Ludwig Bistronovsky – How to Create Interest

Ludwig Bistronovsky is the art director in Art Lebedev Studio. He did a talk about how to creat interest (in Russian). To remeber the material and get most important ideas I made a summary.

Ludwig creates interest by solving several tasks simultaneously. Those tasks should be complex. He switches those tasks. Ludwig sets up an assembly line to solve those tasks. To lower the pressure he uses breaks, sport, travelling. He uses the generator of unexpected events, which he does not control. He tries to solve hard tasks counterintuitively in topics where he has not succeed yet. He focuses his attention on solving the task, but not on how to make life interesting.

To create interest don’t work too hard

The harder you try – the more boring it gets. There is no interest when it is forced. As an example, Ludwig suggests hosts on a wedding who are trying hard to make the event fun. Eventually, they fail.

Interesting experience is here

It seems that interesting events are somewhere there. Adults think that kids have the most interesting life. Likewise, kids believe that adults have the most interesting life. Another project is more fun to do. Another company has a more attractive job. Another designer is having a time of his life and etc. However, the most interesting things are here. The trick is to find them instead of switching to a newbie’s brain.

Changing the workplace, travelling to new destinations, meeting new people or updating the twitter feed are examples of newbie’s brain. Receiving new information or experiences are always interesting.

To make interesting experince choose a hard task

Harder than you usually do. The evolution encourages solving hard tasks and motivates us to continue. The best if you don’t understand how to solve that problem. If you don’t know the solution – it’s very good.

If the designer never did a web page – give it to him or her. Have been only doing logotypes – try to code a web page. Was always travelling by plain – do the same but with a train. The harder it gets – it will be more interesting.

Tasks that hard, almost on a limit of your abilities, makes life interesting. However, there should be a chance that you can solve it. Difficulty should be controlled and picked up properly.

Lower the pressure

As a common mistake, designers think that with complicated tasks it’s a must to push super hard. Work 20 hours per day, no sleep or sit till morning.

Even with the hard task is important to lower the pressure. You need to plan breaks for your day because it’s the most important. Remove annoyance. As an example, Ludwig talks about deadlines.

To remove deadlines the work should be organised like an assembly line. The tasks can be done in short 15 - 20 min attempts. After each attempt, Ludwig suggests taking a pause.

Create cycles

To stay focused it’s enough to switch between tasks and do it in cycles. Designers can take several projects and switch between them one after another. Smarter people include sports, cooking and daily life activity to their cycle.

Inside the game can be several microgames. Ludwig gives an example of a tower defence game where first you shoot with your towers then upgrade them, that upgrade the character and cycle repeats. A cycle from 4 - 5 mini-games keeps a player interested and focused on a game.

With planning work or day task cycles, you still understand: those are the same events or set of goals. To shake them you need to surprise yourself.

Plan the surprise or use generator

Human mind works as prediction machine. To create a surprise there should be created expectation or tension. After the expectation is broken. To do that surprise needs to be planed.

When sailors are going to a crouse a captain arranges with a cook the menu. And some days, unexpectedly, there will be a carrot. Not scheduled or planed but by surprise.

Outside forces can be a generator of unexpected. Travel to a new place, not knowing what to expect there. Some use questions from other people to find a topic.

Counterintuitive thinking

However, it’s still hard to suprise yourself, because you know how you think, what to expect and what drives you and what is not.

Surprises, ideas, new techniques come to one phrase “What, was it possible to do it like that?” At first, it seems new idea seams strange because intuitively you are not used thinking about it this way. The key is to use counterintuitive thinking and use it as a template to solve task.

If something is failing Ludwig stops and listen to how he thinks and tries to break the pattern. An impressive solution is strange and it solves the task. Nonsense does not solve the task.