What does your music look like?

About our Sound Signature

Our new brand identity combines code, algorithms and a finely-tuned digital ear to answer the question: what does your music look like?
In February 2013, Leeds College of Music unveiled a new visual identity, featuring an orb-like logomark called a sound signature that has aroused the curiosity of students, staff and alumni alike.
The sound signature is generated by custom-built software that uses complex algorithms to visualise to up to 60 seconds of music – producing any number of unique iterations, like an audio-visual fingerprint.
It was developed by London-based digital agency, Precedent, in collaboration with computational designer, Karsten Schmidt – one of three artists to be featured in Google’s pioneering DevArt exhibition this summer. A former DJ from eastern Germany (where he played under the name of Toxi in the mid-90s), Schmidt is widely hailed as a virtuoso in generative design – using a palette of programming languages and algorithms to create digital systems and products that are useful, beautiful and rich in meaning.
“I never bought the idea that branding was just about creating a logo, then job done,” says Schmidt. “The brand should epitomize the mission statement of the organisation, and drive it to realise that mission.”
In the case of Leeds College of Music, it’s about encouraging students to both embrace their individuality and explore the possibilities of collaboration in a supportive environment – according to Professor Philip Meaden, former Principal and Managing Director of Leeds College of Music.
“By inputting different sounds into the software, we’re able to create a series of unique yet complementary visual identities – giving equal weight to the individual and the collective,” says Professor Meaden. “Bringing together the visual and musical aspects has a potency that would be impossible to achieve with words alone.”

You can see the Sound Signature in action in our digital prospectus – where we also meet students from each of our study programmes and find out about their personal journeys.

Karsten Schmidt in his studio. Credit: Google DevArt

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