How do you define a person who has toured the world for a decade as a synth musician; designed some of the first sounds to ship in a cell phone; contributed to Oscar-nominated, Emmy- and BAFTA-winning projects; produced the music for the legendary “Guitar Hero” videogame; and supervises every audio experience for Facebook? “Renaissance man” might come to mind, but that doesn’t quite do Will Littlejohn justice.
Littlejohn’s sound design team crafts every tone the world hears across Facebook apps, services, and products—including Messenger, Instagram, Whatsapp, Workplace, Oculus and Portal. His team includes some of the most accomplished sound designers, audio producers, composers, and design operations specialists in the business. In 2019, Littlejohn’s team celebrated a Primetime Emmy win for “Wolves in the Walls,” a groundbreaking interactive VR film based on a story by Neil Gaiman and produced by Oculus. Littlejohn’s team created the entire audio experience, including thousands of individual sounds, the original music score, and the behavior of every sonic action in the story.
Back in 2017, Littlejohn shared some top tips for enhancing mobile interactions with sound and unveiled Facebook Sound Kit, a collection of interaction sounds for prototypes. In this recent conversation, he discusses what excites and challenges him, how to produce empathy through audio, and how he keeps his team inspired.