Visioning audio

Dolby Laboratories is a leading developer of audio, imaging and voice technologies for cinema, home theaters, PCs, mobile phones, and games. Our relationship with the pioneering company includes graphic communication and environmental design.

We worked closely with Dolby's design leaders to create a unified iconography system for the company. The icon family is implemented in a variety of mediums ranging from digital to physical products. Together, they make up a powerful visual language consisting of more than 100 individual symbols that cover a wide range of purpose and tone.

The icons range from literal to abstract, playful to descriptive, simple to complex and are designed to be instantly recognizable yet fun.

When Dolby Laboratories moved into new global headquarters in San Francisco, art was to be a big part of their space. They commissioned 20 artists to create 36 installations in various spaces, including IfThen's Stefán Kjartansson and Farbod Kokabi.

Stefán's installation uses his original typeface Cinderblock to cover the space with a Spinal Tap quote popular amongst sound engineers: You don't do heavy metal in dobly. The typeface is designed to provide maximum coverage to the 16' x 60' wall, using a color spectrum to translate sound into visual texture.

Farbod's 9' x 40' mural uses primal colors and geometric shields as windows into five separate multi-track recordings with the hiss region (identified by red) taking on multiple geometric forms next to bass (green) and mid-range (white) frequencies.