Client : KQED
KQED TV / Radio Audio Branding
At the beginning of the year KQED came to us to create a unique sonic id to be used for radio and television broadcast. Considering that KQED is currently the most listened to public radio station in the US reaching millions of people on a daily basis; it was important for us to create a sonic signature that is recognizable while also being unique in the competitive space alongside other networks and digital media providers.
We started the project by hosting a discovery workshop where we talked about the core brand pillars of KQED and how we wanted to communicate them through sound and music. During that time, we also identified other content providers, distributors and networks that make up the crowded competitive landscape and began to study these to ensure that we design in a style that allows KQED to have it’s own voice in order to build their brand equity.
From the audit and discovery we learned that we wanted to focus on 3 primary design concepts would that support the KQED brand evolution and story.
First, it was important to create something accessible to KQED’s large and diverse listener base. To do this we used pure tones, also known as sine waves to express the primary melody. We also expressed the concept of accessibility by using simple, major scales and chords that are easily digestible to the average person.
Second, we wanted to create something that gives the listener the feeling that they are discovering something new and valuable that in turn makes them a more knowledgable and engaged person. KQED is all about new, innovative ways of telling stories that empower people so the sonic id needed to be fresh and inspiring. To accomplish this, we utilized more modern instrumentation and production techniques and also placed more emphasis on the texture and feel of the id rather than the traditional hummable jingle or melody.
And Lastly we wanted to support the component that is most dear to KQED which is the QED within their call letters that is derived from the Latin QED meaning thus it is proven. This concept is at the core of KQED and speaks to their integrity in delivering trusted, objective content. For this we wanted to create the feeling of a question and answer format. To accomplish this, we started the melody with a single pure tone that delays into a swell as if a person is asking a question and is followed by an affirmative 2 note positive resolution that is also grounded with a lower pitch impact and supported by brighter instrumentation.
Client : Tesla
Audio Branding, Audio UX for Model S, X and 3
We recently had the opportunity to partner with Tesla in designing the in car audio ux for the Model 3 as well as designing the engine tone for Model S, X and 3 for the Taiwan market.
We are currently under a confidentiality agreement for these projects. Please reach out directly for more info.
Client : Uber
Product : Drivers App
We've had the chance to work with the designers and engineers at Uber over the last few years on building out the sound palette for the alerts and notifications in their drivers app. For this project, we were tasked with learning about and understanding the Uber brand while also understanding and finding a creative solution to make these tones audible in very loud environments. Uber is seen as a premium, sleek brand so we wanted to reinforce this with our sound design. The tonal palette we shaped has a very clean, minimal feel that almost shimmers and glows. We also used some delay and flutter in design which reinforces the concept of motion and speed which is at the heart of the Uber drivers mission.
Brand distinction is very important in this context as some drivers drive for multiple carriers, but even more important is making sure that they are able to hear the tones and understand them in chaotic environments. The overall direction and feel was guided by both brand concepts and functionality knowing what would work on phone speakers in environments that can exceed 90dB at times. After agreeing on the overall design direction, we optimized and tested these in some of the loudest areas in San Francisco and refined them until they were most effective.
Here's a case study that Uber put together detailing the entire redesign:
Client : Hello
Product : Sense
We worked closely with the engineers and designers at Hello over the last few years to create their full product sound experience including custom alarms, sleep tones, notifications and UI for their smart sleep tracker Sense. Some of the key brand components that we wanted to support in this experience were beauty, simplicity and sophistication through the use of custom sound design and musical compositions for their alarms, sleep tones and product ui. We worked hard to ensure that we stepped out of the more traditional alarms, notifications and ui that you hear typically in products today by focussing on more composed and layered soundscapes and musical compositions that people could look forward to waking and falling asleep to.
Most alarms, ringtones and notifications in products today are extremely short loops that don't develop or grow over time. We saw this as an opportunity to create an experience that is more dynamic and more distinct and ownable. Some of the alarms develop over a period of 1 minute and then loop so there's more time to layer elements gradually over time so as not to annoy users, but gradually wake them - a softer approach.
