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Sonic Branding Experts Break Down the Most Recognizable Sounds in the World

Science By

From the ping of an elevator arriving at a floor to the text message alert bell on your phone, every one of these sounds has been carefully crafted to achieve a desired effect. Sometimes it’s a jingle engineered to burrow into your brain. Other times, it’s a tone simply meant to get your attention. Much like the design of a logo or the wording used in a catchphrase, branding experts are used to sculpt sounds as well.

Sonic branding experts Andrew Stafford and Steve Milton use their intuition to distill a message or feeling into a few notes. For instance, the sound of a Mac computer starting up “feels like a gentle rub on the back,” says Stafford, co-Founder and director at Big Sync Music. But, creating an identity from a sound is easier said than done. It requires an incisive sense of popular culture and how an audience will instinctively react. Wired explores this very notion with Stafford and Milton, Founding Partner at Listen, in the video below.