INTERVIEW: Lucas Zanotto's MIXIMAL book

Following the immense success of his edutainment app venture YATATOY, Friends Electric director Lucas Zanotto is releasing his very first book, 'MIXIMAL'.

'MIXIMAL' was initially launched as an app in 2014, and invites the player to create their own creature cocktail - complete with unique sounds and looks that can produce over 10,000 unique combinations. 'MIXIMAL' is followed by 'DRAWNIMAL' and 'LOOPIMAL', which encourages the player to draw, make music and use their imagination in play. 

The glee of making up silly words and imaginary beasts transcends age, and like all of Lucas's apps, are played by adults, children and everyone in between. 

How did the idea for your YATATOY apps come about?

When my eldest daughter was about 5 years old, she was obsessed with letters and the alphabet. We bought her this Japanese origami book that had for each letter an animal you could fold out of the paper. That concept sparkled the idea for DRAWNIMAL. To create something for modern devices but with a physical interaction. DRAWNIMAL so well received, parents and children loved it - Apple even went on to feature it in one of their commercials! When we passed one million downloads I thought, why don't I make another? And so YATATOY was born.

You're a father of two, how do your children influence your work?

A lot of ideas came naturally just through playing with them! They are the biggest critics of the apps however, and have no problem with telling me if something isn't very good or "cool".

Are they fans of the apps?

I think so! They are always the first to everything but I think they've overdosed on them lately... 

(Lucas and his daughter)

Did you always envision your YATATOY apps growing legs and becoming something more, like this book?

I always thought it would be great to expand into other mediums, especially books. I love the analog physicality and longevity of books. I'm really excited to be publishing with Callaway, who are just publishing icons. 

What's been your favourite 'MIXIMAL' creation?


What's next??

We're launching our fourth app 'BANDIMAL' on the 30th November which we're really thrilled about! It's one of the first music apps for kids that focuses on composition and encourages them to actually make their own tracks. Essentially, the end goal is to bring the joy of music closer to kids.