Alexander
Rulkens
interaction designer creative coder explorer

Studio Ludens

Design tools for creatives

Our motto: 'I create therefore I am'

In 2006 Studio Ludens was founded by Wouter Walmink and me. We started this design company to help people be more creative by letting them design their own products.

We build online design tools that are fun and easy to use and integrate them with modern production techniques like laser-cutting, 3D printing and CNC milling.

Year

2006 - now

My role

(Interaction) Designer, entrepreneur, programmer

Team

Wouter Walmink

,

Henri Schröter (intern: graphic design, programming)

,

Lotte van der Zanden (intern: graphic design, promotion)

Links

The Studio Ludens website

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The creative process

As interaction designers we know how important the creative process is to us. It allows us to tackle problems that are complex and involve many different stakeholders and requires up-to-date knowledge of a variety of technologies. So, before you can become a designer, you need to have a lot of skills under your belt. For a lot of people who want to be creative this is a major hurdle. What if we as designers can facilitate the process for others in a playful way and become both leaders and teachers? That is our goal with Studio Ludens.

Tinkering with electronics for the Elise robot

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Facilitate by play

During my education I became interested by the idea of playful interaction. By incorporating elements of games - exploration, discovery and reward - into my design I saw that people were guided past their comfort zone and discovering their creative abilities much more naturally. I used this approach throughout my career. With every design tool and workshop I facilitated peoples natural curiosity and their abilities to learn from play.

Repper presented at our new studio opening

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Building tools

Over the past years we have built more than 15 different tools based on our own ideas, or for clients. I have learned how to guide people in their creative process in such a way that it feels they have complete freedom, while still making sure the results are always produceable. Abstracting the technical difficulties while giving people as much joy and freedom has been the most challenging aspect of my work.

Video overview of the tools we built

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In the field

Another important aspect of being a designer and an entrepreneur is to validate assumptions about users' behaviour in the real world and incorporate the results in your design process. I have a hands-on approach to this. In the early stages I like to build quick prototypes and present them to potential users. Once a tool is more developed we organize workshops to engage people in a more direct way. The results of workshops have been rewarding in both the knowledge we gained of our users and the fun I had in seeing people get creative with our tools.

Prototyping designs at one of the many workshops we organized

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Studio Ludens has exhibited their tools and products around Europe, in cities like Eindhoven (Dutch Design Week), Amsterdam, Berlin and Milan (Fuori Salone del Mobile).

Exhibiting in Milan - lux:ludens lasercut lamps

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