Logos that represent sound and movement

Bruce Mau Design has been making waves with its new branding for wireless speaker company Sonos. We look at this and other logos that represent sound and movement.

The new iteration of the Sonos branding features a logo image that, due to a clever use of a moiré pattern, appears to show soundwaves rippling from the logo when the image is moved up and down (you can try it with the image above).

The image is part of an identity system that Bruce Mau has created for Sonos, which the consultancy says “can be mixed and remixed [to] deliver a creative and variable language while still providing the stability of a recognisable system”.

Bruce Mau’s Sonos branding isn’t the first time designers have attempted to represent sound and motion in logo design.

In 2012 consultancy Precedent worked with computational designer Karsten Schmidt to create the new Leeds College of Music identity.

The logo is based on visualisations of soundwaves and can be personalised by staff and students using software created by Schmidt that gives soundwaves a visual presence.

Leeds College of Music principal and managing director Philip Meaden says: “People are able to create their own visual identity through the input of their own sound and the bringing together of the visual aspect with the musical aspect has a potency that would be impossible to achieve with words alone.”

Also using soundwaves as a cue are a series of postcards designed by Studio Output in 2013 to promote BBC Concert Orchestra events at London’s Southbank Centre.

Each of the postcards features a graphic that represents a tiny segment of a soundwave from a particular piece of music that will be performed at the event it promotes.

Studio Output apparently traced the sine waveforms of each of the pieces being performed to create a series of images.

Moving on from sound to movement, when Method rebranded gesture recognition company SoftKinetic in 2012 it aimed to create an identity that “invited gesture and responded to it”.

The identity uses a malleable optical pattern that gives the impression of motion and interaction.


Different patterns are used across different applications and aim to represent the results of movements or gestures.

Also in 2012, consultancy Bear worked with photographer Giles Revell and 3D artist Ben Koppel to create a new identity for British Gymnastics, which aims to represent the movement of gymnasts.

The graphics were created from motion-capture photography and represent actual gymnastic moves.

Bear creative director Roberto D’Andria says: “We looked at a lot of international government bodies [for gymnastics] and they were all trying to work a gymnast’s body into one position”.

A more recent demonstration of motion comes from the Mind and Movement toolkit, created in 2013 by Magpie Studio for choreographer Wayne McGregor.

The Mind and Movement project is based around a typographic solution that Magpie Studio says allows the key principles of McGregor’s methods to be illustrated without suggestive photography of dancers.

The type can be broken down into its constituent parts and rearranged into an infinite number of patterns.

And for an arguably gratuitous but unquestionably joyful example of a moving logo, look no further than the identity created by Bibliothèque for Bangladesh telecoms company Ollo in 2012.

Bibliothèque says: “The Ollo concept is simple – one line of communication connecting communities where online demand sits alongside limited infrastructure.”

The resulting identity can be deconstructed as a squiggle-like graphic and you can even play with it and create your own version here.

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  • Shaughn McGurk November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    For an identity that captures sound with enviable grace and graphic dexterity, you should take a look at the identity for Camerata Lausanne created by Demian Conrad Design. This is a piece of work of striking simplicity and beauty and deserves greater recognition.

    I urge you to take a look at the following blog post:


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