An (un)common problem.

A platform bringing advanced messaging to billions of feature phones and smartphones in emerging markets around the world.

Making Saya

For your friends.
And not yet friends.

After meeting the team at Disrupt I agreed to join as an advisor. Saya is different from most of the messaging applications currently attracting the eyes of the press. They have expertise in low-end devices, enabling advanced functionality such as Facebook chat, group discussions, location-based chat, and exchange of multi-media.

Saya Feature Phone Screenshot

However, with feature phone users switching to smartphones, Saya needed to be reimagined for a multi-device world. Less than a year after joining as an advisor I was responsible as Head of Design for the next generation of Saya, the move into the smartphone market.

Cross platform design is hard, and initial attempts Saya made in the market were not received with the joy they were seeing in the low-end devices so I was asked to help. Consumers want features that take advantage of the device, but maintain simplicity and purpose. The best experiences build for each operating system by recycling patterns to keep the cognitive load low. So core features were adapted while maintaining backwards compatibility and new features were developed to take advantage of the power in a smartphone.

Saya Messages Icon


Design all the things.

No feature was designed in a vacuum. While things may have a familiar look, they deliver much more value to the user than their usual counterparts. The design is beyond visual, diving deep into usability and extension of common objects.

Messages Feature

For your friends.

Communicate, capture and share. Attach almost anything from the expected photo to the unexpected sound, location or drawing. Do it one-on-one, do it as a group, do it on Saya! SMS is old skool.

Saya App Icon
Messaging with a twist.

Moments Feature

To be remembered.

We don't think the moments of your life should be hard to save, or find, or share. On Saya we make it easy to capture them when you get them, find them when you you want them and share them over and over again. Saya is the modern day shoebox for your life.

Saya Moments
Words Wireframe
Saya Moments
Photos Wireframe
Saya Moments
Sounds Wireframe
Saya Moments
Locations Wireframe

Discover Feature

For your not yet friends.

What, when, who and where? With Saya you'll never need a review site again. Discover what's hot, when and where it's hot, and who to meet when you get there. This week doesn't need to be like last week. You may even discover a few new friends or the love of your life.

Saya App Icon
Conversations in public or private...

Friends Feature

For those that matter.

A place for your true friends. For those you hang out with. For those you communicate with. For those who matter. Saya will remind you when you haven't talked, when a friend has a birthday, when a friend has a new relationship and lots more. We'll help you keep up with what's important when it's important!

Saya Friends


Beauty is more than skin deep.

Design started immediately after iOS 7 was announced at WWDC. Everything was created from scratch as components to accommodate changes from each beta release.

For the heart and soul.

Warm colors of the sun influenced the pinks, oranges and yellows chosen to represent the new Saya.

Accent 01
Accent 02

Personal yet familiar iconography was created to represent new and old features. Each set was uniquely adapted to its native platform.

Saya Tab Bar Icon


Saya Tab Bar Icon
Saya Tab Bar Icon


Saya Tab Bar Icon
Saya Tab Bar Icon


Saya Tab Bar Icon
Saya Tab Bar Icon


Saya Tab Bar Icon

These colors and the new iconography will eventually be incorporated into the low-end devices.

Hello, goodbye. Hello, Saya.

It is time to say goodbye to drop shadows, strong gradients, strokes and the colors green and blue of the original identity.

Saya App Icon

The new identity draws inspiration from the old but is designed to live as an app. The design evolved with the wireframes and other iconography, taking far more than a weekend.

Saya App Icon

Say hello to the new Saya. Now positioned to capture the next billion users as they move messaging from low-end devices to smartphones while never losing a friend in the process. ∎