Creativity and the Coffee Shop

Article Written by Stephen Bell- Marketing-Development @coffeescreative

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How many times have you walked into a coffee shop in your area and seen a student, developer, designer, or small business entrepreneur working away- headphones on, coffee at hand, busy writing or typing down ideas? From the nods of approval, I am guessing that the majority of you have seen these people hard at work as you are about to order your americano or latte to go. Freelancers, entrepreneurs, and the work-from-home-types, have long held the local coffee shop as their secondary, semi-private office.


Walk in, order your coffee, find your niche area to set up shop, and voila, you are off to the creative races fueled by the almighty bean! There is a new belief that people are more productive and efficient when working in a coffee shop environment, and here are a couple reasons to grab your bag/laptop and make a trek to your local java spot.

Coffeeshop Ambient Noise Helps You Focus…

No kidding here, in a recently published study, a team of professors led by Ravi Mehta at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign explored the effects of various levels of background noise on individual creative thinking (link is external). The researchers divided participants into four and subjected each team to background noise at a different volume (50 decibels, 70 decibels, 85 decibels and a control of no background noise). They asked each participant to complete a Remote Associates Test, a commonly accepted measurement of creative thinking. When they ran the numbers and compared results, they found that ambient noise actually BOOSTED creative process and led to more efficient use of project and time!


Getting Away from the Comforts of the Home Office

How many times have you told yourself, “today I will be productive, and work from home” only to find your well earned 15 minute break becomes distracted by house work, social media, family, that new PS4 or Xbox game, a good book, a phone call… ahhh, the list goes on. Face it, its tough to work from home without distractions from all that we call home! Coffee shops present a unique environment where distractions from the familiar are not as common. A coffee house is not usually a huge place, and as such, is an environment where you hold a seat coveted by others. If you want to use that seat next to a wall outlet, than make the most of it!  Enjoy the sights but focus on your work. Studies have shown working away from home forces one to use their time more wisely. And by wisely, I did not mean trying to beat level 176 of Candy Crush…


The Artist Ghetto and Sense of Community

This one isn’t research driven, but carries a unique result. We as creative and curious people, more often than not, tend to like creative and curious places! Coffee shops present an environment where a sense of collective occurs. I am not saying its a Marxist or Socialist rally point, but rather a place where people gravitate towards for ideas and creativity. Developers can feel “at home” working away with other developers near by, and artists gain inspiration seeing a fellow designer working on a project at the next table. We have all read the books or seen the movies with the Faulkners or Fitzgeralds smoking and sipping java in Parisian cafes, the Woody Allen movies where the subject characters find conversation and distraction in New York coffee spots, or the countless Hemingway stories from haunts in Paris or London. Let’s face it, coffee shops are a cultural icon, and a place which draws us in to escape the bustle of life outside.

I have my favorite coffee spots for creativity, and I am sure you do to!

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