For the alarms and sleep tones we worked with instruments and timbre's that are softer and more atmospheric, while compositionally we experimented with ideas that evolve more gradually so as not to shock and startle the people sleeping. The goal was to softly sing them out of bed. We felt that this was such a great opportunity because your alarm is the first thing you hear in your day. It literally sets the tone for your day or week so we took this very seriously and created a highly unique sound experience that is cohesive across the entire sound set and cohesive to the Hello brand vision.
"The team at Hello worked with Connor on the sound identity for Sense. Connor took on the challenge of creating a diverse set of audio assets for Sense, and ended up creating a cohesive and recognizable sound aesthetic for the product that we extended across multiple features, powering some of the most-loved experiences with the product. Connor has great instincts for sound, and excels at honing in on the client's vision, even when working with non-experts. Connor also did a great job handling some difficult technical constraints on both the hardware and software side, so we were confident about how his compositions would perform in the real world. I'd jump at the chance to work with him again!"
- Kevin Twohy, Director of Product at Hello
Client : Amazon
A few years ago we had the opportunity to collaborate with Amazon in crafting and directing the sound experience for their release of the Amazon Firephone. The goal was to create something that was linked to the Amazon DNA and memorable, but also something that really complemented this particular experience aesthetically as well as contextually.
We studied the Amazon brand from the bottom up and also researched other key players in the competitive space in order to build a distinct sound suite that Amazon is not only able to use for the Fire Phone, but for other products in their product line. We wanted the sound suite for the Fire Phone to be highly tailored, but also very simple, understandable and context appropriate.
One of the main features of this device is the use of 3D, or Dynamic Perspective as Amazon calls it. This feature pushed us toward one of our main design tenets which was creating an audio experience that utilizes dynamics and depth. This use of dynamics and depth not only plays off of the visual experience, but it also provided an opportunity to reinvent alarms and ringtones as we know them from many other brands.
We explored many different techniques to create pleasant ringtones and alarms that get peoples attention without being annoying or jarring and some of our favorite examples are the more spatial and slowly developing ideas that really utilize the stereo imaging of the phone and also complement the more sophisticated design of the product.
For the Notifications and UI we followed the same tenets of creating a highly branded experience that utilizes simplicity, dynamics and depth while prioritizing the context of interactions and highlighting the more colorful moments. Overall we shipped 25 ringtones, 15 alarms and 20 unique notifications and UI to go with product.
Client : Vudu
Project : Vudu Sonic ID
The creative directors at Vudu reached out to us to create a cinematic sound design experience complementing their trailer that they showcase in Walmart stores as well as at the beginning of their streaming service. This effort was done in tandem with their rebrand which was focussed on creating a more sleek and premium experience for their users.
We began our process with a strategic audit researching their competitors use of sound for branding and found a space where Vudu could stand out. After establishing our point of view for this experience, we began crafting both long form and short form examples that we feel best supported the vision for their entire rebrand. We focussed on creating a sound palette that supported the more sleek and premium design aesthetic, but also wanted to include elements that would create mystique and wonder in order to pull viewers into the experience at the onset of their journey into cinema. This is a small part of the larger branded experience we're creating with Vudu and hope to share the other material soon.
"Connor did a fantastic job for VUDU, when we collaborated on Vudu's new branding. He's easy to work with, receptive to feedback and goes above and beyond the initial ask. There is a level of passion and professionalism you can hear in the final product. For any company eager to enhance their product or brand with a fresh and current sound mark, I highly recommend him. I'd be happy to work with him again, and I hope our paths do cross again in the future."
