The symbol he chose for his new party was a horse, surrounded by stars - representing the 14 regions of the country and the one for the Senegalese diaspora.
"These stars are associated with an animal, faithful among the faithful companions of man... [a] tireless worker. Pet of the peasant, the pastor and the ordinary citizen, the horse stands for strength," a speech posted on his party website says.
And indeed Mr Sall campaigned tirelessly since branching out on his own - travelling to the US and France, the former colonial power, to seek support for his candidacy from potential investors.
This is in stark contrast to Mr Wade who during his 12 years in power has sought to lessen Senegal's dependency on France.
The BBC's Mamadou Moussa Ba in Dakar says Mr Sall is seen by some as too serious, and his campaign managers often urged him to smile more.
The APR-Yakaar leader admitted to BBC Afrique that he has had little time for hobbies or for spending socialising with friends and his wife and three children since 2008.
"I am too busy with politics - fighting for the Senegalese to get that man out," he said, referring to Mr Wade - whose nickname is "The Hare", an animal known in traditional Senegalese folklore for its cunning.
Mr Sall, who took 27% of the vote in the first round, is part of the 23 June Movement (M23) which organised mass protests against Mr Wade's bid for a third term in office.
The constitution, adopted in 2001, sets a limit of two presidential terms, but Mr Wade said it did not apply to his first mandate as it came into effect after he was first elected.
The outgoing president faced 13 rivals in the first round and took 35% of the ballots.
'Horse vs hare'
While some see Mr Sall as a new generation of political leader, critics say his supporters fail to see that he is really the creation of Mr Wade.