My Week with Coffitivity

Coffitivity, Can the right amount of background noise boost creativity? I spend a week finding out.

Have you ever found silence to be deafening? Transversely, it can be tough to concentrate when you’re surrounded by ringing phones, über loud music or the constant requests for ‘scrap irrroooon, any oold scrap irrooon’. Coffitivity may have the answer.

Well, according to Justin Kausler, Nicole Horton and ACe Callwood at Coffitivity, the average café has just the right level of background noise to really facilitate your creativity!

So, off you go to Starbucks with a Mac Book and a to-do list and order up a mochaccino, but wait, when you open up your laptop and take that first piping hot sip of your beverage, you realise that using a Mac Book in Starbucks makes you look like a twat, and wearing those Crocs certainly didn’t do you any favours.

Fear not, as the good folks at Coffitivity have made a website to bring all the ambience of a coffee shop into your home/office/studio (delete as applicable).

Coffitivity Screenshot

They suggest having your own music slightly louder than the ambient sounds so I decided to find out if there was anything behind this theory by spending a week with Coffitivity and my good friend Spotify.


Monday: Coffitivity Day 1: Radio Tracks
Working on: Promotional banners

Today I began my Coffitivity journey by pairing the sites ambient sounds with my own eclectic mix of Spotify tunes that get regular playtime on my average work day. This turned out to be a bit of a faux pas as, initially the only benefit that Coffitivity added was making my familiar, well mastered tunes sound like some back street bootlegs.

I will try harder to marry Coffitivity with a more appropriate audio partner tomorrow.

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Tuesday: Coffitivity Day 2: Funk
Working on: New brand concepts

Today I decided it was better to use Coffitivity in tandem with some unfamiliar music so I fired up Spotify radio based on ‘The Meters’. This was far more effective and I soon got into the café frame of mind and began penning some great logo concepts.

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Wednesday: Coffitivity Day 3: Blues
Working on: Website image gallery

This was a great combo, I paired Coffitivity up with Hugh Laurie and his blues band. I hadn’t heard his album ‘Let Them Talk’ in a while and the musical style really blended well with the background sounds. Though the audio was quite immersive, I was able to concentrate on building a new website image gallery.

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Thursday: Coffitivity Day 4: Acoustic Live Lounge
Working on: Hard-core client-side SEO

Surprisingly, this didn’t work too well. The fact that the music was acoustic really drew attention to the lyrics and it was hard not inadvertently lose concentration, especially as I was working with a fiddly data file.

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Friday: Coffitivity Day 5: Jazz
Working on: The Creative Chair

Welcome to Jazz Club, Nice! And for those of you who missed that Fast Show reference, don’t worry, I never thought it was very funny either, but getting back to Coffitivity.

Jazz was a good way to end the week. The unobtrusive melodies and nonlinear tempos really blended with Coffitivity’s ambient noise and I was soon sitting at the back of smoky after-hours jazz dive, looking like a prat with my Mac Book.

In conclusion, it is difficult to say whether or not having a controlled level of ambient noise increased my productivity for the week as, creativity by its very nature is difficult to quantify. There is however research that is far more scientific than my own, that suggests that it does.

I certainly had fun mixing and matching with Spotify so why not try it yourself?

Will Carey

About the Author

Will Carey is the founder of The Big Dot Company and Creative Chair. He started experimenting with digital design in the 90’s, turning it into a business after obtaining a degree in graphic design in 2012.