Sonys Motion LogoCapturing Sony’s evolution
in visual form

The Motion Logo of the Sony logotype refers to the Sony logotype used in audio visuals,
such as at the end of a TV commercial, opening of a film, and promotional videos on social media.
While many companies tend to use a single, standard motion logo for all their content,
the project behind Sony’s new Motion Logo wanted to break from
convention and create something different: a Motion Logo that would harmonize
with the Sony Group companies’ diverse array of video content,
in infinite variations, via collaborations with creators from both inside and outside the Sony Group.
In this story, the designers on this unprecedented branding project look back on how they came up
with a concept and turned it into a finished Motion Logo.

The concept video for Sony’s Motion Logo; placing its conceptual roots in Sony’s Purpose, the new Motion Logo depicts the narrative of Sony resonating with people and creating new value as a creative entertainment company with a solid foundation of technology

(L to R) Creative Center, Sony Group:
Daigo Maesaka, Suzuka Fujita, Kenichi Yamaura, Yumi Nakao, Ryu Shibata, Takayuki Kitahara

Expressing Sony’s

The visual for Sony’s Purpose

With Sony having laid out its Purpose in 2019 and announced the formation of the Sony Group Corporation in 2020, the project to develop a new Motion Logo launched in the wake of a shift at the corporate level. At the time, officials were debating whether to change the Motion Logo—a symbol of the Sony Group—to coincide with the creation of a new framework aiming to enhance synergy among the company’s business pursuits in gaming, music, pictures, electronics, semiconductors, finance, and more.

MaesakaAt first, there were some people at Sony who didn’t see a real need to change the Motion Logo we already had. That got us on the design team thinking about why we should have a new Motion Logo in the first place and what that new vision should be. Eventually, we reached a consensus that the Motion Logo should capture the core ideas guiding the Group: Sony’s Purpose, Identity, and Direction. Our discussions were happening at a time when there was a lot of momentum behind Group’s evolutionary progress; with Sony’s Purpose charting out a clearer course for the future, initiatives to bolster synergy among Sony’s different business areas were starting to gain traction. Considering the kind of energy that was building behind the Group’s next steps forward, we knew we had to create a Motion Logo—a visual touchpoint for so many audiences—that would get the company’s core Purpose across with an impact.

I wanted the Motion Logo to capture big, broad elements, like Sony’s unique "power of creativity and technology" and the overarching vision of "filling the world with emotion, through the power of creativity and technology." in just a few seconds. I knew it was a challenging vision to tackle. But I sat down and started working on a blueprint, knowing that developing and deploying that kind of Motion Logo across the Sony Group would help foster a sense of unity among the Group’s business mix, reinforce Sony’s Identity, and elevate the value of the Sony brand to new heights as we looked toward the future.

A visual outlining the synergies among Sony’s diverse business lineup, people, and society

What matters most:
Synergy with people and society

KitaharaAs the project got going, we talked a lot about what "fill the world with emotion, through the power of creativity and technology" really means at a basic level. Sony’s diverse range of business activities and human resources give the company a foundation for creating value, but emotion is something that Sony can’t create on its own. It’s people who feel emotions, and it’s people that bring emotion to life. The only way to create emotion is finding a way to bring everything—not only Sony Group companies but also its partners, creators, users, and society as a whole—into synergy, a shared resonance. Sony’s Direction of "getting closer to people" speaks right to that idea. With those things in mind, we figured that the Motion Logo should reflect Sony’s conviction that synergy with people and society is what matters most.

We eventually got around to the idea that, rather than making a self-defining statement of what kind of company we are, the new Motion Logo should foreground our Purpose of "filling the world with emotion, through the power of creativity and technology." That led us to expand our design focus from using the Sony logotype itself as our only palette, which is what we’ve normally done, and instead use the whole screen—with the area around the logotype representing people and the world as a whole—as our means of conveying our target message. At the same time, we also focused on making the logo resonate with an array of content instead of drawing a clear, aesthetic distinction between the two.


