Several paper-based approaches and software tools have been developed to support Participatory Design (PD) in research and practice. However, a formal comparison of paper and software tool is missing in the PD literature. To address this gap we present an empirical study with 28 Informatics students comparing a paper-based approach with our digital tool PDotCapturer. Results show a slight advantage of paper regarding quantitative results and a significant statistical difference in one of the 18 qualities tested (regarding aesthetics [e.g. symmetrical, creative], usability [e.g. user control and freedom, flexibility and efficiency of use], and relevancy [appropriate or not]): designs created with the tool are more ‘Pleasant’. Subjectively the participants preferred paper for some of the activities and the tool for others. The results of our comparison show that the tool could be used instead of paper to benefit from some tool-advantages over paper (e.g. digital data gathering and analysis support).