Creative Lead / Photoshoot Art Direction / UI Design & Animation / Product Design / App Branded Elements


Say 👋 to Wealthsimple Cash. A simpler, better way to settle up, pay it forward and send cash instantly. It is like Venmo for Canada, except way better, and much more fun.

The Challenge

Due to the pandemic, we had to pivot the product roadmap of Wealthsimple Cash on its head and prioritize making it into a peer-to-peer payments app. Canada does not have Venmo, and the goal of Wealthsimple Cash is to become the go-to P2P payments app — but do it in a way that's much more fun, delighting and energetic than Venmo.

Two design directions

From the very beginning, it was just me and the main Product Designer, pairing on this. While the other Product Designer was responsible for the underlying UX and the key flows, my job was to come up with the visual direction, UI, and more advanced prototyping — and to come up with new branded elements and playful interactions in the app.

Once my product design partner had landed on a good place in terms of the main UX and main flows, we started pairing very closely create different visual ideas and visual UI directions for the new app. The two main directions we landed on were:
1. Animated gradient based direction and
2. Flat but colorful direction.
The core team for this, in addition to me and the product designer, was the Cash Product Manager, and then our Head of Product, and our Co-founder who's also the CPO and head of brand. So it was a tight team of five of us working in really close collaboration, with me and my design colleague presenting to the head of product and the co-founder weekly.

Direction 1

The conceptual foundation for Direction One was based on the Canadian banknotes that are quite colorful. Conceptually, this direction mashes those banknotes into this living gradient that represents different sums of money.
The Send interaction also uses gradients. The idea here is that the colors would correspond to the banknote colors — for example, if you sent 15 dollars, the colors would be a combination of 5 dollar and 10 dollar bill colors. Which was potentially interesting.

Direction 2

On the other hand, the second direction, instead of gradients, this direction leaned on colorful flat backgrounds, that were ubiquitous in the Wealthsimple brand at the time. Part of this direction was a flow where, as you upload your profile pic, it automatically removes the background from your photo, and let's you choose a signature background color — or let's you choose a color without uploading a pic.

Creating the visuals and the launch campaign

Once we had the beta version of the app ready, we started working on a broader brand and launch plan for it. The challenge we issues ourselves was the following: Make Wealthsimple Cash brand more youthful, colorful, and energetic than past brand work to reach a younger audience ...while still feeling unmistakably Wealthsimple.

To keep our work on track, we defined ourselves Three Cash Commandments: 1. Keep people front and center. People, not numbers, are very intentionally in the forefront in the app. We wanted to keep it that way for brand as well. 2. Make it simple yet energetic — we wanted to create something that feels fun, energetic, young, social, and has a sense of humour. 3. Show real life money excanges. It's a new product so we wanted to show the use cases in a fun way.

Launch creative visuals connect directly with the app UI

The main creative concept is really quite simple. We decided to really double down on keeping people in the front and center. The avatars play a big role in the app — we wanted to quite literally expand them and show the real life people and scenarios behind those avatars.
We decided to really run with this idea and create a whole series of fun scenarios like this, where we go from the app UI avatar into a full, boomerang-style, stylized scenario playing out — all the while keeping the avatar background colors solid to really connect it all to the existing Wealthsimple brand.

To bring our ideas to life, we did a photoshoot, capturing nine different spending scenarios including Drinks, Cab ride, Socially distanced takeout, a Haircut and others. We also captured a lot of portraits and closeups that we will use across our marketing. One of the aspects we really wanted to focus on with the shoot was diversity and representation. Here are a few snapshots of the scenarios we shot — there's more to come.

Once we had our assets and art direction somewhat set, we worked with our production partner to make a a lot of short ads. A lot of them. In different shapes, sizes and aspect ratios. We also created a toolkit so we can easily expand on these and create more.

We also completely revamped the Cash product page on, complete with some fun easter eggs.

Last but not least, we created an Apple-style launch hero video to both explain and hype up the product.