Behind the Audio Logo: Intel
Welcome to our new Sound Design Series. I’ll be looking at Audio Logo Analysis in our first few blog posts in this series and we’re kicking off with Intel’s sound Identity.
But wait, why does a brand’s sound identity even matter?
“Sound and music can tap into the emotions of an audience. When delivered coherently across all customer touchpoints, a sonic identity can engage and entertain consumers, convey information, help form lifelong positive associations and reinforce brand values.”
- Russ Jones, Sound advice – the importance of sonic branding
It’s no secret that consumer attention is the holy grail of marketing, and a well-designed audio logo can not only compliment a brand’s image, but help deliver on the overall brand message, and help with the ever-valuable, brand recall.
So let’s get back to our analysis with Intel.
Intel’s audio logo is melody driven. It’s simple, but distinctive. Let’s take a closer look. It starts off with the Root Note – in this case, a C and then repeats the root. Next is a melody of: C-F-C-G. So it’s a simple pattern of I-IV-I-V, and ending on the fifth degree of the scale. This gives a nice uplifting feel to the melody. Plus, the melody is also in the C major scale, giving a more positive mood to the whole piece. So all in all very simple, but effective. A classic example of less, is more with sound.
Together with the logo, the melody drives home Intel’s brand. But there’s a lot more going on than the root note and a melody – many elements help brand this sonically in the audio spectrum. Let’s take a closer listen to the production elements.
The melody instrument itself is hard and sharp. You can hear it most clearly in the last four notes. This gives the audio logo weight, impact and power. A combination of layered sounds could also achieve this same effect – for example a synth, mallet and glockenspiel.
Beneath this, under the first note when that root note plays, you hear a swell of a synth pad chord, in a lower register probably somewhere in the 150-250hz region. This pad sound syncs up with the circular text effect around the Intel name. There’s a slow attack on the sound so it sounds like it’s rising, and it reaches the maximum level of the sound as that circle animation finishes. So the attack on the envelope on the synth has probably been opened up as much as it can so that it syncs up with the visual. Or automation could have been used to create this swell in effect.
Now the most important key sync points are those last four notes of the melody. The first note plays as the Intel logo moves back. The second note plays when the Intel logo lands, and then the final two notes sync up with the ‘Leap Ahead’ text slogan.
It also sounds like there’s a modulated filtered sound playing over the same melody line, giving a flanger type-effect to those last four notes. Just adding more complexity to the sound in the end.
And I could also be mistaken, but there is also a slight percussive sound playing as well under those final notes of the melody, helping add to the power and weight of the overall sound. And all this happens in under four seconds!
It always amazes me how much actually goes into a short audio logo sound when you start trying to break down the elements within it.
So try this out for yourself. Find some other audio logos, and start trying to figure out what else is making the audio logo work.
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* This is a link to a version of it I found on YouTube. If the link breaks or the video goes down, please let me know and I’ll update the link to another one, or just search ‘Intel Audio Logo’ in Google. And that’s actually a good tip for searching for other brands on YouTube. Just type the brand name, and then audio logo after that.