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Sonic Connection: Exploring The Similarity Between Music and Design

Posted on November 18, 2011

Category: General

I would venture that four and half in every five graphic designers work while listening to music. Now, I did just make that statistic up, but I would be more than willing to wage my next design project on its validity. For various reasons, most people in this business enjoy spinning some tunes while cranking out the graphics.

Importantly, this isn’t necessarily just a frivolous action. Though you may not think so at first blush, both music and quality design share a lot in common, especially in terms of creativity. Don’t believe us? Then sit tight, and read over the following. If you happen to be that toneless remaining half in our previous mathematics, we might just have you changing your ways!

  1. Uniqueness is Rampant: Think about it: In both the world of music and in the realm of design, everything that’s produced must be completely original. How would it be if every major label in the business just ripped off the hits, cranking out an endless retinue of the same old stuff? Just as music has to be catchy, original, and innovative, so too does good design, though it might not be as emphasized in our business. The next time you’re grooving to an incredible cut, though, try to channel some of what makes that song unique into your designs.
  2. History Is All Over the Walls: Sure, everything has to be special, but that doesn’t mean both industries can’t hark back to previous eras or methods to reinvent the wheel. In music, how many times does a classical jam band appear, a la the Grateful Dead? We’d say once every too often, but the same trend appears in design. Retro badge style logos are staging a comeback, proving that—to be successful—having a knowledge of one’s fore bearers is essential to earning your keep.
  3. Communication is King (Not Cotton): In both mediums, it’s absolutely important that something is being said. If no relatable emotions are being conveyed, then what’s the point? Both graphic design and music seek to establish some kind of connection with total strangers, imparting a carefully crafted message into their psyches where, hopefully, it will resonate for hours, days, months to come.

And that’s just a few of the ways in which music and graphic design overlap! However, this doesn’t have to be a pile of meaningless mumbo-jumbo. Use these points each time you listen to music to redefine your own design projects.

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