Highlighting the work and the people of in-house design, communication, and brand teams from companies around the world.





San Francisco, CA

Gusto is a modern, integrated HR system that provides payroll, benefits, hiring, and team tools to more than 200,000 growing businesses across the US.

Company size




In-house team Est. 2018

Brand Studio


At Gusto, Brand Studio is responsible for creating and maintaining a category-defining HR brand that celebrates the people at the heart of modern businesses — from business owners and HR professionals to hardworking employees and modern accountants.


Team Members (10)

(AS OF PUB. DATE: Apr/18/2022)

Alex Towne


Amanda Ortiz


Dan Reid

Design Director

Ellen Ennes

Lead Copywriter

Joseph Barrientos


Melanie Picardo

Brand Designer

Micah Panama

Creative Director

Michelle Leen

Creative Producer

Ojai Mitchell

Brand Design Lead

Peter Herbert Barnaba

Brand Designer

On working in-house…


Mission fit: We all specifically choose Gusto. We’re incredibly passionate about supporting businesses and inspired by the mission to create a world where work empowers a better life. Measurement: We’re involved with the performance of our work even after it’s shipped. It’s empowering to be able to iterate quickly and back up our ideas with real data and impact. Knowledge depth: Our team has seriously deep product knowledge because of our focused approach and cross-org collaboration. It positions us as strategists and improves our work. Teamship: There’s no team-vs-client tension when you’re in-house. Marketing partners, product experts, and brand creatives are equally invested in creating the best work possible.



Avoiding burnout: We’re organized by customer segments so while being able to focus is nice, we do have to be thoughtful about rotating designers and writers to provide ourselves with new challenges. Need a change after launching a big accountant event? You should be able to dive into something new, like our employee app instead. Keeping it weird: In-house, the pipeline of projects rarely lets up. It’s easy to go into creative auto-pilot in favor of shipping things fast. That’s why it’s important for us to say “no” sometimes. We need to be intentional about making space for fresh, weird, original ideas.

On working with…


We occasionally pull in freelancers to collaborate on things like motion graphics, or we’ll work with a muralist for an office wall project. Other times, we might partner with an agency to bring a large-scale video project to life or hire a writer to help us during our busiest season. Between the big tasks and the smaller ones, we’ll probably tap our network of smart creatives at least once or twice a month.



Our brand guidelines keep us honest and consistent while giving us a platform on which to build and grow. (In fact, we’re currently revisiting the way we show up for our growing customer segments.) Our guidelines also help provide the entire company with the vocabulary they need to talk and ask questions about the brand. Because, at the end of the day, everyone here is responsible for creating and representing Gusto. Not just us. A good set of brand guidelines has to have the perfect mix of inspirational moments and functional tools. You need bold headlines and visuals that get employees excited about what our brand represents. But you also need quick, clear instructions. And it doesn’t hurt to have a library of approved assets that allow partners to self-serve. Possibly the most important thing is figuring out a good digital home for your guidelines so you can update them easily and in real-time. A perfect tool may not exist, but we’re pretty happy with Brand Folder right now.

Gusto Wallet
Gusto Wallet
Gusto Wallet
Gusto Wallet
Gusto Wallet2020
Payday Emails
Happy Payday Emails2021
Quarterly Scoop
Quarterly Scoop
Quarterly Scoop2022
Brand refresh
Brand refresh
Brand refresh
Brand refresh
Brand refresh
Brand refresh
Brand refresh
Brand refresh2019
Gusto Next
Gusto Next
Gusto Next2021

Brand Campaign
Brand Campaign
Brand Campaign2019

Great for Remote Page2021
People advisory certification swag
People advisory certification swag2020
Denver mural
Denver mural2021


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