Listen up: Harvard Chan School’s brand gets a musical motif

Kresge corners

August 25, 2022 – An original composition—just six seconds in length—is Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s new “sonic brand,” an audio analog to the shield and logo that anchor the visual brand. The new musical motif will be played at the start of flagship podcasts and videos, including recordings of Harvard Chan Studio events, to build a stronger identity for the School amid the crush of multimedia offerings online.

Listen to the sonic brand

The composition was written by sound artist Ned Porter, who has created sound design for clients including PRI’s The World, WGBH Kids, and Patagonia. He sought to capture the relentless curiosity and spirit of discovery at the heart of Harvard Chan’s mission with a composition that evokes reverberating questions and answers. According to Porter, the rich layers of instrumentation reflect the breadth and depth of the School’s research and teaching mission, and the bright tones of the composition convey optimism, energy, and warmth.

Led by the School’s digital strategist, Anna Fisher-Pinkert, the sonic brand project was designed to create a distinctive audio identity for the School. One key goal is to help viewers on platforms such as YouTube, Spotify, and Instagram more readily identify the credible and authoritative information produced by Harvard Chan School.

“We often take for granted how much sound plays a role in how we experience media,” said Fisher-Pinkert. “This sonic mark gives us a new way to express who we are as a School, and unite our multimedia storytelling under one brand.”

Dean Michelle Williams debuted the sonic brand this week at the School’s Orientation week for incoming students. It will begin appearing in Harvard Chan videos and podcasts in September.