitting on a backward wooden chair with his tattooed arm over the backrest

Humanistic provides strategic consulting services for companies who need an answer to the human questions at the root of their toughest challenges. As a founder, I employ a set of carefully crafted methods that allow us to bring incredible value to Boards, Senior Executives, Innovation Teams, R&D Labs, VCs, and Institutional Investors.

I also mentor our design & research team to discover and create amazing future growth opportunities for our partners through strategy, research, design, and enablement service offerings.

Check out



Shawn was an early employee at Helpful (acquired by Shopify) and led the product design efforts in user research (recruitment, interviews & testing), ideation sessions, concept and prototype development, production design (screens, design systems & agile dev) and product performance measurement.

Further reading

Case Study
A phone with the Helpful video chat app on a white table next to some AirPods out of their case, a succulent plant in the top left corner, and an iced coffee on a cork mat to the right.

Kinetic Café

Shawn was a senior product designer and manager at Kinetic Café. His role was conceptualizing and creating next-gen retail customer products and experiences for ALDO. Shawn managed client-side and agency-side teams to push for novel digital and physical retail experiences.

A man interacts with a large screen digital interface in a shoe store.

Xtreme Labs / Pivotal Labs

He is also an Xtreme/Pivotal Labs alum, where he executed UI/UX design for massive sports brands, ecommerce, insurance and banking clients. This work included creating and testing smartphone apps, websites, and internal software.

Shawn spent a great deal of time between LA, NY, SF, and Toronto building apps and SAAS tools for investment and banking clients, major retailers, and social media companies.

A tablet and phone on a wood table showing the Frank & Oak app. There is a coffee in the top left corner, a notebook and pencil above, and an open book to the right.

Long ago…

Shawn started his career after graphic design school just as the 2008 global financial crisis began. Great timing. By the time he got rolling in the industry, it was already shrinking — so he went back to school for computer animation.

From there Shawn worked as a technical director at Pipeline Studios on a handful of animated kids shows produced in Toronto/Oakville.


Computer Animation,
Sheridan College, Oakville
Graduate Certificate, High Honours, 2010

Graphic Design,
St. Lawrence College, Kingston
Advanced Diploma, 2007


TCPS 2: Core-2022

Research Ethics Course

Field Research Masterclass

Studio D, 2020

Futures Design, Certificate

Bespoke Copenhagen, 2020


Have something to ask? Need some advisement? Just wanna chat? Hit me up and I'll get back shortly, or schedule a call

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