- Stefan Belavy, Art Director at VUDU
Client : TLX Media
App : Laugh Exchange
Laugh Exchange is an app designed to allow amateur comedy talent to post their own standup and be ranked by an audience who has the potential to win cash prizes. We were approached by Laugh Exchange to create the entire audio experience within the app which involved both music and sound design that launch the user into the experience. From the get go we worked with the creative team to establish some musical references that could guide us in creating the right mood for the experience. From that, we learned that we wanted to create something somewhat low fi and edgy, but with bounce and a level of fun and humor, but not slap stick or silly. We pulled tracks from artists such as LCD Sound System, Prince, Superorganism and Neon Indian to name a few and used those as a guide in creating the overall feel for the music. Once we established the basic track to be used for the lobby and show opening, we worked toward a melody that could also be used as a sonic id and push notification so that the entire experience is cohesive and speaks the same language.
Here’s a writeup from Variety on the launch of the app: https://variety.com/2018/digital/news/laugh-exchange-app-comedy-cash-prizes-1202966031/
We recently had the chance to collaborate with the data visualization team at Google for an immersive experience that played a large role in the opening of the 2015 Google IO Keynote. This visualization was showcased at the Moscone Center and was displayed across 7 screens that were in a U shape around the audience. The goal was to showcase Android's growth in diversity and reach since its inception.
Our goal with audio was to support this visual experience by creating lightweight tonal elements that consisted of different frequencies and pitches to match the diversity represented in color. On top of these lighter weight elements, we created larger, more melodic swells that would match key moments in the animation to bring more color and beauty into the experience.
We also had the chance to mix this in 7.1 surround sound which allowed us to create an extremely dynamic sound experience. The mix for this video is only stereo, but imagine the sound coming from all different directions matching up to the animation.
Client : Google
As Google was developing Pixel they reached out to us to explore some concepts for an audio id that they were to use as a bootup for the phone as well as at other touchpoints. Google’s brand is known to be very friendly, approachable and clean so we wanted to play off of these concepts. Compositions were kept simple and we wanted the instrumentation familiar and human so kept with a more acoustic sound palette. What you see and hear are the initial concepts that we crafted for the experience.
Client : Google / Waymo
Product: Self Driving Car
Google approached us in 2016 to create the entire branded audio experience for their self driving car Firefly. For this project there were 2 key areas of deliverables: Internal audio experience (various notifications and ui) and the Pedestrian Warning Tone (aka the engine tone).
A massive part of this project was not only discovering the Firefly branded tonal pallet for internal and external sounds, but also designing an engine tone that would pass the new NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) Quiet Vehicles requirement that had recently passed legislation. These guidelines are intended to make e car engines audible to pedestrians from idle to 18 mph. There are very strict requirements highlighted in the guidelines that I won’t dive into detail on (there’s a 300 page document for that), but I can say that teh guidelines play a large role in the design process for the engine tone.
Seeing that this is new technology, we wanted something friendly, approachable and inviting that also added delight throughout the experience. All of the internal and external tones harmonize with one another creating a soundscape that is clean and unobtrusive, but also functions well and communicates to the user.
Feel free to reach out for more details on this project - this was a very intensive design and acoustic engineering process that we can only scratch the surface here.
Client : Google
Agency : Landscape
SF agency Landscape reached out to us to score the music for a spot for Google's product Ara. The visual style of the spot involves fast cuts of gorgeous natural scenes contrasted with urban landscapes and product features. We wanted to create a lush soundscape that develops and layers over time to follow the visual edits and pace while complimenting the balance of organic and digital that is inherent within the product. The device itself is all about interlocking unique parts so we tried to follow this concept by layering instrumentation that have their own timbre and feel, but once interlocked all work seamlessly.
Client : Lending Club
Agency : Williamson Adams
We recently had the pleasure to work alongside Williamson Adams in composing custom music and sound design on a series of 3 tv commercials for Lending Club. The vibe is playful and quirky supporting the look and feel of each spot.
