Listen to Wikipedia’s Cute New Sound Logo

Listen to Wikipedia’s Cute New Sound Logo

Visual logos get all the love, and for good reason. Human beings tend to be focused on visuals as a primary means of interpreting the world. But our other senses are just as powerful, and corporations spend millions of dollars developing signature audio logos. Thanks to the power of crowdsourcing, Wikipedia now has a sound logo of its own. The internet’s favourite encyclopaedia is calling it the “Sound of All Human Knowledge.”

Above all else, Wikipedia is a website with a bunch of text on it, but its resources are spreading to other parts of the web. The Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit behind Wikipedia, is looking to grow that outside presence. The organisation plans to use its new sound logo to identify itself on audio-first platforms. You can listen to it in the video link below.

“Wikimedia projects, like Wikipedia and Wikidata, increasingly power other websites and general knowledge queries on voice-assisted devices,” the Wikimedia Foundation said in a blog post. “A sound logo helps ensure listeners know when they are accessing knowledge from Wikipedia or Wikimedia sites anywhere online.”

Branding is an astonishingly serious endeavour. British Petroleum famously spent $US210 million on a logo redesign, while Pepsi’s now retired Globe icon was birthed from a woo-woo spirit quest that was so far out it makes conspiracy theory videos look like sober documents. Organisations take their audio logos, sometimes called sound marks, just as seriously. The most famous is probably Netflix’s “Ta Dum” sound, but others are equally recognisable. Think of the Taco Bell gong sound, for example. Or If I type, “Ba Da Ba Ba Bah,” does the word “McDonald’s” pop into your head?

The Sound of All Human Knowledge comes from a contest launched in September 2022. Over the course of a month, Wikimedia says it received over 3,235 sound entries, submitted by 2,094 people in 135 countries. The organisation assembled a team of volunteers and sound experts to narrow the possibilities to ten finalists, and, in true Wiki fashion, put it up for a vote from its users.

The winning sound features recordings of pages turning in a book, mouse clicks, and keyboard taps over a bed of warm synthesiser tones. It was made by Thaddeus Osborne, a nuclear engineer and musician based in Virginia. Osborne earned $US2,500 for winning the contest, and will now rerecord the sound logo with help from a professional studio, paid for by Wikimedia. (In other words, the sound isn’t in its final form, but it’s close to what you’ll hear out in the wild.)

“Thaddeus’s submission captures the curiosity and joy that Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects create for millions of people around the world,” said Zack McCune, director of brand at the Wikimedia Foundation, in a statement.

Wikipedia says it’s eager to do more work in collaboration with voice assistants and tech companies which will feature the sound, and says the new sound will be a part of that project in the coming months.

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