3 Case Studies on the Business Impact of Design: Pinterest, Gusto, & Slack

Over the past 5 years we’ve invested in over 30 startups and have partnered with dozens of top design teams, from early stage to public companies. There’s a big problem we’ve seen over, and over again that’s holding back our industry: Designers need to understand and communicate how their work impacts the success of their business.

When you’re laser focused on your customers and craft, it’s easy to lose sight of the bottom line. If design isn’t viewed as something that creates value for your company, then you’ll have little influence in making important decisions. Which usually means you won’t get the resources your team needs, like budget and headcount. With fewer resources, you end up stretched thin and reactive—making it very hard to be strategic. Then you end up producing bad design work that perpetuates this negative cycle. Bad design is bad business.


At Designer Fund, we want to help designers break this cycle of bad design by showing you different ways to articulate the business impact of design. We recently hosted design leaders from across Silicon Valley at Gusto’s historic building to share stories and best practices. Check out short case studies from Pinterest, Gusto, and Slack below. Our goal is for you to take-away actionable tactics that you can use to make a better business case for design at your company.

Our first talk featured Kaisha Hom, Product Design Lead at Pinterest. She joined the Pinterest Growth team 3 years ago and has been the design lead for two teams – Acquisition and Activation. Kaisha shared a case study about how her team solved for a mobile web experience that had been untouched for years and wasn’t a good experience compared to other platforms.

Our second talk featured Jenna Carando, Brand Designer and Letterer at Gusto since 2015, where she works on marketing materials and campaigns. Jenna shared a case study about how their design team approached designing their new San Francisco office, with a tight budget and aggressive timeline.

Our last talk featured Jen Long, Product Design Manager at Slack, who leads the enterprise design team. Jen shared a case study about how her team solved for on-boarding challenges with key Fortune 500 customers that have thousands of employees on Slack.

Our presenters showcased ways that design can increase sales & growth, reduce HR & ops costs, and increase company-wide collaboration. We hope these case studies provide more examples of ways to articulate the direct and indirect value of design within your companies.

The reality is that we need thousands more case studies like these to show how design impacts the success of business if we’re going to shift the way that design is perceived in tech. If you’d like to help us open source more case studies, please message bridge@designerfund.com.

Special thanks to our presenters for contributing their time to build these resources and to Gusto for hosting us!