How Dominos Are Made

Domino is a flat thumb-sized rectangular block, blank on one side and bearing from one to six dots (or pips) on the other, 28 such pieces making up a full domino set. The pips on each domino are arranged in suits, normally two—one containing the numbers one through eight and the other containing blanks or zeroes. Each domino may be played only when its corresponding end matches a previously laid domino with its own matching end. The shape of the resulting chain gradually increases in length as each player takes turns to play dominoes. Depending on the game being played, the first player to reach a particular target score wins. Most games also permit players to award points for a number of rounds reached by the opponent. A 6-6 plays as 6, and a double-blank plays as 0—again, depending on the rules of a specific game.

Dominos are often used to construct intricate and beautiful structures, ranging from 3-D arrangements to long lines of dominoes toppled in rows. But constructing such incredible displays is not easy. A great deal of preparation is required, and even then the process can be nail-biting as each domino must fall exactly where it’s supposed to according to the laws of physics.

As the world’s largest pizza delivery company, Domino’s is no stranger to high-profile stunts. But there is substance behind their recent investments in a purpose-built pizza delivery vehicle and delivery by drones. These initiatives are designed to boost engagement and sales, especially on days like Valentine’s Day when Dominos sees a large surge in ecommerce orders.

But the company’s true secret to success lies in its core values—a commitment to listen to employees and customers, and to champion them as individuals. This principle is embodied by Domino’s CEO, Steve Doyle, who took over the struggling company in 2004. He implemented a series of new initiatives, including a relaxed dress code and a system for addressing employee concerns. In addition, he placed an emphasis on listening to customers—so much so that in 2011, the Detroit Free Press named Domino’s as one of its Top Workplaces.

To ensure her dominoes are properly positioned, Hevesh tests each section of an arrangement before it’s complete. She then films each individual test in slow motion to ensure that the design works—and that every domino is in its proper place. She says it’s this method that allows her to create some of the most incredible displays—including a circular arrangement made of 300,000 dominoes that earned her a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Hevesh’s meticulous preparation and attention to detail allow her to take risks that would otherwise be too dangerous for other artists. She’s helped to break a few records—including the most dominoes toppled in a circle—and has even worked on collaborative projects with musicians and architects. But despite her impressive talent, she insists that the most important factor in creating a stunning setup is understanding the basic laws of physics.