Royal (Koninklijke) Dutch Gazelle is the oldest and largest bicycle brand in bicycle country par excellence The Netherlands. Their early 20th century factory building in Dieren is still the heart of the company, where designing and manufacturing sturdy, robust yet elegant and innovative bicycles has been daily routine for over 125 years. Today the brand is as modern as it is thorough, and wants to communicate with their audience likewise. This resulted in embracing sound as a brand asset, and so BLCKBRD was asked to help them create their own unique audio identity.


To create a unique audio identity – including logo, melody and voice – for Gazelle, which reflects their brand values and tells their story. This needs to be applicable on a variety of touchpoints over a long period of time. Product sounds could be part of the deal as well.


Spokes                  Looking for a sound for Gazelle we quickly dismissed the ringing bell. It’s arguably too cliché, being used everywhere, so definitely not unique. Exploring the bicycle for further sounds we came across the spokes: they are like metal strings, and can be tuned (tensioned) as well. Than we remembered as kids we used to attach a rattler to our bikewheels; a device which hits the spokes when riding, creating this rattling sound. So, realizing this was the musical sound we were looking for, we started tuning and recording spokes: we invented a ‘spokes harp’.

Ostinato                Translating the sound of spokes to Gazelle’s pay-off ‘Je blijft fietsen’ (keep riding) and combining this with typical brand characteristics such as movement, rhythm, energy and flow, we composed an ‘Ostinato for Spokes’, a short, repetitive musical motive performed with the sampled spokes sound!

This ostinato became both the instantly recognizable sound and the central idea of Gazelle’s audio identity. All compositions will be based on that motive somehow.

Melody & logo     Another important part of the sound of Gazelle is the central melody, a five note mnemonic which is audible in all compositions. This melody is also the core of the audio logo, both melodic and rhythmic. The audio logo is performed with samples of all the other bicycle sounds we recorded in the process.

Brandscore          The brandscore, the sound-blueprint if you will, contains some other musical elements that translate the core of the brand, such as a plucked accoustic guitar (which gives a sense of freedom), and deep piano chords (which have the emotional impact we were looking for).