Sound design is everywhere in our daily lives. Most people know about the more obvious mediums for sound design like TV shows, movies and video games. But sound design is actually used in much more subtle mediums as well.
You know that sound your car makes when you aren’t wearing your seat belt? A sound designer made that. They had to design that sound to fit the personality of that specific car, and make it the perfect balance of not too annoying but not too pleasant to actually make you put your seat belt on. So much thought and work gets put into something that most people will barely even notice.
This video by BMW shows exactly how much work goes into the sound design aspect of a car.
Seeing that video made us think, where else has sound design been used that isn’t as obvious?
Following the car applications, one new sound design job that has come about recently is designing the soundscapes for electric cars. Electric cars are completely silent; there are no engine noises because there is no engine. This silence is raising new concerns for the drivers and safety concerns for pedestrians. Audio engineers are being tasked with coming up with solutions in this growing market.
This great article by Harman explains the specifics, but the gist of it is you can now have your electric car sound like a rumble-y V8 sports car….or just like a normal car if that is more your preference. The engine sounds will match your acceleration and deceleration, so it will sound real. The sounds will be played inside the car for driver feedback as well as outside of the car for pedestrian safety.
Another place you wouldn’t expect sound design to play a role in is with smart appliances. Yes, even your fridge has had a sound designer working to perfect its personality. When you interact with your fridge, like for example changing the temperature, the sound it makes has been carefully designed. At General Electric, they have created brand-specific soundtracks from which each individual sound is based on.
There is so much work being put into sounds that the normal consumer sometimes doesn’t even take conscious notice of, but they add so much to the overall experience. One thing we constantly hear is that if the sound design is good, the consumer won’t actually notice it. And while this may be true, we think the sound designers themselves deserve a much brighter spotlight then they usually receive. They are creating the soundtracks of our daily lives, without us even realizing it.
Have you worked on a sound project that would surprise us? Let us know in the comments below!