The Sound of the New UOC

The UOC (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya) was the world’s first online university and is now a benchmark, with more than 20 years of experience. Coinciding with the brand renewal, we were asked to create the new sound identity. The new UOC needed to be dynamic and ubiquitous; flexible while rigorous and structured when necessary; closer and accessible; innovative and use technology as a means.

The use of sound should allow the brand to engage with a global audience (the UOC is present in 95 countries) and generate new forms of brand expression in physical, digital and multimedia environments. The sound branding solution was to produce a consistent sound concept, along with a flexible sound system to enhance implementation of the audio branding.

UOC was no longer an acronym; it has now become a sound. Thus, we created an audio logo to strengthen the ideas of proximity, dynamism, movement and innovation.

Meanwhile we expressed the sound concept in the brand theme, a melodic journey of life and learning that represent the values associated with the university. We used analogic instruments and musical programming to highlight these values, seeking a balance between sounds associated with more traditional values and those having to do with innovation, connectivity and the digital environment. The resulting sound is novel but recognizable and accesible

The brand theme was adapted to an anthem to be performed in formal events. For the verbalization of messages, we defined the features of the brand voice, selecting voices in different languages.

The audio palette was drawn from the brand theme, offering a range of sounds from which applications are created.

Given the variety of brand environments, the UOC audio branding case is characterized by its widely-grounded, ongoing implementation. The applications include audio-visuals formats, soundscapes for multimedia content and events and on-hold. We are currently working on the sound UX of the Virtual Campus and the UOC app.

For institutional events we created an innovative, much-lauded live format combining piano and Reactable (a widely-recognized electronic instrument with a tangible user interface) representing the essence of the brand sound.

The audio journey of the UOC has just begun. Sound is an essential part of the new brand, that of a university that was an still is a pioneer in its vision, strategy and communication.