Outline’s new sightline: brand identity (pt. II)

There’s more than the mere visible component, what’s commonly referred to as “[visual] logo”, within Outline’s new brand identity: a whole world’s situated on the other side of the looking glass, governed by the auditory sense – enter the aural realm, the audible signature of Outline’s brand identity.

It realises a two-fold unity that includes both what’s commonly referred to as a “[sound] logo” (of short duration, 1.973 milliseconds), and a composition that places such sonic construct into a stochastic / probabilistic engine, informing a constantly changing, evolving soundscape, devised for ‘immersive‘ delivery (in ‘spatialised‘ fashion).

The work was commissioned to Valeria Zane and Victor Nebbiolo di Castri of PASE Platform, a research organisation based in Venice, actively investigating the perimeter of arts and culture, cross-pollinating laboratory techniques with forward-thinking marketing initiatives, often inspired by a deep influence of architecture and design.

Utterly fluid in both performing arts and digital media, the collaborative liaison weaves their refined sound fabrics by threading electronic music composition and sound design onto the foundations of their formal education in classical music.

The Outline [sound] logo proper (or [•~], as it’s been internally nicknamed) has a duration of 1.973 milliseconds, and is built on three discrete elements (attack, transition, epilogue) that closely mimic the visual trinity of point, line, surface.

Its spectral content is deeply rooted to the signals that a visitor may experience at visiting Outline’s production premises, when electro-acoustic stimuli are sent to loudspeakers systems under test routines – or at an open-air event, when the sound system is being aligned on-field.

The attack portion is a sweep signal spread across the entire (humanly) audible spectrum, starting at 20 kHz and reaching down to 20 Hz in a handful of milliseconds; the transition portion follows, distilled by reversing the final snippets of the convolved reverberation that’s been applied to the attack signal; at last comes the epilogue, in form of a perfectly balanced, symmetrical sine tone at 3.520 Hz, which is the frequency of A note on the 7th octave of grand piano keyboard (tuned at standard 440 Hz concert pitch).

Beside being built as the aural representation of the three elements that make Outline visual logo, in 1973 milliseconds the Outline sound logo portrays all the potent, impactful, detailed accuracy commonly associated with Outline’s systems’- and solutions’ performance over their 50 years of its history!

Another uncommon trait of its sound design, and one that reflects the utmost audio awareness of Valeria and Victor, is that the sound logo they’ve crafted delivers its full sonic intention regardless of the “size” of the loudspeaker to which it is assigned for reproduction.

Of course it will reach its deepest and loudest on the most capable loudspeakers’ rig, ça va sans dire – but even when played on the small speakers of this writer’s laptop computer, in this very moment, it indeed delivers all of its force, generating a full, positive sonic elation in the listener, showing full respect for even the smallest, tiniest applications and spaces.

À-propos “generating”, the sound logo [proper] appears as the recurring building element of the fully-staged, generative soundscape composed for spatialised representation (at Outline’s happenings, events and spaces) by PASE Platform’s Valeria Zane and Victor Nebbiolo di Castri, a composition evolving out a stochastic matrix, delivering an ever-changing probabilistic combination of sound elements over unspecified playback.

“It’s not really common, in our line of work, to receive a commission with a design- and production brief that so directly points to the relationship tying sound and technology to the architectural spaces in which listener and listeners enjoy, part of a social community, whatever form of communication is happening there”, says Valeria Zane.

“Outline has drawn very clear lines to guide our creative construct, with a clear statement that puts sonic emotion above any specific music style, genre or culture”, continues Victor Nebbiolo di Castri: “Their request of a generative device that turns sound matter into a fluid, morphing, non-crystallised form, further extends the reach of what this work can deliver to Outline’s stakeholders, creating a unique mood setting at every possible social occasion”.

“It’s been interesting to work in a dimension that departs from the formats commonly specified by business companies, at which the sound logo serves a function that’s often built on a caption-like format… here, we designed instead in response to Outline’s request, which seems to have taken Murray Schaefer’s soundscape predicament to heart – portraying an audible image of its most genuine and refined sound essence”, closes Zane.

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