Audio communication at Toni-Areal (from left): motion detectors, unknown electronics, electroacoustic announcement system, smoke detector. Photograph: Regula Bearth © ZHdK

Daniel Hug, what is audio communication?

A baby’s crying, clicking door locks, church bells, alarm sirens, hissing bottles, rattling gears and messenger tones: these sounds communicate the inner and outer states of living beings and things. They are audio communication in the broader sense. Audio communication is also a subdomain of brand communication. What began with the audio signals of radio stations and film studios developed into jingles, brand songs and audio logos. The salt shaker in the phone waiting loop, the Migros jingle, the Mac start-up sound: these are examples of efficient communication with seemingly simple sounds. Today, branding also influences the sound design of application interfaces. For example, the operating sounds of portable speakers support interaction when establishing a Bluetooth connection. At the same time, they inform everyone within earshot about the nature and origin of the product.The increasing spread of “intelligent”, interactive computer systems in our environment opens up new, topical areas of application for audio communication. Designing suitable sounds requires sophisticated systematics, conception and implementation. Information, function, emotion and identity conveyed by sound are essential aspects of our teaching, research and design. In the CAS Sound Design, audio communication is an interdisciplinary subject. We start from students’ experiences, interests and questions and address audio communication in the context of social media, corporate branding, user interfaces, game design or virtual reality, for example.

Audio Communication is a part of the CAS Sound Design for Audiovisual Media. The course starts in the 2023 autumn semester, you can register until 30 April 2023. The CAS programme runs for two semesters. More information:
In this section, experts from around ZHdK briefly consider key terms and concepts in the arts and culture. The steadily expanding glossary is available online at:
Dr. Daniel Hug ( is co-head of the Master in Sound Design and the CAS Sound Design for Audiovisual Media. He is currently exploring participatory sound design and sound in health and fitness.
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