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Recording & Designing UI Sounds

Our lead SFX recordist Kostas Loukovikas talks with the great guys at The Audio Spotlight about user interface sound design, field recording and sound effects library creation. Here's a small snippet of the interview:

Could you share some tips on creating interesting UI sounds?

There are several crucial issues you have to consider when creating user interface sounds. Things like time and memory limitation, comprehensibility, efficiency and aesthetics. You have to consider some cultural factors, as well. For example, Europeans and Chinese might interpret emotions differently. You can also experiment with the fundamentals of the sounds (pitch, timbre, loudness, rhythm and duration, direction) in order to signify something positive or negative, a sense of activity, a completion of a task or you can play with the symbolic, metaphoric and iconic aspects of sound to convey arbitrary or specific meaning to an action. One thing is for sure, nonetheless; Carefully designed sounds can drive deeper emotional resonance, and as long as you familiarize with these things, you are going to develop more effective and pleasant feedback mechanisms, primary or even substitute to the visual interface.


Getting sounds for the Basketball Game Ultra sound effects library probably wasn’t easy. How did you prepare to record the sounds and what went into planning the library?

Indeed, Basketball Game Ultra library wasn’t an easy project. Our aim was to provide a complete solution to a basketball game. We wanted to include world class game ambiences and isolated sounds of backboard hoops, metal bars, dribbles, basketball bounces and net swishes recorded indoors and outdoors, in empty stadiums or inside the studio. So, the library has many parts and we had to do a lot of preparation before we hit the record button. From choosing what equipment we needed to bring to each session, to booking a professional player and gaining access to empty, well-reverbed basketball arenas.


You spent over a year of recording sounds for the Animal Farm sound effects library. What do you think was the most difficult part of recording animals?

Animal Farm was our most time-consuming project so far. We decided, along with John Varelidis, who was the lead recordist in this, to intentionally give time to the project in order to capture as many seasonal work activities, weather conditions and animal habits, as possible. We waited to capture some nice newborn sheep that occurring in December, olive harvest that occurring in June, watering that occurring in May. There was simply no other way to capture all this material with only 2 or 3 months of work.

You can read the entire interview here