The Brazilian telecom giant Oi has been a client of Wolff Olins since 2001, when the global branding agency created its bright, shape-shifting “blobble” logo, one of the first examples of a flexible design system. Now, 15 years later, Wolff Olins has given the brand a subtle yet clever refresh–complete with a “logo generator” that changes the color and shape of the logo based on the sound of a customer’s voice.
The new branding for Oi stays pretty close to the original logo system, so the challenge was to create a new range of iterations (which multiplied 10-fold) and updated colors. The shape of the logo–a kind of half word-bubble, half-puddle–now comes in 70 different variations, or an infinite number, really, when it’s animated. The static logo comes in three different color gradients: a warm orange/pink, electric blue/purple, and neon green/yellow.
Once it had designed these new iterations, Wolff Olins turned to digital design studio Onformative to develop and software that would bring them to life, changing shape and rippling through color gradient to the sound of a user’s voice.
The idea behind the “logo generator,” as the application is called, is for the logo to move, wobble, and respond to customers in a playful and interactive way within the company’s mobile and web apps. “We wanted it to feel organic and beautifully responsive to human voices,” says Campbell Butler, design director at Wolff Olins. The logo is designed to change shape and color to a user’s unique voice.
Quiet, low voices create a calm blue color whereas loud, high voices create a more wild and colorful variations. Volume increases the size of the logo, while pitch changes colors and shape. “There was some intense creative science going on at one point,” Butler says about their choice of color, “but in the end we simplified it, choosing colors based on intuition and basic color theory.”
It’s a clever, genuinely joy-inducing concept, but one that could quickly slip into gimmick territory if not properly applied. According to Butler, the voice-generator won’t just be a fun accessory; it was designed with a range of applications in mind. Customers will have the chance to engage with the logo first-hand through applications that will pick up voice through the device’s microphone. Meanwhile, advertising campaigns can also use it to respond to sounds in the ad. “There are many situations where the voice-activated logo can be used, including exhibitions, events, websites, stores, digital displays, web banners, and mobile applications,” Butler says.
Perhaps the coolest application? Commercials on TV: “If you are doing a TV campaign, load the sounds into the application and use the moving version of the logo with the live action footage.”
All Images: courtesy of Wolff Olins