Sound Association for Product-Sound Design Using Semiotics

  • Kumari Moothedath ChandranEmail author
  • Prajakta Prabhune
  • Dibakar Sen
Conference paper
Part of the Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies book series (SIST, volume 34)


Sounds from products which carry information about its performance can be called as product sounds. Product sounds can aid visual display and controls if designed effectively. In this work, the authors collected 6,190 sound samples. Out of this, 670 sounds were coded, based on three categories of abstractions, namely index (on causality), icon (on similarity) and symbol (arbitrary). The coded sounds were used to associate them to selected examples of two product interfaces. Design exercises and user surveys were done to confirm the coding of individual sounds, as well as the method of association. Three different methods were used for the surveys. One—to associate sounds based on a given theme; two—to match the sounds provided to the product interface given; three—the subjects were made to listen to selected sounds and asked to describe the meaning they perceive of it. The results from the surveys tallied well with the method of categorization of sounds and their associations, and it provides a structured way of product-sound design.


Product sound Semiotics Sound association 


  1. 1.
    Jekosch, U.: Assigning meaning to sounds—semiotics in the context of product-sound design. Communication Acoustics, pp 193–221, 2005Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Knöferle, K.: Using customer insights to improve product sound design. Mark. Rev. St. Gallen. 29(2), 47–53 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Schifferstein, H.N.J.: The perceived importance of sensory modalities in product usage: a study of self-reports. Acta Psychol. 121(1), 41–64 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    van Egmond, R.: The experience of product sounds. In: Schifferstein, H.N.J., Hekkert, P. (eds.) Product Experience, pp. 69–89. Elsevier, Amsterdam (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Özcan, E., van Egmond, R.: Basic semantics of product sounds. Int. J. Des. 6(2), 41–54 (2012)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Langeveld, L., van Egmond, R., Jansen, R., Özcan E.: Product sound design: intentional and consequential sounds. In: Coelho D. (Ed.) Advances in Industrial Design Engineering. ISBN: 978-953-51-1016-3, InTech, doi: 10.5772/55274. Available from: (2013)
  7. 7.
    Özcan, E., van Egmond, R.: Memory for product sounds: the effect of sound and label type. Acta Psychol. 126(3), 196–215 (2007)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Paivio, A.: Dual coding theory—retrospect and current status. Can. J. Psychol. 45(3), 255–287 (1991)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Tindall-Ford, S., Chandler, P., Sweller, J.: When two sensory modes are better than one. J. Exp. Psychol. Appl. 3(4), 257–287 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Eschbach, A., Trabant, J. (eds.): History of Semiotics. Benjamins, Amsterdam (1983)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Eco, U.: Einfu¨hrung in die Semiotik. 38. Authorized German ed by J Trabant. Fink. München (1994)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Özcan, E., van Egmond, R.: Pictograms for sound design: a language for the communication of product sounds. In: Kurtgözü, A. (ed.) Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Design and Emotion. Middle East Technical University, Ankara (2004)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Özcan, E., van Egmond, R.: Product sound design and application: an overview. In: Desmet, P.M.A., Karlsson, M.A., van Erp, J. (eds.) Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Design and Emotion. Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg (2006)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    van Egmond, R.: Designing an emotional experience for product sounds. In: Desmet, P.M.A., Karlsson, M.A., van Erp, J. (eds.) Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Design and Emotion. Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg (2006)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Soundsnap website.
  16. 16.
  17. 17.
    von Bismarck, G.: Timbre of steady sounds: a factorial investigation of its verbal attributes. Acta Acustica United Acustica 30, 146–159 (1974)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Kendall, R.A., Carterette, E.C.: Verbal attributes of simultaneous wind instrument timbres: I. von Bismarck’s adjectives. Music Percept. 10(4), 445–468 (1993)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Björk, E.A.: The perceived quality of natural sounds. Acustica 57(3), 185–188 (1985)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Solomon, L.N.: Semantic approach to the perception of complex sounds. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 30(5), 421–425 (1958)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Edworthy, J., Hellier, E., Hards, R.: The semantic associations of acoustic parameter commonly used in the design of auditory information and warning signals. Ergonomics 38(11), 2341–2361 (1995)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer India 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kumari Moothedath Chandran
    • 1
    Email author
  • Prajakta Prabhune
    • 1
  • Dibakar Sen
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Product Design and ManufacturingIndian Institute of ScienceBangaloreIndia

Personalised recommendations