Museum of Circus Sound and Music


For centuries live bands travelled with the circus company performing the music that accompanied the acts. These individuals took up the mantel of the heralds of the circus, parading through the town playing music from their bandwagon, encouraging all they passed to join them at the show. Alas, in this electronic age, this is becoming a far rarer sight. Bands of this nature are giving way to pre-recorded popular music and it is for this reason that The Museum of Circus Sound and Music has been established. The Museum of Circus Sound and Music is a virtual museum available to all for free. The museum is dedicated to collecting, cataloguing, preserving and sharing the sensational sound of the circus from years gone by before it becomes lost forever.

The printed material takes advantage of the onomatopoeic nature of the sounds associated with the circus and its acts. In each case the sound is onomatopoeically translated into an interesting and arresting typographic expression of the sound. Punctuation is used to illustrate the pace and nature of the sound. For example a hyphen is used in instances where two sounds merge in quick succession while an n dash is of a longer pause between sounds. In the case of long pauses an ellipse is utilized. Brackets depict secondary supportive sounds in instances where there are two sounds occurring at the same time.


Left: Poster based on the crowd's gasp
Right: Poster based on the revealing moment

297 x 420 mm

Top: Banner based on the drum roll of a daring trick
Lower Banner based on the snapshot played to accompany a joke

274 x 1183 mm

Banner based on the sound made by the actions at the beginning of a trapeze act

274 x 1183 mm

Registration is intentionally tampered with in printed application of the branding system. This is done to give an authentic feel to their production by paying homage to the traditional screen-printing process used to create historic circus posters. In order to further allude to the tradition of circus advertising all posters and banners are printed on wallpaper and can be applied in classical manner utilizing conventional wallpaper paste.


Typographic details from the banners

The mail shot is designed to be sent out before the virtual museum goes live to raise awareness of its launch. The invite includes a poster kit with a miniature banner, paintbrush and tin of wallpaper paste. The label on the front of the invite is adhered using the wallpaper paste and the interior inlay has the texture of a surface that has been subjected to years of paste and posters.


Left: Invitation Packaging
Upper Right: Detail of the contents of the invite
Lower Right: Detail of the miniature wallpaper paste tin

170 x 105 x 50mm

Left: Poster being applied to the wall
Top Right: Extreme detail of applied poster
Lower Right: Typographic detail of applied poster

Since sound is not a static experience it is logical that the branding system is ideally suited to being translated into digital animated posters. Much like the printed posters in the campaign the digital posters rely on onomatopoeically translating sounds. The primary difference being that the format allows for a changing composition that responds to an accompanying sound track. Scale, speed and opacity of type are all used to describe the nature of the sound they are intended to represent.


Animated Poster

594 x 840 px

The website is designed to allow for fluid transitions between categories. The navigation bar on the left allows the viewer to easily move to the section they are interested in and its associated sounds. Each section provides general information about the act as well as displaying crucial information such as when sounds were recorded and who recorded them. In the case of musical compositions the composer and composition date are also included.


Website Animation