Daniel Hug

21st of September 2016

Designing Interactive Sonic Identities:
Potentials, Challenges, Methods

Lecturer: Daniel Hug, University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland & Zurich University of the Arts


In a world of smart, networked products, environments, and services, the experience of interacting with them contributes to the user’s experience of the brand. Many of those interactions are – or could be – accompanied by sound. Designing these sounds with branding in mind is an exciting challenge and also a highly interdisciplinary one. There are virtually no rules, but many exciting questions and adventurous experiments to carry out, on the way through this new territory.

This workshop aims at providing an overview over some key aspects related to this journey, focusing on questions of design and interpretation of “functional” sound in interaction. First, we will investigate the past and recent developments in Auditory Display, Sonification and Sonic Interaction Design and discuss their potential in relation to audio branding.

We will then look into design cases from the arts, design and film sound, as sources for inspiration for sound design for interactive commodities. A particular focus will be put on narration and performativity of interactive sounds.

In order to get a more concrete idea of what it means to design sounds for interactivity, we will explore a method to quickly draft sonic interaction ideas, which takes both narrativity and performativity into account. Adopting Randy Thom’s call to “design a movie for sound”, this method can be useful in early stages of the design process, helping to design an interaction process for sound. The concepts and mockups presented by the participants, and related insights, will be discussed.

To conclude our little journey, working groups will discuss and share core questions associated with sound design for interactive products and services, covering areas such as promoting sonic interaction design, the design process, interactive sound branding guidelines, prototyping strategies and client communication.

Daniel Hug

Since the late nineties, Daniel Hug is investigating sound and interaction design related questions through art and design works and applied research. Since 2005, he is teaching sound studies and sound design for interactive media and games at the Interaction and Game Design departments of the Zurich University of the Arts, Switzerland. Since 2011, Hug is lecturer and researcher at the chair for music education at the University of Applied Sciences of Northwestern Switzerland, and visiting lecturer for interaction and game sound at various Universities in Switzerland, Austria and Finland.

Hug pursues a PhD on sound design for interactive commodities at the University of the Arts and Industrial Design Linz, is founder of the sound design and consulting company “Hear Me Interact!” and member of the steering committee of the conference “Audio Mostly – Conference on Interaction with Sound”.


Workshop Program 2016