Client : Life On Air
App : Houseparty
If you're above the age of 25 you'll likely remember spending hours on 3 way phone calls - Houseparty is the 2018 version of that. Houseparty is a super fun app that allows up to 8 people to connect over video chat. It goes a bit deeper than just using Skype or Google Hangout and operates more like a chatroom where you can invite people, sit in or lock people out.
For the sound design we really wanted to focus on supporting the light and fun side of the experience. The color palette within the app is vibrant so we also wanted to create sounds that carried energy, in particular human energy since the app is all about connecting with people. With this in mind we used many human sounds (claps, snaps, whistles and mouth pops) layered with bright, glassy chimes that play off the lightness of character that the app puts forth.
"We commissioned CMoore Sound for a custom set of notification sounds for our app, Houseparty. Working with Connor has been nothing but a pleasure. He was receptive to feedback, took time to understand our brand and vision and came up with delightfully creative solutions for our sounds. He executed quickly, and in a straightforward way. We’re super-pleased with end result and would recommend working with Connor for any app-related sound design."
Client : Fanhattan
Product : Fan TV
We worked with the creative team at Fanhattan back in 2013 to create the audio experience for their new product Fan TV. All of the tones created were for the different engagement points and navigations through their custom hardware and interface. Their novel approach of using a buttonless channel changer posed an interesting challenge in that there was no real tactile experience for the user. We took this upon ourselves to create an experience that was subtle, but created a tactile feel in the navigation while providing more colorful and melodic tones for the confirmations.
Client : Mayfield Robotics
Project : Kuri
We worked with Mayfield Robotics over the last year in helping to shape the voice and language of their robot named Kuri. This was a very unique challenge in that we were constantly considering the balance between design, branding and linguistics all at the same time. Below are some key questions and concepts we grappled with as we built out this unique language:
1. How can we create a functional and understandable form of speech that is not literal human words, but is loosely based on language and somewhat musical?
2. We are currently early in the development of robotics so how can we design an experience that softens its robotic nature and makes the experience more playful, human (but not creepily human) and fun for the user?
3. Also important here is creating a diverse language with many variations on "words" and ideas. Kuri is constantly interfacing with it's user whether it by through visual gestures, light or sound so how can we create an audio experience that is not annoying?
The videos posted showcase Kuri in action, some of the design features as well as an interview about the design process and execution for the language we created.
Here's a link to an article in QZ about our design process and the future of robotics for the home.
Agency: Google Creative Lab
Artists: Janet Echelman and Aaron Koblin
For the 2014 TED Conference held in Vancouver, Google approached us to create the entire sound experience for the collaborative efforts of Janet Echelman and Aaron Koblin's "Unnumbered Sparks" interactive installation. The goal for us was to create an immersive audio experience that would support the grandeur of the sculpture itself as well as reinforce the interactive component with layers of color and melody when more people began to interact with the installation. Conceptually we played off of ideas around wind, water and the otherworld as we felt these ideas were inherent in the sculpture and gave us a framework to begin in crafting these ideas.
We broke the audio down into 3 main components that would makeup the entirety of the immersive audio experience which you'll see here. These sounds are examples of how the elements could interact with one another - in reality they were triggered by user interaction making each experience unique sonically:
1. The Sound Bed: For the sound bed we created a seamless loop that sounded like it was forever changing ever so subtly, almost shimmering in the wind. The sound bed was playing through a spatialized speaker system that looped it constantly throughout the experience.
2. Swells and Textures: The swells and textures were all composed in the same key to match the sound bed and were intended to layer on top of one another creating crescendos when many people interacted with the sculpture. These elements created moments that became extremely colorful when many people were immersed in the experience.
3. User Interaction Pings: The UI Pings were created within a 2 octave scale in the D Lydian mode to match up to the swells, textures and sound bed. When many users were interacting with the sculpture the sound coming out of each phone was a unique pitch when played alongside many others was harmonious and created rushes of melody.
We've had the opportunity to work with Uber on a few different sides of their app and were recently pulled in to create the branded alerts and ui sound experience for their newest app - Uber Rush.
