How to Create Intricate Domino Designs

Dominoes are a favorite toy for many children. They love setting them up in a straight or curved line and flicking the first one to see the entire domino effect tumble down. For Lily Hevesh, a domino artist whose YouTube channel has more than 2 million subscribers, creating these incredible designs is not just about fun—it’s also a science-based process. In fact, she says the most important physical phenomenon at work in her projects is gravity—the force that pulls a knocked-over domino toward Earth and sends it crashing into the next one until the entire chain is complete.

The first thing Hevesh does when she’s working on a new project is consider what theme or purpose the design should serve. Then she brainstorms images or words that relate to that theme and creates a domino layout that captures those ideas. Finally, she tests her layout to ensure that it will fall the way she wants it to. Her most intricate creations can take several nail-biting minutes to set in motion—and they’re not always easy to break down, either. Hevesh has worked on team projects involving 300,000 dominoes and helped set a Guinness world record for the most dominoes toppled in a circular arrangement. But if the dominoes don’t collapse in just the right way, the whole arrangement falls apart.

Hevesh says the key to success is understanding how each piece works with its neighbors—and that starts with a good plan. She also works on breaking up a complex task into several good dominoes that will have a big impact. For example, working on a budget may sound like a big and intimidating task, but it can be broken down into several good dominoes, such as outlining your finances, creating a financial plan, and executing that plan.

While dominoes are commonly used in positional games, they’re also found in free-form and patterning games. The rules of these games vary, but the most common is that each player draws dominoes until they run out—or until a player “chips out” and passes play to their opponent. The winning player is the one with the most points, which are awarded by counting the number of spots (or pips) on opposing players’ tiles. (There are some exceptions: doubles count as one or two, and a double-blank tile may count as either 0 or 14.)

The concept behind Domino’s marketing strategy is to leverage the popularity of major events in order to drive brand awareness and sales—and it’s a formula that’s proven successful for many brands. For example, Domino’s recently leveraged the popularity of Valentine’s Day to drive interest in its delivery services and increase sales online. Domino’s delivery drivers even dressed up as cupids to help spread the word.