In this edition of #FintechProductDiaries, we spoke to Meylin Bayryamali, Design Lead at Wise — the UK-based leading money transfer fintech unicorn. Meylin joined Wise in 2019 after a decade in motion and product design working across various industries with global brands like Loreal, BAFTA, Lacoste, Boden, The Economist, and Clarks. Formerly known as Transferwise, the company debuted on the London Stock Exchange in 2021 and currently has over 16 million active customers moving over £25 billion each quarter.
Recently, Wise went through a complete rebranding and introduced a fresh new look and feel to its brand and platform. The changes included a vibrant green palette, a bold new font with an “unashamedly” direct tone of voice, and a refreshed logo which intends to make the customer experience consistent and relevant for anyone, anywhere, and in any language. Meylin described the process as “an evolution in our brand to reflect the direction we are taking as a company. The new brand is designed to reflect where we’re going — everywhere.”
To learn more about Wise’s recent brand makeover, Meylin’s career journey so far and what she believes will be the key to creating a successful fintech product in 2023, read her complete interview below.
I was lucky enough to identify early on in my career what I wanted out of a job, so I pursued opportunities that always aligned with my interests and values. I studied motion design at university and wanted to work in a fast-paced creative environment — tech made sense. Early on in my career I worked at an agency with diverse clients and industries, from luxury branding to restaurants.
Later on, I moved to a small startup — Peak brain training, where I worked with neuroscientists to develop games to fight Alzheimer’s and Dementia. This was an incredibly rewarding and challenging experience.
But moving into a product design role at Wise was the natural fit for me. Everyone uses money, so it was a way to have the highest impact on such an important topic. My background as an expat moving to the UK also played a critical role, as I strongly resonated with the mission of the company. It’s exciting to be part of a company that I’ve admired as a user, and can now contribute to its growth and success.
A lot of design leadership roles in the industry stay away from hands-on work. Leads at Wise are different, they lead through the work and stay close to the pixels. Leads split their work between design management and IC work.
I joined Wise as a Senior designer and worked my way up to Design lead. I’ve been with the company for almost 4 years. I love designing and always feared that stepping into a leadership role will take away the creative part of design for me. I still spend a lot of time hands-on, and so does my lead. One day we discuss team management strategies and the next day we could be reviewing interaction work together. At Wise, we believe that by staying involved in the design process, you can lead by example.
I also learned to coach and mentor designers to help them grow in their roles and have the highest quality work. The teams I manage have full autonomy and decision making-authority, so my role is also focused on providing them with the right tools and information to be able to make the best decisions.
If you follow the creative news, Wise just went through a big rebrand. We are green. An exciting evolution of our brand that speaks to everyone, everywhere. This was a shift to reflect the new direction we are taking as a company.
Our priority was supporting this work, but alongside that my team led the redesign of the homepage in the internal apps. Our goal was to showcase the full suite of features that the Wise Account offers. This work provided a clear and concise overview of the features and benefits that Wise can help them with. This was a design driven project with the goal to make it easier for users to understand and use our product. In today’s fast-paced world, people want products that are easy to use and can help them save time and money. This is where design played a critical role — and we’ve seen overwhelming positive feedback from our customers since global launch recently!
As the Wise Account continues to evolve, it will be important for the design team to stay involved and keep pace with the changing needs of international users.
Personally, I am super excited for what’s coming next. We are looking forward to making our homepage more dynamic and personalised to our unique customers. Not everyone spends money the same way, so why see the same thing? By tailoring the homepage to the unique needs and spending habits of each user we can help to ensure that they are getting the most out of Wise, and be able to easily find features relevant to them. We want to offer more transparency on using the Wise account, show a better overview of your money and help you save and grow your international wealth. We will make it even easier to access your most used shortcuts, and create dynamic content that knows exactly what you need, when you open the product. Lot’s of big projects on the roadmap. Happy to be working alongside some of the most talented designers in the industry to deliver this work in 2023.
It is both challenging and rewarding to deliver simple, easy to use experiences, when regulators are breathing down your neck. Some of the challenges we have to overcome are the ancient mental models that old banking institutions have created, while also staying compliant with each region. It’s an exciting space as designers at Wise we always aim to deliver products that meet the needs of users while also pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. Each region has its own unique financial practices and cultural norms that influence consumer behaviour, which we take into consideration when designing.
When you operate at a global scale, you have to be comfortable with ambiguity. You have to maintain a balance of adaptability, creativity, and confidence to navigate the unknown and create something new and innovative. It requires a willingness to take risks, experiment, and iterate until you find a solution that works. It is both freeing and scary at the same time, but never boring.
Aim for simplicity. Money is a complex topic, and international money can be even more daunting due to various regulations and restrictions imposed by different countries. Traditional banking institutions have developed complex structures and processes that can be difficult for users to navigate. User-friendly interfaces and intuitive design can make it easier for users to understand and manage their finances. Companies should prioritize simplifying their products and services to make them more accessible and solve for a broader audience.
Execution is everything. Value progress over process and learn as you go. Fintech is a fast-paced industry that requires agility and flexibility. It’s important to be willing to experiment and iterate quickly. Don’t get too caught up in the pursuit of perfection. By focusing on the core problem and delivering a simple, easy-to-use solution, you can create products that users love.
With special credits to the Wise design team, in particular: Cameron Worboys, Mike Marter, Simon Le Roux, Wise design systems team and Ragged edge. Checkout: https://www.wise.design/ to learn more about Wise’s ways of working and their current vacancies.
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