The goal for us was to create a sound family of notification sounds for various delivery statuses in the merchant dashboard so that users will know when a courier is arriving, a delivery has been completed or if there was some type of mishap. To begin, we took a look at other services such as Caviar and Door Dash to get a feel for the competitive landscape while also uncovering more about the mission and DNA of the Uber Rush experience.
We had already been schooled in the Uber brand DNA from our previous work on their driver app and wanted to reflect some of this work, but also wanted this app to have its own personality. Functionality and speed is paramount for Uber Rush. The user is often in a louder environment such as a bar or restaurant, so one of our priorities was in creating sounds that were not only branded, but also highly functional for iPad, iPad mini and mobile. These challenges along with our understanding of the Uber brand helped to shape the sonic direction of for this experience.
"Our team worked with Connor to make the sounds for uberRUSH and for other pieces in the app - he understood the brief and was able to iterate in a way that made this part of the project easy and delightful. Highly recommend working with him!"
- Dave Kim, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Uber
Agency: Google Creative Lab
Google X Lab approached us to create a distinct set of sounds to accompany their new ground breaking device Glass. The goal for us was to create a set of sounds that were transparent and approachable yet branded and effective in guiding one through the user experience. We created a total of 30 sounds that are attached to each action in the ui in order to take the sensory experience another layer deeper. The videos contained show how Glass works and how the sounds guide the user through the experience.
"I had the pleasure of working with Connor at Google[x], where we hired him to do the sound design of Google Glass. He was incredible! Glass was a challenging device to design for, due both to its novelty and the unique and challenging characteristics of the bone-conductive transducer we used for audio output. Connor really internalized our big picture design goals and struck just the right balance with a soundscape that blended nicely with the product while remaining clearly audible in a variety of acoustic environments, and survived lots of repetition (e.g. notification sounds). I'd gladly work with Connor again on any sound design task of any size."
- Mike LeBeau, Staff Software Engineer and Product Designer at Google (x)
Agency : Fuse Project
Client : Samsung
Last year we had the chance to do some quick ideation and creation for the startup sound of the new Samsung S9W. The project was more of a quick turnaround than usual, but with a light load of research, a strong understanding of the brand and creative briefs, we jumped in and began creating a number of concepts.
The goal was to create something beautiful, but also something powerful. One way we wanted to showcase this power was by creating lots of low end that would showcase the strength of the audio system which really sets this product apart from others. We not only wanted to showcase the low end power, but also the ability to cover the full frequency spectrum. We did this by starting the sound with a heavy low end drone that develops into more colorful mid and high frequency material that shows how the spectrum can evolve (note that some of these may overload smaller speakers such as laptop speakers). Each of the 3 directions we initially proposed is unique in instrumentation and feeling, but follows the same format of low building to high.
Option 1 follows more of an arpeggiated soft pattern that gives a somewhat predictable and positive feel. Not the most unique direction, but something we wanted to explore.
Option 2 is a more ethereal make up that gives more of a magical / mystical feel. This was our favorite by a long shot - very unique palette that really stands on its own.
Option 3 is somewhat of a combination of the other 2 options. It contains the ethereal mystique while also having a nice, positive resolution.
Ultimately Samsung chose to move forward with the 3rd option. For the final version, we wanted to place a bit more mystique and impact in the ending to book end the low end beginning with a nice low end impact.
Client : Cisco
Agency : Camp Creative
Camp Creative approached us recently to compose the original score for a series of web videos for Cisco. This particular video was very cue driven and needed an overall feel good track that would play off of the visual and dialog cues while leaving room for the sound design elements to lock the viewer into the experience.
Client : Path
App : Path and Talk Messaging
We recently were able to collaborate with Path on rebuilding their entire sound suite for the Path social app as well as their new Talk messaging app. For this project we dug deep into researching what other social and messaging apps were doing sonically which helped us to define our overall tone for both sides of this app.
