The Stories Behind the Songs

Audio Branding and Logos

I recently entered a contest held with Wikimedia (affiliated with Wikipedia) who are running a contest to produce an audio logo. But before I go into my process for deciding how to write one, I think it’s important to explain what an audio logo is. I’ve created a presentation on audio logos and audio branding in general.

According to, audio logos are soundbites, no more than a few seconds long that accompanies the appearance of a visual logo strengthening brand recognition overall or substituting it for audio-only media such as radio, podcast or apps like Spotify. The latter reason is why Wikimedia wanted to add an audio logo to their brand. With virtual voice assistants using Wikimedia knowledge, it is not always clear where the information is coming from. But, as Wikimedia explains it, the expectation is that this mnemonic device will, with time, help increase positive emotional responses to the Wikimedia brand, and since the source of content will be accurately identified, it could lead to more people thinking of Wikimedia as a trusted source of verifiable information.

For the Wikimedia contest, ‘The Sound of All Human Knowledge’, the rules were very specific concerning the themes to aim for when writing the sound logo, as well as the length (between 1-4 seconds) and source (any sound samples had to be creative commons, with a link to the source material). The themes were fascinating to me, and very much on brand for the Wikimedia Movement, of a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge.


  • Connections Forming
  • Question and Answer
  • Trusted Information
  • Free & Open Knowledge
  • Knowledge Growing

All three of my sound logos can be heard here as part of the audio branding presentation.

The first entry, called Wiki-Enchant. I choose the custom theme of discovery and enlightenment, playing a middle-eastern sounding scale on woodwind before other instruments join in for the ‘enlightenment’ moment. Additional instruments were added in the background for the beginning part, to add to the enchanted sound.

The second entry is called Wiki-Harmonics. It is inspired by the ‘free and open knowledge theme. I used creative-commons sound effects for a crackling fire and crowd, and added harmonics on the guitar. Finally I had a resolving chord at the end. The idea of this one is an inviting atmosphere such as a friendly library or tavern.

My third and final entry is called Wiki-Piano. It is inspired by the themes of ‘connections forming’ and ‘question and answer’. The piano arpeggio is fast and symbolizes the confusing but rewarding process of building up knowledge and joining the dots. The harmonic chord at the end symbolizes finding the answer.

What entering this competition showed me was how useful it was to have an audio logo in standing out and reminding listeners who you are, especially one which is personal to your business and to the audience you are trying to reach. It also made me realize that I needed one of my own! Below, is my audio logo, that I will be using on all of my videos from now on.