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20+ Best songs to Listen to for Inspiration while Developing/Designing Projects (From the Design Community)


Often when I start a new project whether it be developing the code structure or designing the layout, I often need some sort of inspiration or source of motivation to pull from. Sometimes it will be another great web design, or a piece of art, an object in the room, All of these are good places to get inspiration. However one of my favorite ways to get inspired, pumped, excited, and motivated about a project, is MUSIC, hands down.

We will start the list with my fav to get the ball rolling.

Andy Sowards


My favorite song to start off a project is ‘Gatsu – Earth’ Its from the Anime ‘Berserk’ – great anime if you are into that sort of thing. I Like many different styles of music, from Rock (Rammstein, System of a Down, A Perfect Circle, Etc.) all the way to Celtic music. I find it all to be inspirational in one way or another, there are different songs for different moods of course.

Well, You have heard mine, I took a poll on the design community to see what they listen to when they are being creative, and why. Here is what they had to say! I hope you enjoy! Also Please feel free to leave your own song suggestion in a comment. Share your thoughts!

Jon Bergan


I Think that this is going to sound really lame but I really love developing to the Matrix soundtrack or some good trance. It’s fast and keeps me motivated especially when the hours start ticking by.

If i’m designing some amazingly awesome website, I’ll usually listen to some easy rock, alternative rock or blues such as Louis Armstrong, SIlverchair or John Butler Trio. Something that’ll keep me pumped, bright, positive and creative.

Alex Linebrink


Awesome question! I definitely need something that isn’t one my normal sing-along tunes for design & coding. If it’s a song I know and love too well (or that has catchy lyrics) I end up getting distracted. So unfortunately, my standard driving and listening tunes are out (Deathcab for Cutie, Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone-age, Etc.) If I want it to sustain my creativity, though, I DEFINITELY need something good, powerful, and driving. Latest picks? Meat Beat Manifesto, Amon Tobin, Sigur Ros. 1 song? Sigur Ros : Glosoli . Brilliant, Beautiful, Epic, Inspiring — and the lyrics are in a made-up language (similar to Icelandic) so there’s no singing along to distract me 🙂

Sebastian Senf


For me the best song to code is a Pendulum Remix of “Jem – Just A Ride” (Itunes says exactly ‘Pendulum Remix – Jem – Just A Ride (Adam F vs. Pendulum Mix)’) because it is smooth and fast at the same time. Kinda reflects the smoothness of thinking and ideas, and the rush of typing to aquire fast results of the ideas.

John McMullen


I Think that… any of my Pink Flyod/ Led Zeppelin records will do. Something about listening to a vinyl spin around a record player with the occasional pop makes my creativity fly. Plus, getting up to flip the record every 10-20 minutes helps keep the blood moving.

Chris Rhoad


I Think that “Raining Blood” by Slayer is by far my favorite. Its the pinnacle of thrash metal and no matter what mood Im in, it always gets me pumped up and motivated.

TJ Roy


I Think that anything by Ozzy, Lamb of God, Slayer, Iron Maiden, Megadeth, or old Metallica is great to code to. Anything fast and furious keeps me focused.

Shane Sponagle


Generally I listen to what is currently labeled Classic Rock (which is anything from the 60’s,70,s and 80’s) via some radio that is available in iTunes. I also like to listen to stuff like Morcheba, Deep Forest and Massive Attack, seems to go well with work (don’t know what genre that is). Sometimes I play classical music or Jazz but it puts me to sleep after a while.

But when I am really into ‘it’ there is nothing like loud (I put the dial on 11) Rock’n’Roll to feed the soul. Deep Purple, Led Zepplin, AC/DC…even Ozzy..come on, who doesn’t get a rush from Crazy Train? I was born in 69 so the 80’s were my ‘coming of age’ and rock runs deep in my veins.

Now listening to: Bob Dylan – Everyone must get stoned 🙂

Kashyap kmbc

I Think that… This year’s love by David Grey (Girl Next Door OST) and Pachelbel’s Cannon are my favorite songs while coding. They are refreshing and you never get bored hearing them!!!

Tyler Hayes


Windowlicker by Aphex Twin. It’s a longer song (but not TOO long), has no lyrics to follow along to/distract you, and is somehow still unique every time you listen to it. As a bonus, just when it’s getting repetitive, it kicks into a really high gear, sending a surge of adrenaline through your veins to help you push through the last couple minutes of that design you were supposed to finish yesterday.

Cristhian Bedon


To me the best song(s) to design or work to with would be any of Kanye song’s. This year he went out and did a different style, one that does have a somewhat deeper meaning, makes you think and want too express what he says.

