Sonos & The Viral Fruits of ‘Sound’ Design

Image of multiple remix designs containing the Sonos logo

Foxie Rating - 4 Stars, Oh So Good!

What’s so great about innovation is that it can often lead to unexpected results.

Like how Alexander Fleming’s study of influenza in the 1920s, one of the leading causes of death at the time, led to the accidental discovery of  penicillin, which revolutionized modern medicine and the health and well-being of countless millions.

Or like how the Space Race of the 20th century spawned a bevy of new industries — from MRI to GPS; microwaves to memory foam mattresses.

Motion, Unexpected

Last week, Sonos, which manufactures a sleek line of wireless audio speakers, reaped the viral fruits of innovation thanks to the surprise and delight hidden within one simple image:

The word SONOS surrounded by diagonal lines gradiating from yellow to orange to read to purple against a black background

What’s so special about this image, you ask.

Well, keep your eyes trained on the Sonos logo as you scroll up or down the page.

Did you see it?

The way the image seems to be pulsating with sound?

Cool, right!

And made all the more cooler by the fact that it is perfectly on-brand for a company that is in the business of sound.

When Innovation Goes Viral: An Origin Story

As part of a new marketing push to position Sonos as the leader in the wireless audio space, Bruce Mau Design, a Toronto-based creative agency, remixed the brand’s logo treatment in a myriad of ways to reflect the “idea of the modern music experience” as being neither singular nor monolithic but a “rich diversity of expressions.”

When the Remix campaign got light props by editor Armin Vit on the design site, Brand New, before long, the comments thread was abuzz with the discovery that the campaign’s main image, which was given the most prominent placement both on the Brand New article as well as BMD’s detail page on the project), came to life with a simple scroll of the page:

Screenshot of the comment thread for the Brand New article on Sono's Remix campaign. One commenter, Andre_C, writes, "I'm not sure if it was intended, but the moire effect that the top visual creates when scrolling the page is pretty boss for a company that deals with sound waves." Alex Coyle replies, "Yes! WAs about to say the same thing." And Chris Rudloff replies, "Hell yes--that's awesome."

This caught the attention of San Francisco product design firm, Ramotion, which posted a link to the article for its 8.9k followers on Twitter.

Screenshot of Ramotion's tweet which reads: "Sonos's new logo looks like sound waves when you scroll"

Ramotion’s Tweet Zero garnered over a thousand retweets and spread like a viral wildfire across Twitter and onto other social platforms, including Facebook, which is where I got my first glimpse of Sonos’s logo.

A viral wildfire so swift and sweeping that it elicited this post from Hunter Tura, president of BMD, by day’s end the next day:

A tweet from Hunter Tura, President of Bruce Mau Design, in which he writes: "Man. That was a hell of a day on social media. @brucemaudesign @Sonos. Todd Walker respods to Tura's tweet: "@hunterura amazing what one simple image can do, right?" To which Tura replies: "@ToddWalker blowin' in your mind"

I especially love @ToddWalker’s response to Tura’s tweet:

“Amazing what one simple image can do, right?”

Because Team Sonos was genuinely open to innovation, their creative agency was able to create a simple yet powerful image that unexpectedly went viral…

Increasing consumer awareness of the brand exponentially whilst exhibiting the cool factor that Team Sonos wanted to achieve with its marketing campaign in the first place.

I’d say that’s one helluva win-win.