Evoking the moment
an emotion comes to life

Once the team had gotten a firm grasp of the philosophy driving Sony’s Purpose and oriented its design approach accordingly, the designers started weaving together a narrative and concept to root the new Motion Logo in a clear vision.

NakaoWe went to the drawing board with a basic question: how could we render the elements of "getting closer to people," "resonating," and "filling the world with emotion" in the new Motion Logo? One thing we wanted to do was to have the logotype represent Sony and everything around it represent people and the world. From there, we started exploring whatever ideas we came up with for how Sony could change people and transform the world. We turned some of those ideas into actual logo mockups, which gave us concrete reference points for digging deeper into our design discussions. Basically, we put up our idea sails and gradually figured out which concept would take us in the best direction. In our discussions, which involved outside partners, the going was slow at first because we were so fixated on the idea of filling the world with emotion—until we realized that what we should really have been focusing on was the actual moment when Sony and people come together. Concentrating on that encounter would make it easier for us to convey the synergies linking Sony, people, society, and the world in a sensory, intuitive way.

With that, we developed a narrative for the Motion Logo that would communicate the idea of Sony "getting closer to people" and "resonating with society and the world." We decided to focus the logo on a kind of virtual boundary that Sony would transcend to reach people and resonate together—the process that creates emotion to fill the world. From there, we began developing our design concept around the idea of "SENSE," given that a person "senses" emotion when Sony crosses that boundary.

How connecting with people enables emotion to emerge, grow, and expand
(the structure of the Motion Logo)

NakaoIn working up the actual movement of the Motion Logo, we decided to start with the logotype visible on the other side of a virtual boundary and have it break through right when a person reaches out and touches the boundary. The moment they meet represents the moment emotion emerges, resonating through the visual space and into the world while the logotype gradually settles into its final position at the center of the frame. Past Motion Logos would confine themselves to the screen, both visually and conceptually, but we opted for a different approach on that front, too. Knowing that users really connect emotionally with Sony when they see video content in real time, we made the screen itself the boundary with the logo and the viewer. That shifted the whole orientation of the concept: we started looking at the space that actual user occupies as part of the logo’s scope.

Initial mockups for the Motion Logo

Creating a worldview that
no one has ever seen

FujitaWe had our concept for the Motion Logo, but the next step—figuring out how to turn the whole narrative of getting closer to people and resonating with society and the world into a visual format—was quite the challenge. The worldview we wanted to get across was a complete product of our imagination, something that no one had actually done before. We needed something to guide our design work, and we eventually built the tone and manner around all the different dimensions of the "SENSE" design concept: the warmth and ease pervading nature and humanity, a flexibility that exudes a kind of vitality, and a natural, understated sense of presence. Drawing on that palette, we created an array of mockups for different worldviews using thick, syrupy fluids, delicate fabrics, and motifs like light filtering through the leaves of a tree. It all gradually came together into our depiction of Sony breaking through the boundary and the reverberations of resonance expanding their reach.

Staging and filming live shots for Motion Logo footage

ShibataAnother priority was the imagery of Sony meeting the boundary and breaking through. To give our depiction as realistic a look as possible, we decided to incorporate actual footage instead of going full CG. We started out taking individual shots of the Sony logotype coming toward the boundary from the other side, slowly coming into focus, and creating stretches and tension in the surface of the boundary as it made contact. With the footage we got, we started piecing together combination of shots that would make for a good finished product. One thing we noticed, however, was that the surface tension of the logotype gradually pushing through the boundary could feel a bit uncomfortable, almost painful, in certain cases. To avoid giving off that impression, we focused on making the "breakthrough" sensation as comfortable as possible and foregrounding the "propagating resonance" element as we worked to render the Motion Logo’s central worldview and basic movement.

The basic movement of the completed Motion Logo, which expresses how Sony encounters and resonates with people through its diverse mix of products and services to create emotion that fills the world

Making the Motion Logo

With a careful eye to detail, Sony designers co-created with outside partners to complete the logo’s basic movement. The next challenge for the design team was figuring out how to harmonize the motion with the Sony Group companies’ boundless array of different video content. The designers set out in search of answers to that question, aiming to find a unique solution that would also foreground the "power of technology" central to Sony’s Purpose.

