Matteo Loglio on breaking down the complex world of AI into child-friendly illustration and art

Creative publishing house Corraini has released a new book for children by Matteo Loglio on the current AI and technological landscape.

2 August 2021

Product designer, ed-tech entrepreneur, and creative technology company Oio co-founder Matteo Loglio has funnelled his talents into a new book called Many Intelligences, a book that showcases the weird and wonderful world of singularity and autonomous objects, such as self-driving cars and smart toasters. Designed mainly with children in mind, the publication is bursting with information, colour, and spectacular images of AI – a first of its kind for the genre.

No one is better suited to write such a book than Matteo. Oio, for example, “designs and creates products and experiences using emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, augmented reality, blockchain,” he tells us. “Our team is a hybrid of humans and machines and our creative director, Roby, is an artificial intelligence.” Matteo works mainly to break down complex subjects into simple and accessible pieces of information for people who have limited knowledge of the tech world. “The book falls exactly into this area of work,” he says. “AI, singularity, and general discussions about the future of humanity are often driven by silicon valley technological utopianism, and I simply wanted to talk about these subjects from an everyday perspective, simple enough for a child to understand.”

The book is full of questions about the future of intelligence and AI, such as “what happens when your toaster is intelligent enough to decide to stop toasting bread and study literature instead?” and “what are the legal rights of a self-aware frying pan?” With cleverly inserted images of these AI products and Matteo’s concise yet whimsical point of view, there is no need for answers but simply the imperative to ask more questions. “The vision for Many Intelligences was to create something that felt more like a product than a book,” Matteo says.I tried to blend illustration, typography, and narrative in a single consistent experience, where you can’t really separate the original elements from each other.” The book is easily digestible in one sitting, but equally as rewarding to return to. Positive scenarios on the future of AI light the way for Matteo, and he cleverly reorientates the gloomy gaze that is regularly cast over intelligent tech.


Matteo Loglio: Many Intelligences (Copyright © Matteo Loglio 2021)

“Working with Milan-based publishing house Edizioni Corraini was definitely a key component in the success of the vision, as they are the go-to publishing house for design giants and a new wave of young emerging design talents,” Matteo says on bringing the vision to life. From working with Edizioni Corraini, Matteo has made a beautifully minimalist and accessible yet intelligent book. “I approached it by outlining a narrative structure that supports many layers, from children-familiar subjects all the way to complex philosophical topics.”

“The illustration style is deliberately kept essential, everything is reduced to primitive forms, geometries and simple colours,” Matteo explains. “Grammar rules do not exist in the book, there’s no uppercase nor punctuation, as words and typography are treated as a figurative element, often complementing the illustrations.” Text and images float amorphously between each other, and the page is filled sporadically and randomly so as to generate the effect of movement. “The colour palette is designed to support the narrative,” Matteo adds. “For example, the AI always appears in a lavender-lilac tone so as to make it simple to understand when an object is intelligent or not, and it also contributes to creating this unified vision of a different intelligence.”

The visual influences range from designer books for children in the 60s and 70s to childrens’ book designer Bruno Munari to Fredun Shaur, a British toy designer. “Designers at that time were trying to shape serially manufactured products into a domestic reality, making them fun and playful, beyond functional,” Matteo explains. “They were showing the beauty and poetry of machines, serial production and industrialised cities, and that’s what contemporary designers are doing today with technology.”

Spliced in with the illustrations and graphics of AI are elegant moments of humanity, such as the drawing of a human hand which is a particular favourite of Matteo’s. “My other favourite spread is certainly the one with the toaster on one page and the lawnmower on the other, where I talk about self-aware objects,” he adds. “I think that spread is really the core of the book, the eye of the duck, as it really synthesises a very complex subject and thought process, as well as philosophical concepts, future visions, and beyond-human transcendence in a very simple anecdote: what happens when our self-aware lawnmower gets tired of cutting grass?”

GalleryMatteo Loglio: Many Intelligences (Copyright © Matteo Loglio 2021)

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Matteo Loglio: Many Intelligences (Copyright © Matteo Loglio 2021)

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About the Author

Joey Levenson

Joey is a freelance design, arts and culture writer based in London. They were part of the It’s Nice That team as editorial assistant in 2021, after graduating from King’s College, London. Previously, Joey worked as a writer for numerous fashion and art publications, such as HERO Magazine, Dazed, and Candy Transversal.

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