MIDI, an acronym for Musical Instrument Digital Interface, is instantly recognisable to anyone who makes, edits or plays music, and is used every day around the world by musicians, DJs, producers, educators, artists and hobbyists to create, perform, learn and share music and artistic works.
The wordmarque design references the shape of Lissajous curves, which are graphs of a system of parametric equations used to describe complex harmonic motion. The finalised design represents a modulation shape between 440 Hz – 880 Hz globally recognised as a tone for tuning instruments.
Taking centre stage in the identity, the trademark is inspired by musical forms, such as the Stuttgart pitch, which is an oscilloscope reading of sine waves at a frequency of 440 Hz. The Stuttgart pitch serves as a tuning standard for the musical note of A above middle C, or A4 in scientific pitch notation. A440 has been widely adopted as a reference frequency to calibrate acoustic equipment and to tune various musical instruments.
The sonic logo complements the wordmarque design, creating a mirror between sound and vision. The pitch starts out at 440 Hz and then rises to 880 Hz, with subtle wave shape and stereo modulation. There is an anticipatory feeling to the sonic identity, similar to that of an orchestra tuning to 440 Hz or Strauss’ ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra’. The simplicity and power of these pitches can create a Pavlovian response. Minimal orchestral strings complement the sine waves.
Sound is sentimental and can be imagined even in the absence of audible clues – a synesthesia of sorts that visualizes sound and vice versa. Unheard outputs such as imagery and motion give way to soundscapes trained by synaptic communication in our brains that create memories.
We may only have an image of weighted balls hurtling down a polyurethane-finished runway and colliding with one another, yet our minds have already formed an innate archive of sounds. We might catch a muted and distorted reflection of the Autobahn in a high-rise with cars zipping by. Notwithstanding the absence of sound, we can still mentally piece together this moment’s audible fingerprint.
Sound is omnipresent, even in the calmest calm of aerial photography and cloud gazing from the window of an airplane cruising 35,000 feet over the skies of Mongolia.