The Reassuring Sound of Quality

“If you listen carefully….it sounds just like a Golf”

Published on October 12, 2023 at 2:13:07 PM PDT October 12, 2023 at 2:13:07 PM PDTth, October 12, 2023 at 2:13:07 PM PDT

The Sound Of QualityCertain sounds are engineered to leave an impression.


Volkswagen focused on the door closing sound and feel of the handle to convey the overall quality and prestige of one of the best-selling hatchbacks of all time.

There’s a scientific term for the study of how sounds affect our behaviour – Psychoacoustics – the study of how humans perceive and interpret sound and the relationship between sound waves and psychological and physiological responses in human listeners.

A similar approach has been adopted by virtually every auto manufacturer to this day.

The importance of the feel of quality

The reliability and robustness of any car starts with the handle, essentially the entrance door to the car. At this level of detail, door furniture is one of the few ways to convey the quality, integrity, and safety of the rest of the vehicle.

So, imagine the horror of the author of this article when a car door handle literally broke off in his hand on a winter’s day when the temperature was an icy minus 10C. The brand shall remain nameless, but needless to say it was far from reassuring - not so much a reassuring ‘clunk’ as an alarming ‘crack’.

‘This is extremely annoying’ quickly morphed into staring with incredulity at the fragment of an expensive vehicle in my hand. Then it became anger at such lack of care and attention to detail…then to alarm at the other things that might be as ill-considered like…the brakes. Finally, a wish to get rid of the car as soon as possible – but not before a return to the dealership and a lot of awkward questions.

In short, when we hear the reassuring ‘clunk’, combined with that solidity in the hand – we make assumptions about the rest of the car, or house for that matter. First impressions count. But this phenomenon appears to be applicable to many other objects.

When is a door not a door? When it's ajar.

It’s an old riddle – but consider the humble object above that many use for storing all kinds of foodstuffs and more. It can be argued that a simple screw top lid is equally as effective, but the engineering of the pressure seal is somehow more reassuring. Reliable, robust, and long-lasting with its instantly recognisable closing mechanism. It feels good to open and close and suggests a hermetic seal worthy of an Apollo Lunar Module hatch.

We infer so much from the most basic things. They can inspire trust and safety, quality, and reliability. Take the front door handle as a case in point. Imagine spending the price of a family holiday on a new front door to find the handle works loose, corrodes, or starts making a squeaking sound after a few short months.

The handshake of the building

“The door handle is the handshake of the building” according to Finnish architect Juhani Pallasmaa. As everyone knows, we can learn a great deal from a handshake, in fact it can mean the difference between a job offer or a rejection. According to a study in the American Psychological Association, it predicts key aspects of other behaviours:

“Those with a firm handshake were more extroverted, open to experience and less neurotic and shy than those with a less firm or limp handshake. The researchers say these results demonstrate that personality traits, assessed through the self-report, can predict specific behaviours assessed by trained observers.”

Only the best, as standard

At Coastal, we make it our goal to ensure our ironmongery instils the same level of confidence and assurance for door manufacturers, installers, architects, and clients. We believe that the quality, robustness and shape of our 316 marine grade stainless steel hardware in a variety of finishes are essential elements of that carefully considered ‘handshake’. Designed with exquisite attention to detail in opening the door to the experiences ahead, whilst giving a proper impression of the security of your home.

But it doesn’t end there – by ‘suiting’ all external ironmongery – doors and windows with the same attention and care, the same feeling can be applied everywhere. Indeed, some of our clients use the same ironmongery on internal doors throughout their homes.

We have created a CPD covering key issues when it comes to ‘Making an Entrance’.

Book CPD

At Coastal, we believe the quality of the entire home can be captured through the timeless art of making the perfect door hardware with a sense of style, integrity, and of course a truly satisfying.....


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