Brian Cray


The best song to code to is Shpongle “And the day turned night”

Hear it at:…And+the+Day+Turned+to+Night

– nearly 20 minutes
– song morphs enough to stay dynamic, but consistent enough to keep steady focus
– good as background/no strong distractions like lyrics, but can also be enjoyed as forefront during short break
– can be repeated without quickly becoming bored
– spiritual aspect gives inspiration
– variation of beats/instruments/mood to

Alex Fish


I put on a nice relaxing station, like some trip-hop, helps you relax since its easy to become stressed when coding!

Mr Strider


i use mostly “A Perfect Lie Gabriel Dresden” or any of smooth “Lionel Richie” productions, i’m also a fan of “Chris de Burgh” specially [Carry on and Broken Wings ]

I use my headset once i start working as i need certain medium that will separate me from my work group -which mean Noise!

Jeremy Zaborowski


I used to be all over the song, Angels on the Moon by Thriving Ivory (what a unique voice that guy has), but now I find myself coding to People in Plane’s “Last Man Standing” (their music video is pretty original). Working out is a whole different story; anything by Hollywood Undead (parental advisory warning) does the trick (mainly, This City and Undead).

Grace Smith


I Think that…Walking on a Dream by Empire of the Sun is amazing to work to. There are days its been on repeat for hours in my office! A recent review called it: “softly comforting and sumptuously synthetic” – which sums it up much better than i could.

Hugh Collier


Well, this is a tough one. There probably isn’t one song – one song on repeat all night would leave me spiraling into some kind of repetitive cycle of non-productivity. Basically me and the project I was working on would be doomed! There are plenty of albums though. The Big Calm by Morcheeba would be one and since Over and Over is my favorite song on that record I’m nominating that as the the best song to design to. It’s chilled out and dreamy with inspirational and introspective lyrics. It kind-of flows over you. It doesn’t grab you by the balls and slam you against a wall like some of the music I listen to, which is important because you need to actually focus on tasks and problems when designing. Also Sky Edwards has a super silky sexy voice that I could happily listen to all night long.

An honourable mention should go here to Shine on you Crazy Diamond by Pink Floyd too.

Amy Keimach


I like to design & program to the Beatles. Preferably “Yellow Submarine” or “Octopus’s Garden” because it makes me feel calm and happy and puts a funny picture in my head that makes what I’m doing fun.

Tim Schmidt


I would have to say “Ride the Lightning” by Metallica is my favorite song to rock to while designing/coding. Not sure if its good for all night, but it certainly gets me pumped up and in the mood to start cranking some awesome stuff out. \m/

Tom Ross


The National – All the Wine because it rocks! This song just makes me motivated, and the subtle guitar harmonies tend to bring out my creativity.

James Armstrong


Flickermood by Forss.. really any of their songs + remixes are awesome. They carry an atmospheric and a funky unpredictable vibe that make them a pleasure to create to. Download them for free from

Lee Munroe


I Think that…Journey – Don’t stop believing is aces!

Ahmed Naguib


I Think that the best song to design out to would be Viva La Vida by Coldplay, I just concentrate much more than working with nothing playing in the background.

Niki Brown


I like designing (and running) to “Butter (ep version) by the Bloody Beetrots” it gives me a sense of urgency about a job 🙂 I also like running to this song as well.

Well there you have it! Hopefully you found some new songs to crank it to, or enjoyed some old favorites! Again, feel free to leave YOUR choice of songs in the comments below, Please pass this post on to someone if you liked it! Thanks everyone!

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    Excellent post! I think I’ll be making my way through these songs. I will have to add my own songs here though :
    Underworld – Dark and Long (Dark Train Mix)
    Deadmau5 – Cthulu Sleeps
    Chemical Brothers – Under the Influence

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    I would sugest Eye of the Tiger and a couple of other tracks like I robot from the Alan Parsons Project.

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    I’m a writer, not a designer. I tried that once, but wasn’t any good at it. It requires, like art skills. I used to do development, but didn’t really enjoy it.

    Regardless, for me it’s TOOL. Then some more TOOL, then maybe some Isosceles Project and then some TOOL.

    I spend a lot of time on (MacAaron) 🙂

    Did I mention that I like Tool? Ya.

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    iTunes, constant rotation worklist/playlist includes: Friendly Fires, Blue Mar Ten, Coldplay, Sigur Ros, Kyte, Athlete, Cut Copy, The Beloved, Red Light Company and Moby/Play.

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    Not sure how I forgot that I you asked me for my answer, but I figured it’s never too late to say thank you for including me in your list! I think I’ll go back and listen to Windowlicker again now 😉

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    My favorite songs that get me tapping my toes and working more productively are Johnny Nash’s “I Can See Clearly Now,” and Frank Sinatra’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.” 😉

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    Although I love the punishing pace of Raining Blood Live it doesn’t get much better than when it is preceded by the song Postmortem. That interlude in between songs is absolutely eerie and if it doesn’t leave you with a chill running down your spine, better check your pulse.

