#WeThe15 Sonic Identity

Sound Design

Yuri Suzuki and team create a sonic identity designed for the hearing-impaired for the disability movement #WeThe15.

Yuri Suzuki and team have created the sonic branding for #WeThe15, a new inclusivity movement for people with disabilities. Created in partnership with the International Paralympic Committee, the global campaign is setting out to become the world’s biggest ever human rights movement.

The movement takes its name from the 15% of the global population who have a disability. The world’s largest marginalised group they are often forgotten when inclusivity is discussed. For these 1.2bn people, access to basic rights such as healthcare, education and employment, are at best limited and at worst non-existent, making it harder for people with disabilities to live, work, thrive, or simply survive.

Twenty organisations (including the UN, UNESCO and the International Disability Alliance) have joined forces to back the campaign devised by adam&eveDDB with a supporting identity designed by Harry Pearce and team at Pentagram. 

The sonic branding created by Yuri Suzuki and team features several techniques that allow the identity to be experienced by the hearing impaired. This was an important part of the brief: how to make a sonic identity that can be heard by all, not just the few. By using rigorous testing systems of frequency analysis, Yuri and team were able to create an identity that is in unison but heard across three octaves, allowing all users to hear the notes. 

It was an important part of the brief to make sure that the DNA is memorable and easily recallable. The DNA rhythmically spells out “We The 15” and is therefore easy to sing. Melodically, the intervals are close enough that it is easily singable and recognisable. 

The ident is also monophonic, allowing those users with hearing impairments or irregularity between left and right ear coverage, the ability to not lose any of the sonic information that can often be lost in complex stereo pans. 

The arrangement of the ident uses timeless instrumentation mixed with some modern touches. The percussive and bright nature of the piano works well as the sonic focal point, allowing the ident to be clearly heard. Use of foley sounds help convey the tactility of the gesture of the visual identity and also reinforce the sonic identity by exploring how sound links all the sense together. Other instrumentation includes a subtle guitar line that adds a modern flair.

The sonic identity features as part of the short film by commissioned by adam&eveDDB which was shown as part of the opening ceremony to the Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

Yuri Suzuki
Project team
Gabriel Vergara II
Maxwell Sterling
Jake Richardson
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