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— Nov 8, 2012 —

How do you use music when designing or developing?

On my way into work in the mornings, I find the radio to be mainly, well, rubbish. As a result I tend to listen to podcasts on the way in. Anything from  football, to comedy, to web related stuff.

This very morning I was listening to the Boagworld Podcast, particularly Season 4, Episode 5: Awesome apps, terrific tools: Gridset, Trello, SoundGecko and Coda vs Espresso.

During the section where the guys were talking about SoundGecko, and in the waffling style that accompanies every Boagworld podcast (which should be lovingly embraced), there was a moment where Marcus Lillington says:

I can’t listen to anything when I am working.

And whilst I was driving along and listening, multi-tasking as it were, that just sparked a thought up in my little noggin.

I use music to block out other distractions whilst I'm developing. I know some designers who use music when designing. I wonder if the music they're listening to whilst they're designing is affecting their work?

When I say affecting, my immediate reaction is that music in your ears whilst doing a task may be some kind of distraction, but this isn't what I intend to imply.

What I'm wondering is if the music you're listening to is influencing your work.

If you're listening to The Smiths or Joy Division, do your designs come out with a more depressive style?

If you're listening to Junior Senior - Move Your Feet (for some reason @stevesweets credits me with ruining music for him with this song) on repeat, does your work have a worryingly repetitive, happy vibe to it?

So I'm wondering, as a developer who uses music that he knows inside out, and has listened to for years, to drown out the surrounding distractions to code, do designers choose their music to help design in the correct frame of mind?

Do you set out playlists to work to in order to get you in the right frame of mind for designing for a certain type of project?

Is listening to new music through things like Spotify where you draw some inspiration?

Or do you just drown out the surrounding noise like I do?

I would be genuinely interested to know, so please leave a comment below so I can psycho-analyse you all.
;o)