Quirky Design Inspiration: How Music has Influenced My Designs as a UX Designer

June 2, 2021

The world of design is often influenced by music. Whether it be a song that gets stuck in your head or a performance artist’s outfit at the GRAMMYs. Pop music has been around for decades and continues to evolve, with new artists coming up every year. I’m always looking for inspiration from pop music, and here are some ways you can do the same!

Music affects everything we do, and design is no exception. Certain songs can put you in a certain mood or remind us of memories from our past. For example, the song “Hot ‘N Cold” by Katy Perry takes me right back to the warm summers and my playing The Sims 2 in my room all day long. That was such an innocent time that now feels like forever ago!

Performance artists are also significant influences for designers these days. You may find your next fashion inspiration from Rihanna’s video outfit at last year’s Grammy Awards! Or how about Lady Gaga’s iconic meat dress? The idea might be too extreme, but hey — she won Record of the Year that night, so who are we to criticize?

What is music to me

This is the cover art for the single “…Baby One More Time” by the artist Britney Spears. The cover art copyright is believed to belong to the label, Jive Records, or the graphic artist(s).
This is the cover art for the single “…Baby One More Time” by the artist Britney Spears. The cover art copyright is believed to belong to the label, Jive Records, or the graphic artist(s).

I am a huge pop-head, and I have loved pop music ever since I heard “…Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears and danced to it in the living room with my sister. And throughout my childhood and my teenage years, I grew to be such a big Rihanna fan that I started my own fansite! This is really where I got started with web development, design, and UX.

I remember how I would draw an elaborate logo for my website in Photoshop CS3 inspired by The Sims for my newly built site, Super Sims. And, while I was doing web development and design independently as a hobby, music always played a massive part in the creative process. Music is such an essential aspect of what we do! When you listen to certain songs, they make your mind feel like it’s soaring up high or running at full speed through fields of wildflowers; that’s when ideas really come alive because you are so filled with energy from the sound waves carrying those emotions into your eardrums. Or sometimes, as a break in our day-to-day work routines, something slower -something downtempo — can help incite creativity too by having more time to think about things without distraction.

I remember I was so proud of the new design I came up with for my site about The Sims, SimGoodie.
I remember I was so proud of the new design I came up with for my site about The Sims, SimGoodie.

When I sit down today and listen to music while doing my work as research, design, and UX, it usually carries me to a different world that gives me inspiration and feelings towards what I’m working on. Music is a huge part of what we do here at UX Design, and it’s something I love to bring into my work.

Music moves me! It makes me want to get up on stage or give the world a hug — it fills us with emotions that are hard not to feel when you’re listening, especially if you have some personal connection with the lyrics.

How has it influenced my designs?

My work as a UX designer is primarily influenced by pop music. I’ve been known to make up dance routines in my head after listening to songs, and it’s not uncommon for me to come into work with the latest piece stuck in my head. The lyrics of many popular songs are about life experiences that I can relate to, making them accessible and entertaining to listen to. These shared feelings help me better understand how people might feel when using our products; they also inspire innovative design ideas!

With a site that I made, called MicroTwitt, I was sure I would crush Twitter!
With a site that I made, called MicroTwitt, I was sure I would crush Twitter!

I’ve always been interested in how music could help shape our design process-especially as UX designers who need new ideas all the time. Music affects your moods and can create different emotional states depending on what songs you hear; this has helped inspire many designs for websites I’ve worked on because they were too “down” feeling before adding pop music from artists like Katy Perry or Dua Lipa.

I’ve had a lot of fun playing with Spotify and seeing how songs can affect different moods. I’ll find a song that matches the feeling of our website design, load it up, and make sure to listen to it on repeat while working for hours! Music is an easy way to get creative juices flowing when you’re stuck at a workstation!

Music has also helped me connect more deeply with other people-especially those who have similar tastes in music as mine. I always try my best not only to do something new but also to stay true to myself by sharing parts of my personality through what I create or love listening to; this helps others understand who we are as designers better than just looking at designs alone would otherwise allow them too.

I was a teenager in the late 2000s who, like many others, became obsessed with everything the internet could provide us. I spent hours designing my website “Rihanna Norge” for all of her Norwegian fans and played The Sims to make myself feel better when life got tough. My obsession with design made me want to explore the visual language more than anything else — and it led me into graphic design and eventually UX design.

In high school, I took graphic design classes and even teched web design in one of them so that I could work on projects just as often as math or English (not my favorite subjects). This led me down a path where creativity eventually became my career by working with different brands and agencies, looking for someone who knew how to convey their message quickly and simply through design and emotion.

My room as a kid
This was also how my room looked, I was mildly obsessed with The Sims. If you would have turned the camera around you would see another wall with the same amount of pictures of Rihanna and Lady Gaga.
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Pop music is a great way to get into the creative mood

There’s a reason why pop music is the most popular genre of music in the world. It’s catchy and fun to listen to, but there’s also something about it that just makes you want to dance and work at the same time. In fact, I find myself composing my best designs while listening to songs like “Love again” by Dua Lipa or “911” from the latest Lady Gaga album, Chromatica.

love the visuals of the 911 music video by Lady Gaga!

Pop Music has a way of making you feel happy and satisfied with your work. It is the perfect balance between background noise and inspiration.

I think that’s why so many people in creative fields like UX design, graphic design, fashion, or interior design listen to pop music while working on their next creative venture. It motivates them while they are working on their next project.

There are times when I need some extra creativity boost. When that happens, I put my headphones on, turn up the volume as high as it goes and just let myself get lost in the song for hours at a time. Sometimes I’ll start humming along without even realizing what I’m doing!

A new study found that people who listened to happy music had more creative and innovative ideas than those who performed in silence. This is because they came up with significantly higher scores on divergent thinking tests, a type of creativity test where the participant must come up with as many answers as possible within a set time frame or space limit.

The results suggest that listening to happy music increases performance on overall divergent thinking,” says the author of the study.

My favorite song, and why it’s important to me as a designer

As you probably know by now, I’m a big pop-head and wanted to share some of my favorite songs that really put me in that creative mood. These are the nostalgic tunes from each decade since 1990 with catchy hooks and lyrics that inspire creativity no matter what kind of project or challenge is on your plate! You’ll find everything here, including disco, rock ballads for tearjerkers, as well as jazzy, soulful beats for those vibing sessions we all need every once in a while. Here’s my Spotify list:

What’s your favorite type of music to listen to while working? Leave a comment and link to your playlist 🙌🏼

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