The Sound of GVB Ticket Machine

Sonic Branding
UX/UI Sounds
  • Design Agency


What does Amsterdam sound like?

We heard you say ‘bikes’. True story. Yet, there’s another sound that really stands out when you’re walking down the streets: the sound of GVB.

GVB is the go-to public transportation service in and around Amsterdam, no matter if you need to take the tram, bus, metro or ferry.

The Challenge

No worries, we have all been there. You’re looking at the ticket machine and the ticket machine is looking back at you. You’re having a hard time selecting your language or understanding where and how to pay.

GVB, which might secretly stand for Good Vibes on Board, joined forces with design agency Fabrique who set themselves the task to develop ‘the best and most intuitive ticket vending machine in the world’.

We at MassiveMusic like a little challenge, so we worked together to help them achieve their goal and created UI sounds that would not only help the users with the interface but also be representative of the brand itself

The Approach

Buckle up, here we go: first thing first, we ensured that both the brand and the customers could identify with the sounds we created.

For this, we made an inventory of our surroundings. We went out to the field to record buses, trams, metros and of course the iconic ferry we take to get to our Amsterdam office across Central Station.

During our research process, we had the confirmation that familiar sounds help people in stressful situations. The most GVB-associated sound is the tram bell, so we took that iconic sound and incorporated it in the UI sounds.

We also put a lot of attention towards the usability of a sound. We did a full mock-up test set-up in Amsterdam to gain insights, making sure that specific sets of sound led to time optimisation when buying a ticket as well as overall satisfaction increase whilst using the machine.

The Solution

Together with Fabrique, we found the perfect balance of guiding people through visual animations, lights, and sounds.

So there you have it: a user-friendly machine that doesn’t make people roll their eyes, and truly sounds like Amsterdam.

Let’s make your brand massive through the power of music and sound.


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Friso Hoekstra

Head of Production