Illustrious Festivals - The three phases of an artist's evolution

If up until a few years ago illustration was seen as something exclusively linked to paper and the world of illustrated books, today the illustrator is an element that is part of a creative chain that spans several areas: from communication, to animation, advertising and social networks. Thanks to the Illustri Festival, every two years, it is possible to admire the works of the best national and international illustrators. In this case study we explore, in detail, the concept and the preparation of the IVth edition of the exhibition “Illustri Festival” followed by Manaly.


Illustri Festival is an event that returns every two years to color Vicenza, involving all corners of the city, from large historic buildings such as the Basilica Palladiana to small cultural associations, with a busy schedule of events dedicated to a passionate and curious public.

Manaly dealt in particular with the main exhibition which took place at the Basilica Palladiana and which was divided into three exhibition structures. The latter were designed to reflect the stages of growth of an artist, identified as “Saranno illustri”, “Illustri” and “Maestri Illustri”.

The first was the exhibition that presented the emerging talents of Italian illustration. Eleven young artists who had already achieved significant goals in the market and who, therefore, were ready for definitive consecration.

The second was the collective exhibition which, as per tradition, presented the elites of the Italian scenario: eleven established talents who exhibited their creativity, in which the common thread is recognition on the Italian and international market.

The last was a novelty of this edition: a section of the exhibition entirely dedicated to one of the protagonists of the history of Italian illustration: Guido Scarabottolo, an architect who works as an illustrator and graphic designer especially in publishing, whose work has reached the Basilica Palladiana to inaugurate “Illustrious Masters”.


Illustri Festival is organized by the Illustri Association with the Department of Culture of the Municipality of Vicenza in collaboration with the Gallerie d’Italia – Vicenza, museum headquarters of Intesa Sanpaolo.

Illustri is the home of Italian illustration, a point of reference for illustrators, an active professional network that creates opportunities to meet with established artists and excellences but also with emerging talents.

Founded in 2014, in these years of activity Associazione Illustri has created four editions of Illustri Festival with more than 30 exhibitions held and more than 250 illustrators involved in events, workshops and meetings throughout Italy and beyond.


Manaly’s idea was to create a new proposal, in which the exhibition method should have been renewed compared to that of the last editions.

In particular, the aim was to create light and elegant exhibition structures, which would allow the exhibited works to be maximized through architectural forms and lighting, and which at the same time would be more closely linked to the evocative atmosphere given by the Palladian Basilica.

All in function of the creation of a precise path in which to transport the visitor.


Starting from the concept of the three phases of the artist’s evolution and taking inspiration from the metamorphosis of a butterfly (from the cocoon to the butterfly), three types of structures have been developed.

The first, for Saranno Illustri, is a more closed structure, made up of morals and panels painted in a light gray color and wrapped in a cloth of the same colour.

The second, for Illustri, is a semi-open structure, made up of wooden beams and panels painted anthracite gray and, only in some points, closed by sheets always of the same colour.

The third, for Maestri Illustri, is an open structure, black and already existing, for which only lighting has been hypothesized.

From one structure to another the physicality changes, as we start from a more subtle installation and arrive at a more important one and the colors, which vary from light gray to black. Neutral colors have been chosen to give greater prominence and adequately enhance the vivid illustrations on display. Another color scheme would not have been conceptually in line with what one wanted to express.

The predominantly used materials are wood and a “see-through” fabric which acts as both a window and a barrier for the visitor: in this way he is forced to continue the journey as it is indirectly suggested to him.

Conclusion and Testimony

Thanks to the team of professionals present in Manaly, we have managed to obtain an excellent result, satisfying the expectations of the customer and the visitor.

Illustri is a non-profit association which, for several years, has given us the opportunity to contribute to enhancing the world of illustration in our city, a pulsating and collective heritage made up of works but above all of people.

“We at Associazione Illustri were happy to collaborate with Manaly also in this edition of the festival. In particular for this latest edition we appreciated the idea of ​​the concept for the Basilica Palladiana, as well as the professionalism and punctuality that has always distinguished the Manaly company.”

Illustri Association