Role: Sound Design & UX



I was very happy to join Humane Engineering in 2015 to produce and release Cove, a musical based journalling app. Humane Engineering was founded by Ivor Williams and Alex Rothera and for this project, funded by Bethnal Green Ventures, the team were based within Makerversity at Somerset House for twelve weeks. During this short amount of time the team developed, produced and released the beta version of Cove in the App Store.

My task for this project was to design over 15 instruments, loops and filters to be used within the app. Furthermore I was in charge of developing and drawing upon relevant musical theory to enable the app to be playable for people with no musical background. I designed an intuitive system and environment where people could simply create.

The challenge for this project was to make sure the process of creation didn’t become repetitive, predictive or tedious for the user. By incorporating a number of randomly generative processes and a solid enough musically theoretical base it allowed for each composition session to be unique.

Cove is made up of two elements: music-making and journalling. You are able to create a short musical loop easily built from layers of sound, instruments and filters. By first picking a mood, you can establish a general feeling of your music – below are six of the ambient moods the user can select from. You can then build a composition on top of this base with chords and melodies without any musical expertise.

The user can store their music in a personal journal, adding notes or ‘feeling-word’ tags that can help explain their mood. The resulting musical entries can be stored privately, played back or shared with people such as friends, family or loved ones.

Cove is purposefully designed to de-stigmatise emotional health problems, and is unlike a traditional music-maker. A water and stone visual language is used instead of instrumental keys or musical notations. Relating feelings and mood to music is less imposing than writing notes or talking.

You can purchase the app from either here or from the apple store

Also find out more about the development process at Humane Engineering