What’s the Best Music for Designing to?

Ezequiel Bruni By Ezequiel Bruni  |  Sep. 01, 2017

Madonna once said that music makes the rebel and the bourgeoisie come together. I find it difficult to believe that either of these demographics would spend much time listening to pop from the year 2000, but who am I to argue with Madonna?

Now, for the young rebels out there, Madonna was our… ummm… Beyonce, maybe? I’m not good at these comparisons.

In any case, Madonna did not say that music is a huge part of the web design process, but she should have. Not on the front-end, thank God. Anyone who autoplays music on their site should be forced to browse with Netscape Navigator for a year, per infraction. But creatives of all kinds, the world over, use music to help them create. Whether they use it to lighten the mood during tedious tasks, to occupy the parts of their brain that aren’t busy, or take direct inspiration from it, music is there, helping synapses make connections.

We thought it would be fun to ask our community what music they listen to. To keep some semblance of organization, we’re going to do this with a series of polls. However, no one on this Earth has the time or resources it would take to make a comprehensive music genre survey, so this will understandably be limited. We’re also going to heavily favor the kinds of music that people typically use to help them concentrate.

Can’t find an option you like? Go blow up the comment section with your genre choices.


Lyrics or no lyrics?

Our first poll is going to be pretty all-encompassing. Simply put, do you like your work music to have words in it, or not? Some people simply can’t concentrate at all if the music has any lyrics, whereas others treat all music as a sort of extra-pleasant white noise.


The Classical Poll

Classical music is often treated as one genre by people who aren’t that into it. Dig past the surface, and you could say that every major composer developed their own genre. Some of them developed more than one, and nearly all of them experimented with what their friends came up with.

Ride of the Valkyries by Wagner is almost the quintessential “epic moment music”. Beethoven wrote massive epic symphonies, too (quite a few, in fact), but some of his most recognizable tunes are piano pieces for quieter moments, such as Fur Elise, and Moonlight Sonata. Many will recognize Tchaikovsky’s most famous work as the soundtrack to fairy tales and cartoons, while Debussy is known for his more sedate orchestral works.

So what’s your classical poison?


The Pop Poll

From cheesy, naïve love ballads, to the literal song-and-dance routines of boy bands, pop is designed to appeal to as many of us as possible. So… it’s no surprise that it does appeal to most of us. I mostly listen to metal and techno of various kinds, but even I can’t help but love some now-classic ’90s pop from my youth. However, I still don’t have a favorite Backstreet boy, and even if I do like some of their songs, I refuse to learn their names.

Going back further, we have Michael and Madonna, the indisputable king and queen of the genre (sorry Cher). Bringing it back to the present, Divas rule the scene, with Beyonce and Lady Gaga each having a fan base that would make some cult leaders green with envy. Look, I’m not saying either one is leading a cult, but if they did, they’d have so many people signing up.

So if you’re in the mood to have your ears soothed by the familiar while you make websites, which would you go for?


The Pre-rock Poll

Before Rock ‘n’ Roll, we had… well we had a lot. But the musical styles that were most popular right before the the introduction of rock include Jazz, Blues, Country, and Big Band. Heck, the Beatles made albums that were almost entirely Country. Beyond that, I have to admit that I am not particularly familiar with the subgenres here, nor any of the legendary musicians of these musical styles. This is largely why they got grouped together.

If you’re in the mood from something out of another time, or just something from the rural U.S., what’s your pick?


The Rock Poll

This is not the greatest music blog post in the world. This is just a tribute. To call yourself a lover of rock doesn’t really narrow it down, much. Rock has more subgenres than several other styles of music combined, and half of them are just metal subgenres. But, if you think of it in terms of your mood, it’s a little easier.

Wanna listen to something angry? Metal always has your back. Ditto grunge. Want something romantic and sappy? Soft rock probably has something for you. Want to hear the legends scream their way to greatness? Classic rock now technically includes everything from the ’90s on backwards, so there’s a lot there. Listening to something but you have no idea what to call it? It probably fits into “alternative rock”.

So what’s your mood?


The Electronica Poll

Ah, electronica. As a young whippersnapper in the ‘90s, we just called it “techno”, and we liked it that way! Oh, don’t hurt me Disco fans, you know I’m kidding. Mostly.

But yeah, we have Disco, and we have all the dance music that came post ‘90s. Then there’s more experimental instrumental stuff like Trance, which was brought to the mainstream, and my attention, by the late Robert Miles. Rest in peace. Then there’s Chillout, a decidedly slower, more sedate form of electronica, often instrumental, which is supposed to help you do what it says on the label.


The Hip-hop Poll

I’ll admit, hip-hop is a genre about which I could be much better educated, though I do rather like most of what I’ve been exposed to. The most popular genres seem to have sprung from the classic days of rap.

There’s Gangsta Rap, for when you need motivation to get your hustle on. There’s Conscious Rap for those who want to spend their day contemplating social issues, and wireframing. Then there’s Battle Rap, where people insult each other a lot. Hey, it can be funny. Lastly, I’m including Instrumental Hip-hop, which can be quite relaxing, actually.

So that’s everything I have space for, and then some. I am now expecting some actual music experts to go nuts in 3…2…1…