Design Assembly, the much lauded graphic-design blog, set up by ex-Apple and now freelance graphic-designer, Matt Judge, drew a line under it’s bountiful output at the end of last year. To celebrate its three prolific and engaging years there is now a book available, which comprises of a compendium of previous posts as well as a collection of new articles written by guest contributors. One of our own music supervisors, Sam Nicholson, was invited to weigh in with an article on the subject of sound branding.
The beginning is published below and the full article is available by following the link at the bottom.
The beautifully presented book is available to buy from the Design Assembly blog.
An Introduction To Sound Branding
What does your brand sound like? This question has become increasingly familiar in the advertising world over the last decade. In recent years the quest for an answer has begun to gain traction but is it really worth all the effort? Do brands actually need another string to their identity?
Every day we encounter maybe a hundred brands. If we’re surfing the Internet or glued to the television then that number could increase dramatically. Each one has been meticulously designed from the ground up in an effort to raise their head above the rest and wave what they hope is a distinctive and relevant hand at the public. The values that define them provide the corner stones for every aspect of this communication. Upon this foundation, a dedicated graphic designer builds a logo and with it comes, among other things, colour and font. The product and its packaging also take shape, whether it be a chocolate bar and its wrapper or a bank teller and the space in which they ply their trade. Tag lines, scripts and press releases are carefully fashioned letter by letter by exalted copywriters in their ivory towers. It goes on and you’re probably familiar with the picture, it’s strategic design to ensure that every time the brand’s face pops out at you it’s not only relevant and distinctive but also consistent.
The problem is, every time they make a sound it’s different and consequently confuses our otherwise steadfast perception. Their visual image is beautifully refined, well kept, approachable but their voice is often unpredictable, incongruous and sometimes utterly unintelligible. The effect this has ranges from the mild surprise and disappointment we all experienced the first time we heard David Beckham’s voice (which frankly is a bit girly) slip from his statuesque features to the perplexing thought of having a certified schizophrenic fronting a new romantic ska/metal wedding band. As a brand with an otherwise unfaltering identity you’d probably be better off keeping quiet.