The Yale Audio Experience
WINNER 2022 | Category: Product
BETTER SOUND 2022 | Category: Audio Branding
Yale, a sub brand to ASSA ABLOY, with a unified palette of smart home products were missing a strategy to communicate uniformly with sound. With Yale’s ambition to care for the product users home sound environment they turned to Efterklang for help. The outcome is a comprehensive framework for sound and a cohesive sound palette.
Visual design of products and product development is constantly evolving, but when it comes to the user experience (UX) of products, many companies still see this as an uncharted territory. Products are still beeping as they did in the 80’s – and it isn’t pleasant! The beeping sounds can potentially lead to negative connotations towards products and brands.dn
ASSA ABLOY were no exception and sound as an untapped territory was part of the scope for this project – to transform the UX sounds to value adding assets by upgrading and tweaking the hardware components. Another purpose was to connect the sound concept of the Yale brand with their physical products and create greater brand recognition.
First, we needed to define a sound concept for Yale, and we based it on four elements – Sun, Click, Key, and Melody, all of which are anchored in the brand’s core and history. We matched the visual profile of the Yale brand and used the sun as an element.
We created an instrument from an actual recording of the sun, which will be used in all sound productions for Yale. The click sound, is something that refers to Yale’s old heritage as a mechanical look maker. To get the perfect click we recorded a 90 year old lock from the Yale lock Museum in Connecticut. And for the key, we used the vocals in the name Yale and got a chord, a/e.
We also needed a melody, a rhythm, something that can be knocked on a door or buzzed on your phone for notification. This became the melody, and together with the other four elements it constitutes the Yale Sound Logo. From the sound logo we developed different musical themes; A morning theme, a sunrise theme and a catwalk theme. All of which can be heard in media productions from Yale.
Through detailed teardowns, recordings and multiple measurements, we found the weakest links in the hardware component sound chain from a well mastered sound file to the sound that reaches the product user’s ear. In some products it was the sound file. In others it was a deficient sound component that unintentionally messed up the sound quality and decreased the perceived value of the product. With the penetrated knowledge at component level we had the opportunity to optimize the sound chain quality and enhance the overall experience of the products.
From the Yale sound DNA we developed product sounds for the whole range of Yale products. Sounds that for the moment are being implemented in the products and tweaked according to hardware limitations in every specific product.