Tonsonification ~ ‘Tone’ + ‘Personification’.

Qijin Zhou

The interpretation of the word “tone” in the music lexicon is: “The different characteristics imparted to the different tones from the psychological point of view … such as the clarity of the major, the softness of the minor.” Generally, music is also a product. There are also has similar features in products: when people using products, different tones of products can emotionally affect users. Besides, ‘personification’ is a literary-rhetorical device and refined as personalizing the product so that the product has its characteristics. The product can adopt an anthropomorphic way to attract users by showing the personality of the product.

Based on these two words, the Tonsonification means each product should have a character behind the tone, and its image should also have a distinct personality that makes users have a sense of belonging to the product.

This tactic is used to create an atmosphere of the product. It gives the product emotional color; it locates the image and character of the product. Firstly, product tonality incorporates emotional design factors, and tonal outcomes make users feel a sense of belonging to the product. When users feel a sense of belonging to the product itself, they will also have a sense of belonging to the product brand. Product appearance, copywriting and content can all be used to create a product atmosphere to influence the user’s subjective feelings subtly. Secondly, create a ‘Tonsonification’ to products can make user realize it better and designers can explain its features to users easily based on its ‘Tonsonification’. For instance, some designers will create a virtual character to represent the whole products, whenever showing instructions for use, adjusting features, etc., they can use virtual characters to face users. It always is used in websites and a series of products that make them have continuity or same atmosphere. Users will collect these series of products just like collection dolls because ‘Tonsonification’ make them produce User stickiness. Furthermore, add ‘Tonsonification’ to whole brands can avoid subsequent products or the process of improving products out of control so that the product can convey a constant message instead of vaguely and swaying.

However, this tactic is different than persona. For example, the godmother (a famous chili sauce from China) is an image of an aunt who recalls the old chill sauce. The character is homemade and reliable, but the typical user may be a college student who is too lazy to go to the canteen for dinner. Another example is the Dyson hair dryer product image may be a European and American guy with a sense of technology, but the user is a long-haired beauty or even a poodle. In short, there exists persona does not mean that there is no need to locate the product image and character.

This tactic makes me consider how to attract users by creating a unique atmosphere/character and what kind of tone should the product present. I should determine the tone of the product before look at the details because I can continuously amend my product based on this rather than overturn it again and again. And I think it is as important as a title for an article.


Spotify wrote the six brand personalities with their favourite colour design to strengthen their team’s core cohesion in 2013. Then, they used these personalities to adjust their plan and make it as the basis for the visual adjustments that they released in 2014. Spotify connects these principles with their business goals, in terms that would resonate with users. It is good for them to create a brand image.


Bilibili is a well-known bullet comments video site in China. It uses two anime girls as their spokesperson, and they have their own character feature introduction pages and fixed image (such as double horsetail). As a website for young people and ACG enthusiasts, bilibili uses these two anime girls to communicate important announcements and version