YamauraOnce we had the Motion Logo’s basic movement in place, we started thinking about the best way to harmonize it with all the wide-ranging video content that Sony Group companies have to offer. The co-creation style seemed an ideal fit in that context; instead of just forcing everyone in Sony to use the same standard, we knew it would make more sense to let creators at Sony Group companies customize the Motion Logo to fit their own TV commercials, online videos, and other creative output. That got us started on developing Motion Logo Generator, an application that leverages Sony’s cutting-edge technologies to let users in production settings customize the Motion Logo according to their needs.

The Motion Logo Generator screen

YamauraWe started by designing the "harmony" between the logo and any kind of video content. Taking a look at all of Sony’s different technologies we had at our disposal, we zeroed in on Omoiiro™—a computer technology capable of automatically generating and creating color palettes. The work of Sony Computer Science Laboratories (Sony CSL) researcher Alexis André, Omoiiro would let us extract the colors of the last frame of a piece of content, produce a unique gradation to match those hues, and use the results to automatically generate a Motion Logo that aligns aesthetically with the target media. As we started building our basic approach around that resource, we talked with outside partners about how to tackle two seemingly paradoxical needs: highlighting the diversity of colors filling such a broad range of video content on the one hand and maintaining a unified sense of the viewing experience and brand experience on the other. That helped us identify changes to the algorithm—and as we made those tweaks, we gradually created an application with the ability to create infinite variations on the Motion Logo for tailor-made fits to any kind of video content.

Omoiiro, designed by Sony CSL researcher Alexis André, is a system for extracting color palettes. In Motion Logo Generator, Omoiiro™ looks at the last frame of a video, generates colors to match it, and then uses that palette to produce a Motion Logo that creates a natural gradation from the actual content to the Sony logotype at the end.

YamauraWe also designed Motion Logo Generator to present three patterns for users to choose from, giving creators more options to find the optimal logo for their projects. Another key point was versatility, which we ensured by making the logos available in a variety of file formats and a wide range of image sizes—covering everything from smartphones to movie screens—to make them compatible with a diversity of video content across a breadth of business areas. Taking steps to maximize user-friendliness and adaptability to all kinds of production environments helped us lay a strong, supportive foundation for an innovative approach to branding, with creators both inside and outside the Sony Group uniting in forging Sony’s identity together.

NakaoOne of the reasons we developed Motion Logo Generator was to help eliminate the sense of disconnection between the old, "one-size-fits-all" Motion Logo and video content. We also wanted the new Motion Logo to be just as diverse as the business activities Sony engages in. Motion logos almost always fall in line with that traditional mindset, applying a single, universal logo to every piece of media, but we were so determined to make video creators part of the brand-building process that we decided we had to try something new and embark on a branding path no one had been down before.

Renderings of the Motion Logo matched to different video content

Drawing out what the designers
put into the Motion Logo

Concept visuals capturing the philosophy behind Sony’s Purpose

FujitaWe also put a lot of effort into communicating the new Motion Logo’s concept via promotional activities, both internally and externally. For us, it was important to reach out in both directions; not only did we want to give audiences outside Sony a better grasp of the ideas to help expand the scope of the resonance we were going for, but we also knew that helping people within the Sony Group understand the philosophy behind the logo would cultivate a stronger sense of Group-wide unity. Recognizing the diversity of the Sony Group’s business activities and its user base, we came out with a concept video and website that convey the ideas at the heart of the Purpose with straightforward, intuitive messaging and visuals.

A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the Motion Logo, complete with shots of the filming in progress and a profile of the Motion Logo Generator algorithm

MaesakaMotion Logo Generator came out in the spring of 2022, marking an important milestone for the project. When I look back on how we got to this point, I feel like the whole time we were discussing what the Sony Group should be, we were basically designing Sony itself. The new Motion Logo is going to take so many unique forms. Creators can freely adapt it to their content; after all, the possibilities for variation are endless. It’ll continue to evolve right along with Sony, too, as new businesses continue to spring up and grow. With all the potential the new Motion Logo holds, we can’t wait to see where the future will take it.