When it comes to our logo, we obviously want an end result that is a spot-on fluid match to our company. It is what we do, after all. So before locking myself up in the audio labs, I had some ground work to do. What was the end goal? Who was the audience? What message did I want to convey? What emotional evocation do I want to occur? Are there any particular elements that I want to include/avoid? All good questions, the answers to which provided me with a solid conceptual foundation from which to build.
Visually, this is what I had in mind: The end-goal was to create a soundmark that was high intensity, minimalistic, and impacting. It needed to be a sound that was relative to the public at large, but had an extra depth that caught the attention of media designers. Therefore, it had to be tactile. And not simply a jolt to your senses, but a somatic experience that had a starting and ending point and followed a particular path through the body. The idea to include 'Eiravaein' as a spoken element was kept on the table, but not clear right from the start how it would be incorporated (if it was at all). It was favored however, since at first glance folks may not know how to pronounce 'Eiravaein' (note, like this).
I wanted the listener to feel the initial hit in their chest, have the rumble simmer there for a few hundred milliseconds, then shoot up their spine, around the back of their head, and have an effervescent release.
This logo would be divided into 4 textural and 3 temporal layers: the initial low-end impact, a quick rising low-mid expansion, a burst of chime-like high-end shimmer, and a spoken 'Eiravaein' possibly worked in. As you'll see, right now FL Studio is my creative design tool of choice. Incredibly powerful, incredibly flexible, and seamless in so many ways.
Beginning with that heavy low-end impact, I started down the path of exploring more explosive sounds but they were too dynamic and generally had too long of a natural decay. The initial hit of the sound logo needed to be intense, but more concentrated than an explosion. It needed to be a 'boom' without the sizzle, so the natural progression angled toward kicks, deep clean thuds, and shaped synths. A carved combination of the first two did the trick. A little EQ and a bit of pitch shifting achieved the desired effect. I really wanted that first hit to HIT, squarely and just shy of being startling. The second layer is very temporally close to the initial hit, delayed only by a few hundredths of a second. Several samples of bursts from ramune bottles, clay, and gelatin were used to expand the initial impact out into the stereo image and call in the mids/highs. Offsetting these by just a hair filled the onset of sonic vacuum left by the bass hit, yet they are fairly instantaneous sounds. This allowed for a desired release of the vacuum (negative space) to have it's full semiotic and spatial effect. Oh, and the space is never completely negative. Important point.
In the tail I used a recording I had from a botanical garden in Aarhus, Denmark. It fit well in the mix underneath some harp and guitar dabbling and provided the right amount of spread to allow for the panning automation I had in mind. I wanted a variable speed ping-pong pan that spanned nearly the full extent of the stereo image, changing depth, and avoiding any striking phase issues. This can usually be a problem with convoluted sounds like running water, but luckily that was not the case here. So, I plowed forward with the waterfall as a natural pad. Some interwoven guitar (pair) and harp notes were modulated fairly aggressively on the volume side and left panned around 80% L/R. To add a bit of sparkle (or a potential to shine) on top of the mix, two elements were pitched and spread: a clamoring of bracelets made of several different materials and a very delicate glass chime. The bracelets are more pronounced but the chime filled a small gap in the frequency spectrum, avoiding any high end clutter.
A smattering of automations ensued to control the acoustic envelopes of each sound more accurately and to blend the effects as needed. I used several FL multi-layered delays, convolution reverbs, Melda's FreqShifter, EQ, and Compressor, a single instance of Izotope's Nectar (though not on anything vocal, that was scraped about midway through the design), a few amp simulators on the guitars and harp, and my first production using FL's Effector, which is a killer little plugin. Busy, but not terribly complex. One day I would like to tackle a small audio job like a 'sogo' and restrict myself to just one plugin. I think that would be a very interesting designer challenge!
With the print mix down, I took it into Sound Forge Pro for an extra detailed look and listen. It was spot on. I only added a touch of shine (right under 1 dB) to the top end (around 10kHz and up) using a harmonic exciter. That was all it needed to hit the mark.
A short stint in Blender to bring the logo alive and it was a wrap. To fit the audio, I went with a simply quick fade in of the emblem, a slight blur effect at certain intervals, and a pulsing glow on the guitar notes. Clean and simple, it worked brilliantly. Remember, in the case of our sound logo there was no animated graphic to set a visual precedent (restriction), so ultimately the visual imagery was going to mold itself to the auditory imagery. With the auditory modality of most presentations carrying the majority of the emotional load, this has become a favorite workflow for me. Hence, our forged and polished result.
For best listening, grab a good pair of circumaurals or dial up those studio monitors and play in full-screen:
While this design might change and will probably have multiple versions stem from the core arrangement, I really like how this turned out.
I have also posted the sogo itself in the Freebies section for download if you would so desire.
Cheers, and if you have any questions or comments, feel free!