We found that most of these apps were very cartoonish and bright creating a more gamey feel. The whole concept for Path is a more secluded, small social network so we wanted to play off of that concept using sound in a more subdued / muted fashion.
We chose to focus more on creating a tactile experience that is based from a more rounded, muted timbre and utilized different sequences and intensity to give more character to the interactions we felt needed more attention and color. There are certainly moments of delight, especially in the friend notifications and messaging side of the app, but overall the sonic pallet is more pulled back and restrained like the app itself.
Client : Google
Product : One Today App
We were really excited to collaborate with Google on their donation app where people can donate just 1 dollar every day to causes and non profits that inspire you. Not only is the layout and functionality of the app delightful, but donating to some of the causes is a wonderful feeling to be a part of.
The experience we were striving to create was one of wonder and delight, but also a calming sonic experience. Not overly cheerful and bright, but rather more relaxed and tranquil in hopes of giving people the deeper sensation to go along with the feeling of doing a good deed.
Client : Cisco
Agency : Camp Creative
We worked closely with Camp Creative to compose the original score for a series of web videos for Cisco. This particular video was by far the most cinematic piece showing different mood shifts which allowed us to play with unique time signatures and cue points to bring out those shifts.
Client : Citrix
Product : Go To Meeting
Go To Meeting has been one of the primary video conferencing tools since 2004 and has been growing ever since. When they decided to redesign their user experience, they contacted us to guide them in creating a pleasant set of UI sounds to accompany their product. At the time they had a set of sounds that were very basic and really didn't distinguish them or represent their new feel that they wanted to communicate to their customers. They understood that with a growing user base and a more hands off approach to their UI that sound would be a key component to their product and how it delivers cues that guide the user experience. What we came up with were various directions based off of elements of their brand identity and feel for the new product which were refined into the set you see below. The sound set that we delivered is a soft pallet of sounds that ease the user into the experience and softly remind them of their particular interactions. In order to do this, we created sounds that have longer tails and releases as well as light percussive attacks in order to avoid being overly intrusive. We also made the experience a bit more human in the musicality of the sounds. You'll notice that they are all harmonized and play well with one another, but each fit their need.
Client : Audi
Agency : Venables Bell and Partners
CMoore Sound composed and produced three musical compositions for Audi earlier this year. We wanted the music to reflect their elegance and sophistication while also injecting a bit of edge and heritage for each piece. This was in house spot so we're unable to post the full video, but the three compositions can be sampled in the soundcloud player.
Agency : AKQA
Client : Gap
For Gaps “1969 Born To Fit” interactive site we worked with AKQA's visual team to create a sound experience that remained consistent to the Gap musical DNA we see through their ad campaigns, but also wanted to take the urban feel one step farther. We decided to hone in creating concepts rooted in hip hop and rock while fusing other genres such as afro beat and broken beat elements to certain compositions giving them a more unique feel. The approach of fusing these other genres with rock and hip hop allowed their brand to hold consistency while also giving it a new, more original sound to represent their newest catalog. In total we created six pieces of music that all functioned as loops inside the interactive experience.
Client : Paypal
Agency : Fuseproject
CMoore Sound designed all 7 user interface sounds to go along with Paypal Here for mobile device. We developed an "In the Field" approach where we went out to collect organic sounds and pulled them into synthesizers and tweaked away to our hearts content. The goal was to keep them organic and familiar sounding yet fresh and fun to allow people to better interact with the device. Once it hits the market we'll be posting more in live action to see/hear the device.
This video is footage from a street car on Market street San Francisco in 1905 before the 1906 earthquake.
I've always been drawn to this footage since I first saw it and wanted to create the soundtrack for the footage which is titled "Calm Before the Storm."
This is simply a cinematic score. The musical focus is not at all literal in terms of a period piece nor is there sound design to recreate the surrounding environment. The music was composed to reflect the everday/calm nature of the normal day that it was shot. It's also a very surreal feeling watching the footage knowing what was to come.