As Seen In Desktop Magazine

music soothes the savage beastAs seen in desktop magazine here

Pretty much any design studio you walk into will have music playing – it can be the radio, but more and more often it’s an MP3 player hooked up to speakers. This can lead to staff experiencing music and bands that they would not have checked out for themselves. The problem is that not everyone likes (or even wants to hear) particular general listening or manufactured pop music.

Picking music

Picking music seems a secondary concern, but it helps set the mood of the room, and having a dozen grumpy designers on edge is definitely not as productive as a room of relaxed happy designers. So where do you start?

Seasonal music like Christmas tunes can drive anyone insane, as can songs on high rotation (as on the radio). One of the designers I used to work with hated the skater boy so much the radio was switched off for three minutes every half an hour or so when it came on. Picking left of field bands that have done Christmas themed stuff can bring the seasonal cheer but with an interesting twist.

Or finding bands like Apocalyptica which is a string quartet who cover primarily Metallica but have other rock songs and even some originals in their repertoire. This is more mellow sounding than the original but still has the energy of it.

The benefit of having everyone in the studio with iPods/iPhones means we have a great selection of music to choose from. It is interesting to see just how much crossover between our collections there is, but I doubt many people would have the eclectic range of music I listen to!

For a studio, you really want to go for something positive and uplifting, full of energy and hopefully not too offensive. Just avoid Prince’s Sexy MF song as when it’s playing it’s pretty impossible to talk to a client without them hearing a string of profanity. You never know if the client is going to be offended by what they hear in the background, and you won’t be told about it, they’ll just find another agency to work with.

Avoiding the depressing dark and gloomy songs means you are actively trying to help keep the studio in a positive and happy mood. With all the stresses laid on a designer, you don’t need the atmosphere of the room bringing them down further.

There is always the need to listen to heavier or darker stuff when your dark cloud follows you to work, but that can always be done on your own headphones so as not to share your foul mood with the rest of the designers around you.

Bobby McFerrin’s Don’t Worry, Be Happy is not going to fix the moods of a dozen on edge designers with deadlines looming, who are too full of caffeine to relax or chill out. But running some nice atmospheric dance tracks may at least stop them going postal when the next round of authors gets sent through 10 minutes prior to deadline.

Keep in mind…

Just keeping in mind the music that’s playing affects the room and can hopefully help boost the mood of the studio and in turn improve morale and productivity.

What do you have playing in your workspace at the moment?