Matt Griffin

Senior UX Manager in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Right now I’m leading UX for the Shop Pay teams at Shopify in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. What else?

From 2008–2017, I poured my heart and soul into Bearded, a design and UX agency that I started in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We created award-winning design work that I’m still proud of. In 2014 we were a finalist for the coveted Net Magazine Agency of the Year award. When we started Bearded, we were two schmucks in a leaky room next to what could only be described as a “murder bathroom.” By the end, we were a world-renowned boutique agency who – along with our other Pittsburgh friends Brad Frost, Val Head, and Jay Fanelli – put our mid-sized Rust Belt city on the web design map. I’m unspeakably proud of that. Bearded is where I had a chance to really develop as both a designer and a business owner. For nearly a decade it was everything I ever wanted in a career.

I’ve given keynote talks at design conferences across the US, in Brazil, and in Australia. I’ve published 15 articles for the venerable web design outlet A List Apart, where I had my own column called Matt Griffin on How We Work.

I’ve played music most of my life. Just after my first attempt at university, one of the bands I played drums in at the time got kind of famous in Japan. It was the year 2000 and I was only 22 years old, so it felt both completely insane and totally expected. Later I played drums on this record and this record. I still play music every day, but I’ve moved back to my first instrument, the guitar.

I’m also a letterpress printer, and I have a wood type shop in Ottawa in a shared space with my amazing and bewildering wife, the artist Elizabeth Raymer Griffin. Years ago with my friend Matt Braun I did a project called Wood Type Revival where we sought out old wood type and digitized the fonts. It was loads of work (digital font kerning tables, good lord) and equally fun.

One of the times that I got bored with everything, I decided to make a feature length documentary about the web in my spare time. In the post-premier panel discussion Jeffrey Zeldman thanked me for giving the film to the world and got kind of emotional and it felt like your dad finally telling you he loves you at the batting cages (or whatever) and getting choked up, but then coughing into his armpit and never speaking of it again.

In 2017 I decided to move with my family to Ottawa to join Shopify, where I continue to find new ways to make the impossibly difficult job of entrepreneurship just a little bit little easier.

  • Work
    • Shopify
  • Education
    • Indiana University Bloomington
Bearded’s process is open, honest, very focused on results – and at the same time flexible enough to meet changing needs. We couldn't be more pleased that we achieved a modern stage for our content with a vastly improved user experience for our members, and managed to stay within budget.
Jane Voros, Director of Publication Services American Economic Association
Bearded not only solved our design challenges, they have changed the way we work and the way we approach problems.
Toby Basalla, Director of Product Development OnHand Schools
What makes Bearded different is the directness and openness, and commitment to the process. This was truly a collaboration that led us to a more comprehensive understanding of how the site works, and how to continue to make it better as we go.
Toby Greenwalt, Director of Digital Strategy Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh