Design Music!Inspiration Interviews!

If you’re anything like me, you can’t design without listening to music. To find out what some of the internet’s current web and graphic designers are listening to and what really gets them motivated to design, I’ve interviewed a small number of them to find out. Click “More” to read the rest of the article and interviews.  Let’s get inspired!

Musically Inspired

Gaya’s Music!Inspiration

GayaName: Gaya Kessler
Website: gayadesign.com
Twitter: @gayadesign
Design Song: Taken by Vultures
Song by: HORSE the band

What’s your favorite genre of music?
I for one do not believe in genres, I am not the one to place a band under a flag, but hey the whole world is using it right? I believe the tag any band should have is their own, because every band sounds different in my eyes. But to answer your question: I like all kinds of music, some are; Hardcore, Metalcore, Deathcore, Mathcore, Post-Hardcore, Old school indie / emo. Oh and 8-bit! The favorites are the heavier ones most of the time.

Do you listen to that genre while designing or does it change?
When designing I listen to all kinds of music. Loud music gives me energy and soft easier music gives me peace. I have my playlist on shuffle so anything will do. I tend to listen to softer music in the evening though.

Do you tend to listen to any artist in particular while designing?
One band inspires me a lot: HORSE the band. Check them out and give them a chance.

Do you find that different song styles or beats influence the style of your designing? Vice versa?
With bright coloured websites comes happy up tempo music. Dark websites get music that sounds dark by itself. When I am designing something clean, softer music would fit.

What program/site do you use to listen to music?
Hmm, there are many music players I use. No particular one though. But there is always an application running in the background to keep track of my listens; Last.fm. A really amazing service and gives me bands I’d like to listen to, and he’s right in many cases!

And finally, could you live without music? Design?
I’d rather drop design than music. But the choice was a hard one. It’s just that I can’t live without music and I am almost always listening to music when I get the chance.

Cristina’s Music!Inspiration

CrisName: Cristina Assenza
Website: darth-cena.net
Twitter: @darthcena
Design Song: L’Arena
Song from: Il Mercenario

What’s your favorite genre of music?
I don’t know if it’s considered a genre, but my favorite is soundtracks. Whether they have various artists or it’s a movie score, I like them all! If you look at my Last.fm profile you’ll see that Howard Shore (Lord of the Rings), John Williams (Star Wars), and Thomas Newman (WALL-E) are my top artists, all of which who compose movie scores.

Do you listen to that genre while designing or does it change?
I like to listen to music that doesn’t have any singing, which mainly is my movie scores. I find that if I listen to something I can sing along to it’s distracting.

Do you tend to listen to any artist in particular while designing?
In general, not really. If I am working on themed design – like a Star Wars design, for example – I’ll listen to Star Wars music to get me in the mood.

Do you find that different song styles or beats influence the style of your designing? Vice versa?
I think so. Again, I find that calmer instrumental music suits me best than songs I can sing along to.

What program/site do you use to listen to music?
I just use iTunes! A lot of times I have it on shuffle through soundtracks.

And finally, could you live without music? Design?
I can’t live without either. Bother are a HUGE part of who I am and what I do.

Meggan’s Music!Inspiration

MegganName: Meggan Gunter
Website: oipom.com
Twitter: @meggan
Design Song: Starálfur
Song by: Sigur Rós

What’s your favorite genre of music?
Metal. That said, I listen to everything from alternative indie pop stuff to scary things in other languages, so I am pretty open. I listen to a fair amount of black metal (Borknagar, Opeth), industrial (Nine Inch Nails, Rammstein), folky Nordic metal (Storm, Otyg), goth/doom metal (Type O Negative, Sisters of Mercy), alternative (They Might Be Giants), indie (The Decemberists, Neutral Milk Hotel), and pop (Lily Allen). I tend to have favorite bands rather than favorite generes, because I listen to so many different kinds of stuff.

Do you listen to that genre while designing or does it change?
Not generally. If I have a particular song stuck in my head, I will listen to that, but I think most stuff I listen to is too abrasive for thoughtful work.

Do you tend to listen to any artist in particular while designing?
Sigur Rós! Their stuff is so amazingly perfect for design or development work. It’s symphonic enough to be calming, but has either a beat or is loud enough that you get a rhythm going in your work. Plus, depending on the album, the lyrics are either in Icelandic or a nonsense language that mimics Icelandic, so you don’t get too caught up in what the vocalist is saying and can focus on your work. Phenomenal and totally recommended. (If you’ve seen The Life Aquatic, Starálfur is the song that comes on when Zissou & co. are in the sub and they see the leopard shark. LOVE IT.)

Do you find that different song styles or beats influence the style of your designing? Vice versa?
Hm. I’ll say that if I really get on a roll, I want some pumping music behind me. That’s more for development, I guess, but Rammstein or NIN are great for that. When I’m thinking, or working on fiddly designy things, I prefer something more mellow like The Decemberists or Neutral Milk Hotel so it doesn’t get in my way. I think my designs and my development needs influence my listening rather than the other way around.

What program/site do you use to listen to music?
iTunes. I don’t use Pandora since we’re not allowed to stream music at work, and then I forget to use it once I’m home. I usually prefer to listen to a whole album at once rather than a party shuffle or something, so I like iTunes for that because I can play things by album easily.

And finally, could you live without music? Design?
No, and no! ALL THE BEAUTY WOULD BE GONE FROM THE WORLD. I just rediscovered this article on A List Apart called “In Defense of Eye Candy” and realized it’s more or less what I wrote my thesis on in college. People perceive attractive things to work better and to be more trustworthy, and it’s the function of the designer to facilitate this experience. I’d be so sad without that!

Nicole’s Music!Inspiration

NicoleName: Nicole Charshaf
Website: ncharshaf.com
Twitter: @ncharshaf
Design Song: Call Me
Song by: Shinedown

What’s your favorite genre of music?
I pride myself on being very well rounded in my taste of music. I do not care for classical music, or rap, but that’s about it. Even though I do not care for those, I am sure I could find songs in both genres that would interest me. Today, I tend to stick to hard rock / metal music, but I still enjoy all of the music that I grew up with. To me, music triggers memories, and I can remember what I was feeling, and a time in my life when I hear those songs again. Having a large range of music that I like, has allowed me to be a sponge, picking up pieces of musical taste from everyone around me.

Do you listen to that genre while designing or does it change?
I do not always listen to music while designing, but I do always need some sort of background noise going on. I get antsy if it is too quiet. When I do listen to music while designing, it is typically one of my Pandora stations that I will turn on. I tend to get sick of my own music quickly, so I am not a huge fan of buying music. My primary Pandora station which I have had for years is my “Godsmack station” which ironically plays little to no Godsmack, and instead plays a lot of Audioslave, Alice in Chains, Nirvana, and Metallica. I interchange this with my “Bush – Glycerin” station which is a bit more alternative rock than the Godsmack channel. I find that between these two stations I get a pretty good variety of music, especially with the nature of Pandora on finding new music.

Do you tend to listen to any artist in particular while designing?
No, I am much more drawn to songs, than artists. I may like one song from an artist, but not others. I would not say I have a favorite artist or band, there are too many to choose from.

Do you find that different song styles or beats influence the style of your designing? Vice versa?
I have not noticed a difference in my style based on music or vice versa, but this could be a fun experiment to see if I could get myself to explore different styles through different music.

What program/site do you use to listen to music?
Pandora, or iTunes.

And finally, could you live without music? Design?
No, both give me extreme joy in life. I do not know what to do with myself without design, and the challenge of coming up with new options always keeps me going. Music closely ties in with phases of my life, and the memories that I form. I have as vivid memories of the music that I was listening to, as I do the events that actually ahppend for many phases of my life.

Rachel’s Music!Inspiration

RachaelName: Rachael Acklin
Website: caffeinatedelf.com
Twitter: @caffeinatedelf
Design Song: Stronger
Song by: Kanye West w/ Daft Punk

What’s your favorite genre of music?
I’m going to say Dance, although bagpipes or bluegrass get my heart rate up just as often as a bass beat.

Do you listen to that genre while designing or does it change?
It changes a lot! It depends completely on what mood I’m in that day. If I don’t feel soothed or energized by my music, I can’t create like I want to. I’ll go from heavy rock to Beethoven if I’m in the mood for it.

Do you tend to listen to any artist in particular while designing?
Not unless that’s what I’m in the mood for. I have days where all I want to listen to is Bob Dylan, or U2, or Nightwish. Some days it’s all Beethoven or all Enya; but usually I can’t listen to only one artist for a long period of time unless they have some kind of variety in their music, and I have more than one of their albums.

Do you find that different song styles or beats influence the style of your designing? Vice versa?
I do find that when I want to design in bright or bold colors, I need something loud and energetic. If I’m using muted tones, I’m probably going to listen to something classical or calming. I also find that when I’m feeling tired, I choose more energetic music so that I don’t FEEL tired while I’m being creative.

What program/site do you use to listen to music?
I’ve been using iTunes, and sharing the iTunes library between my two work computers so that I always have the same music no matter where I am; I’ve tried different music players (Songbird, J. River Musicbox, Winamp, etc.), but none of them seem to have the capabilities that iTunes has. It’s somewhat bloated and uses plenty of RAM on my less-powerful machine, but I still like it.

And finally, could you live without music? Design?
No, and no! Music makes me feel alive, it helps me express my mood or feelings with something that is on the outside of me. And design is such a part of my makeup that I doubt I could NOT design. It’s subconscious.

Jan’s Music!Inspiration

JanName: Jan Cavan
Website: dawghousedesignstudio.com
Twitter: @jancavan
Design Song: I Believe
Song by: Blessed Union of Soul

What’s your favorite genre of music?
I actually listen to mostly all kinds of music – country, hip hop, R&B, pop, alternative, classical, rock but I’m not a fan of heavy metal. I also like listening to Britney Spears and boybands. I don’t care what you have to say about that.

Do you listen to that genre while designing or does it change?
Yes. But most of my time is spent in the office working with a team and a different person is in charge to play the music every time. I’m usually just okay with whatever they’re playing but if someone plays heavy metal or something really noisy, I couldn’t concentrate. I usually end up having a creative block and not being able to get anything done until they stop playing it.

Do you tend to listen to any artist in particular while designing?
Not really. I usually just shuffle the songs but I love listening to Michelle Branch. Her music’s not too loud and not too lonely either. It’s just the right beat for me.

Do you find that different song styles or beats influence the style of your designing? Vice versa?
A lot of my time is spent working with a team so I guess I’ve grown to become more flexible so I can still be creative whatever genre is being played – just as long as it’s not heavy metal.

What program/site do you use to listen to music?
iTunes.

And finally, could you live without music? Design?
Definitely not.

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Because of the amount of interest I had in doing these interviews, I’m sure I’ll be doing them in the future. I’m thinking once per month? So keep your eyes open for a future sign-up post for the next Design Music!Inspiration interviews!

2 responses to “Design Music!Inspiration Interviews!”

  1. Rachael says:

    *applauds Nikki for putting together this awesome interview post*

    It was an awful lot of fun reading all the interviews, and I love the fact that we’re all like NO I CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT DESIGN OR MUSIC! 😀

  2. Gaya says:

    Thanks for the interview Nikki!
    Always fun to read about the views on music by others.

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