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    Journey! Wait why isn’t Stevie Nicks Edge of Seventeen not there? lol just kidding I’ve been obsessed with that song lately

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    What I listen to while I’m working depends on the mood I’m in…..

    If it isn’t the Cocteau Twins (usually “Treasure” “Heaven or Las Vegas”) or Baroque Opera (Purcell or Bach) I’m always lsitening to Radio Paradise >>>>
    – so eclectic…it’s pretty well got me covered whatever mood I’m in – 24/7.

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    Stuck in the 80’s here —> 80’s New Wave, New Romantic, Electronic, Alternative

    Depeche Mode
    The Cure
    Duran Duran
    Thomas Dolby
    The Cars

    You get the idea…thank goodness for

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    Great post – really interesting! I’m still a new coder, so I can’t listen to anything with lyrics when I code. But, when I design, I can’t get enough of Ben Folds.

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    Some other favorite artists I listen to when storyboarding or coming up with ideas are:

    The Arcade Fire
    Sufjan Stevens
    Peter and the Wolf
    The Shins
    Fleet Foxes
    Explosions in the Sky
    The Innocence Mission

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    I can be a bit ADD sometimes, so calming, chill, relaxed music really helps me focus. I have a playlist of favorite piano music, anything from Philip Glass to Horowitz to Bear McCreary…a particular favorite of mine is “Battlestar Sonatica” from the Battlestar Galactica Season 3 Soundtrack.

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    Whenever I need to get moto on a project it’s always

    I’m me – lil wayne

    other tracks I play when i’m getting creative:
    ABC’s – k’naan
    Your kisses are wasted on me – the pipettes
    Here it goes again – ok go

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    Props for the Clubbed to death
    and the Mike Oldfield ^^

    but mostly i seem to be listening to,
    Adagio – air on a g string [the crowd version {crowd the game}]

    and robert miles – children
    basiclly anything chilled and easy to zone out to, zone out to the music, and your fingers will do the coding

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    One of my favorite groups to listen to while working is Tangerine Dream. They were one of the more popular groups to produce soundtracks in the 80’s and 90’s. One of my favorites is the soundtrack to “Risky Business”. They produced most of the music for that soundtrack.
    Here’s one of my favs from that soundtrack:

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    depends on what I’m designing.

    But mostly
    The Asteroids galaxy Tour – around the bend
    Dagoba – Face the colossus
    Metallica – The Day that never Comes / Whiskey in the Jar
    Something of Flogging Molly

    or such 😉

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    Great list folks, can’t argue with Aphex Twin 🙂

    Rob Dougan
    Ulrich Schnauss
    Mike Oldfield
    Thomas Newman / Ennio Morricone
    or some DJ sets from DJ Sasha

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    Can’t do the listen to music & do something else at the same time thing myself (except driving I guess). Have to concentrate on one or the other. BTW everybody must get stoned is actually called “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” – go figure 🙂

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    I guess everything of HORSE the band is my music to design and program to. I really love the vibe in this band’s music.
    Cool list =) Seems a lot like rock music!

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    Does everyone put their songs on repeat?! lol

    Couldn’t possibly keep it to one song… there’s too much creative catalysts out there!

    My personal preference is to randomly hit up and pick an artist and listen to their channel. Other than that, I listen to my own mixes….

    Great post Andy!

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    Thanks guys! I am so glad that you enjoyed the post! and THANK YOU for contributing some more great songs! I love guns and roses @misty and @johnathan I LOVE jimmy eat world as well. all great songs! Keep the good comments coming guys!

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    This is a post that is truly close to my heart!! WooHOO!! I love listening to music when I do my designs, kinda gets the creative juice flowing.. Why I even blip when i twitter.. My favorite if i may also add is Guns and Roses’ Sweet Child of Mine and Welcome to the Jungle!! Great post Andy!! You Rock on!!!

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    I’d have to say that Copeland is probably my favorite to design to. Especially if you have decent low end speakers and good lighting in your workroom.

    I love Jimmy Eat World’s Bleed American album, all the way through.

    Also, The Sound of Separation (full album) by Underoath is pretty great if you are in need of high energy.

    This Will Destroy You is great if you need instrumental indie stuff, and always Sigur Ros is good.

    Deas Vail, Manchester Orchestra.

    That’s about a 100th.

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    Definitely (the old) Genesis has to be added to this list as well. For example the genious “Supper’s Ready” from the ‘Foxtrot’ album.

    Good luck for the next 26 minutes!

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    Thanks for featuring me Andy with all the other cool peoples. I have to admit Walking On A Dream is still on repeat on my iTunes 😉

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    Feeling Good from Michael Buble is always inspiring. A combination of the lyrics and the energy from the horn section.

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    I guess it says something about me that the first song that came to mind was SCORPIANS- ROCK YOU LIKE A HURRICANE. I apologize for being extremely unhip.

    thanks for the fun tweet topic 🙂
    Jennifer aka @owensays

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