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What is corporate sound?

As markets become more and more complex and the daily flood of
information we face keeps growing, a consistent and clearly designed
brand identity establishes trust and provides guidance. This identity
consists of more than just visual media. Brands communicate to many
senses and are perceived that way too. We see them on billboards and
newspaper ads, but in image films, TV- and radio ads or even telephone
waiting loops, they also become acoustic experiences.

  Gewinner 2014

Gewinner 2014

In sound branding, the identity of a brand is translated into sound
using a strategic process. The result is a Corporate Sound.

The essential tasks of a corporate sound in this context are to:

  • clearly position a brand through sound,

  • enhance its recognition in acoustic and audiovisual media,

  • differentiate from competitors,

  • achieve higher media efficiency.


As part of a corporate identity, a corporate sound has a high value for us, as
it makes the Group and all its divisions more comprehensively experienced.

Our goal is, over many years, to use this sound across media in all audio- and audiovisual media, thereby establishing a close connection between brand and sound. Just hearing the brief sound logo should trigger associations with the Deutsche Bahn brand in the listener’s mind.

In the future the Deutsche Bahn corporate sound will be available for
experiencing several thousand times daily on TV and the radio, apps,
websites, events, podcasts, image films, telephone waiting loops etc.
so as to fundamentally condition the brand’s acoustic perception.

Download the DB sound logo here:

DB Sound Logo as ring tone File format: ZIP File size: 429 kB
About this Guide

This guide describes the corporate sound of Deutsche Bahn and helps music,- sound- and film producers in creating brand-appropriate audio-based applications such as telephone waiting loops, image films, podcasts, e-learning tools, radio spots, trade fairs, events etc.
You’ll also find ready-to-use material for direct use
in acoustic and audiovisual media.

Overview of application fields

In every business area—rail transport, car sharing, Call a Bike and logistics—it’s always about movement. Rhythm as the translated idea of mobility is the core element of the audio brand identity of DB. Rhythm defines the business model
of Deutsche Bahn, and stands for clear, managed processes and definite timing.

The rhythm of the DB sound is dynamic, driving, syncopated and sharp.
The core sequence consists of six beats.

    DB rhythm notation

DB rhythm notation


The DB rhythm defines the DB corporate sound and is consistently used in acoustic applications. The recurring rhythmic sequence is catchy and easily recognizable.

The rhythm sequence can be applied within acoustic applications as single sequence or as a recurring rhythm.

The rhythm’s acoustic coloration, instrumental
arrangement and tempo are not preset. Yet the basic
sequence remains recognizable.

Handling the DB rhythm freely and openly enables flexible use of the corporate sound. There are no genre-specific restrictions to obstruct the creative storytelling of certain application formats.

This diversity also reflects DB’s broad fields of business.
The Tonal Level

The core motif of the Deutsche Bahn corporate sound is based on the two tones
of ‘D’ and ‘B.’ They hark back to the original tonal interval (descending third)
of the long-familiar ‘platform ding-dong.’ With added rhythm, the static ‘ding-dong’ becomes a dynamic, driving motif.

    DB motif notation

DB motif notation


This sequence of notes in the above-defined rhythm should become an integral element of all DB musical pieces.
The motif can be placed in the fore- or background, depending on the application.

The motif is especially suited to being reproduced as a bass line. This way the motif is less melodious. Instead it translates the basic feeling and atmosphere of traveling,
the experience of mobility (e.g. as the abstractly translated sound of traveling by train on rails). This is where the identity-giving sound of Deutsche Bahn has its wellspring.
It is muscular, atmospheric and lively.

At higher registers, played by melodic instruments,
the motif has a more direct, conspicuous and ‘jingle-like’
effect. So as not to endanger the value and durability of
the Deutsche Bahn corporate sound, the more melodiously
played motif should be used sparingly.

The scale of the DB corporate sound is B major.
The Sound- and AV Logo

A sound logo is the prominent element of a corporate sound. It makes the brand audible in fewer than three seconds.
It can be used in both a purely auditory way (e.g. in a phone waiting loop or radio spot) and audio-visually (in TV ads
and image films).

At its core the sound logo of Deutsche Bahn consists of
the Deutsche Bahn rhythm and the tonal Deutsche Bahn
bass motif. It is augmented by subtle sound design that
gives the overall effect the necessary modernity.

This is where you’ll find files for professional application
of sound- and AV logos for downloading.

The download menu option is reserved for a restricted user group.
Sound logo

The sound logo is commonly used as a closing at the end of a production.
It has a duration of 1.8 seconds and can be used for all DB Brands.
The sound logo is available for download in various formats.

Download: DB Sound Logo
File format: ZIP
File size: 938 kB

AV logo (audiovisual logo)

In addition, there are animated, audiovisual logo files available. The AV logo does not contain any spoken or written claim (exception: AV logo DB Schenker).

Integrating the sound- and AV logo

Only the provided audio- and AV files may be used for the ending
of an audio or audiovisual Deutsche Bahn application.

Use of the sound logo can lead to a perceived break from the previous storytelling music. The tonality of the music does not necessarily have to match the sound logo’s muscular tonality. In the ending, however, the sender brand appears with assurance and displays its full size and power of expression. To avoid breaks in tonality, the music—if produced specially for the application—can be composed in the same scale (B major) as the sound logo and use the Deutsche Bahn rhythm.

Please note:
Do not change the sound logo.


Attaching the sound logo to the previous music/sound track
should take place as follows:

Inserting a brief pause of up to about 0.5 seconds between
music/sound track and sound logo

  • Insert a brief pause of approx. 0.5 seconds before running the sound logo

  • Otherwise the music can fade out approx. 0.5 seconds
    before the sound logo runs.

Please note:
Avoid directly attaching the
sound logo to the music/sound
track with a hard cut.

Integrating sound
DB Brand Music and Music Library

Another element of the DB corporate sound is DB brand music. It makes the brand acoustically experienced in about 2.5 minutes. This music line can be used in diverse applications. It is suitable as music for image films, in phone waiting loops, for events and much more. The music line can be shortened, cut and ‘looped’ at your discretion, so as to optimally fit the application in use.

To prevent the music from seeming old quickly, a DB music library with several ready-to use musical pieces in various scales will be made available. This way we can meet a broad range of communications requirements.

DB brand music is not currently available for downloading. Its use
is decided on a case-by-case basis.

Legal Notices

DB AG has acquired the rights of use for the corporate sound for all media without restrictions in time and geographical location. In principle, however, transferral of GEMA rights
of public performance in this context
is void.

For any and all use of the sound logo for radio, TV and movie theater ads, the following GEMA data must be reported to the attending agency. However, separate fees will not be required as the media costs already include these fees

Title: DB Sound Logo (Database number: 148 06 416)
Composers: Johannes Lehniger (GEMA:141515)
Holger Schuhmann (GEMA: 812805)
Alexander Wodrich (GEMA: 913908)

Title: DB Brand Music (Database number: 148 06 416)  
Composers: Johannes Lehniger (GEMA:141515)
Holger Schuhmann (GEMA: 812805)
Alexander Wodrich (GEMA: 913908)

For other applications, specific reports of the DB Corporate Sound
to GEMA are not required.