It is well known that most people are mainly driven by either the left or the right hand side of their brain. When it comes to the creative industry, where we are expected to use both sides equally in order to be the most creative we can be, what factors in our working environment affect our grey matter?

Left brain

When looking at this from the left brain perspective (where we analyse the more scientific factors of an environment) we can learn what elements make us work most efficiently and creatively in our industry.

Firstly we must take into account the light within our environment. It is commonly assumed that the brighter the room, the more clearly we will be able to think, and consequently the more creative the idea that will pop from our brain onto the Mac. However, it has been proven that working in dim lighting is actually better for creativity. This is because in brighter, more fluorescent light, people feel on display and more readily judged by those around them. Under a dimmer light there is less pressure to perform whilst on display, so the mind can relax, and thinking of creative ideas comes far more easily.

Which is better, too hot or too cold? Although the exact temperature of our environment may not always be controlled, it is an important factor to consider when looking into how to make the most of our creativity. It has been found that when dealing with more complex tasks, our brains perform better in warmer conditions. This is due to our ‘affective processing’ being boosted, which essentially means we rely more on our gut reaction - ideal for making the most out of our creative minds.

In some working environments, silence is golden, however this is not a view that is often agreed with in creative agencies. Most believe that the louder the music, the better. However there is evidence to show that a middle ground is best for working conditions. A moderate level of noise (70 to 80 db) actually improves creative thinking, compared to environments with very low or high levels of noise. This is because at that level, our brains have a subliminal distraction from the task in hand, and so we don’t over think what we are doing.

As a result, trying to come up with a big, creative idea will feel easier as our minds are more free to ‘think outside the box’. This website: even allows listeners to tune in to mundane background noise in order to get more creative.

There are, of course, several other factors of our environments that affect our creativity, but those listed above are all elements that can easily be manipulated, allowing us to get the most out of unlocking our creative minds.


Sources:, Written by Major Tian, Copyright © CKGSB Knowledge


Right brain

We can now analyse the factors affecting the right side of the brain, in order to give us a balanced view of making the most of our creativity. 

Whilst the more physical elements such as light and sound effect our left side of the brain, the more situational elements of an environment are more commonly associated with affecting the right side of our brains.

We have learnt that the noise levels of an environment can impact on how creative we are, but what about the type of noise we listen to? Everyone has different musical tastes, and most people would agree that this is an indication to your personality. However the type of music we listen to whilst working can apparently directly affect our creativity. The more classical and instrumental genres of music are best for allowing creative juices to flow as there is just the right amount of distraction, without too much noise or lyrics to disrupt our thinking.

The balance between having fun at work, and actually getting the job you are paid to do done can sometimes be a difficult one to strike. It is commonly believed that too many distractions can be bad in a working environment, however sometimes the best creative thinking happens when your mind is not forced into sitting down to the same tasks for hours on end, and taking a break allows ideas to come more easily. Many creative agencies have environments set up for this. For example, at CAB we have regular opportunities to take a step back and let our brains recharge, whether it be our 4 o clock snacks, or even having a quick coffee break with another colleague. As long as the working environment allows you to feel comfortable and you can trust those around you, your creativity will flourish and allow you to get the most from your right brain.

Being surrounded by talented individuals is key to sharing knowledge and boosting creativity, but the things that surround us can also help this too. It is important to be surrounded by things that engage us to keep our minds constantly inspired. To sit and stare at four blank walls all day would do the right side of our brains no good at all, so having mood boards, collections of inspiring work, and ideas walls around you will help boost creativity.

Allowing our brains to be the most creative they can be is obviously dependant upon many things, but by utilising some of the ways of working that have been discussed, anyone can start thinking that little bit more creatively.