When you think about what a web developer or designer looks like, there are probably a few stereotypical attributes that come to mind: He or she probably wears a favorite hoodie and jeans to work (even in the summer!); the dev/designer stares at his or her computer for what seems like days at a time, usually with the lights either dimmed or off; he or she tends to be untanned…you see where we’re going with this.
There is one part of a developer’s and designer’s stereotypical ensemble that serves a purpose: headphones and/or ear buds.
On any given day at Ringer, our dev/design crew personifies the headphone and ear bud set. Whatever music they’re listening to serves to motivate them, soothe them, help them “get in the zone,” and inspire them to create unique designs that our clients have come to expect.
At times, a project is important enough for the headphones or ear buds to be removed, so the music can play throughout our Roswell studio.
“When the music gets turned up, we all know who is doing the big work that week,” CEO and Lead Designer Gabe Meacham said. “Last week, we were finishing up the designs for a client that sells hair and skin products made with natural ingredients from the West Indies. What did we have playing throughout the office? Reggae, of course. It may seem funny to people who don’t work in a creative culture like we do, but here, music makes a huge difference.
Gabe plays different music to fit the projects he works on. If he’s designing a site that requires a lot of reds, he cranks Incubus. The Black Keys play while Gabe designs in a lot of blue hues. Tall sites get Ludacris, and short sites are for Nirvana. When he’s wearing his developer hat, Gabe prefers music without words.
“Once, I got hooked on a Korean radio station that was on WinAmp,” said Gabe. “That was a crazy period…but I discovered something during that time...I realized the existence of variable variables.”
Ringer’s Director of Web Development Robert Meacham had a different take; he uses his ear buds to cancel out the background noise.
“I tend to listen to every conversation that’s going on in the office,” Robert said. “When I’m doing that, I’m not working productively. And if I want to ‘get in the zone,’ I listen to instrumental Rap beats, or Power Metal.”
Systems Developer Jeremy Lewis sometimes uses his noise-cancelling headphones with no music playing, just to cancel out the chatter that might otherwise distract him. When he needs tuneage, Jeremy leans toward Techno, Trance or Power Metal. “The last music I listened to was 'Dance with the Devil,' by Breaking Benjamin."
“My go-to music is usually Bob Marley,” said Shannol Grant, Ringer’s Creative Director. “Lately, I’ve also listened to Drake, or The Weekend…but I also like listening to a lot of old-school stuff. If I’m listening to Otis Redding, that helps me chill out and concentrate. If I need more energy, I’ll go to hip-hop.”
So, if you ever drop by the Ringer office, don’t be surprised to see those earphones and ear buds…either of those are a sign that something really cool is being created.