Carlo Stanga collaborates with Moleskine, encouraging us all to rediscover a world of colour post-lockdown

Here, the Italian creative tells us about his ongoing collaboration with the lifestyle brand and how, in this most recent iteration, he has combined his love of illustration and architecture.

22 June 2020


From a young age, Carlo Stanga showed a clear interest in buildings and cities. Born in a small village in northern Italy called Soncino, he was instantly inspired by “the richness of architectural examples there, from the middle ages, to the renaissance, to baroque, I could observe a large variety of architectural styles,” he tells It’s Nice That. “In addition, the presence of a big ancient castle and big city walls, made me dream a lot about fantastic cities both in the past and in the future.”

Later, at the age of eight, Carlo visited Rome and that sealed the deal for him, he recalls. “I felt very inspired by this wonderful city, in particular when I visited the Pantheon. I decided to become an architect.” It’s a dream he went onto achieve, graduating in architecture from the Polytechnic of Milan and now working as as illustrator, architect and author out of his base in Berlin. Today, this early interest feels somewhat prophetic when looking at Carlo’s recent collaboration with Moleskine, titled Colour Your City. A collection of books, with imagery created by Carlo to represent the collection, the project embodies the spirit emanating around the globe as lockdowns are lifted and we begin to re-discover our cities and local areas once again.

Carlo has worked with Moleskine several times over the years, describing how he feels “part of Moleskine family, knowing its identity and soul,” so this latest iteration marks the next step in a flourishing collaboration. It’s one that began fairly naturally, he continues, “considering that we share the same interests and subjects. I always used Moleskine sketchbooks in my work, and in addition I love architecture, sketching, city scapes, art, travel. These are the same things belonging to Moleskine’s imagination. We share the same vision.”

The architect and illustrator was, this time, tasked with creating a new image for Moleskine as the world emerges tentatively from the global Covid-19 pandemic. “The central theme was certainly about bright colours and a new life,” Carlo explains. “I decided to consider the subjects that, in my opinion, deeply describe the Moleskine identity and combine them in a whimsical and playful way.” The result is an imagined world made out of giant notebooks, referencing the familiar make-up of our cities through “bookmarks as skyscrapers, subway entrances, street lights, traffic lights, references to famous designers and architects,” and so on. It’s an image which Carlo describes as “complicated and colourful” recalling the “richness of the Moleskine world”.


Carlo Stanga

Colour is paramount to campaign’s imagery, with Carlo sticking to his signature limited colour palette, “where tones are very bright and brilliant” in order to depict “a very alive world, always in movement.” This approach to colour is echoed in Moleskine’s release of its classic notebooks but in seasonal colours as part of the Colour Your City collection. Also included among the collection are Carlo’s I Am books, a blend herringbone notebook collection, as well as 12-month classic and limited edition planners.

The past few months have seen unimaginable change take place across the world and as we emerge into the new paradigm, new ideas are also going to develop. It is at times like these, Moleskine describes, “when notebooks and sketch pads are filled with thoughts and musings, novels and treatises are written, discoveries are made, alliances are forged.” For Carlo, notebooks and sketchbooks have always been part of his process and are a tool he attributes to being “the support of my creativity”. It is often the first place where an idea or thought is captured in a tangible form; “It’s the first real birth of your concept and you immediately realise, by seeing it on the notebook, if it can work or not,” Carlo adds. For him, therefore, this project has been about inspiring others to experience that same feeling; to pick up their analogue tools and get “familiar with drawing with our natural instruments: our hands.”

It goes without saying that in times of crisis, creativity and self-expression become all the more important. For Carlo, lockdown provided a chance to “take a break from our ordinary life and deepen our identity and our soul, being more aware about our fragility, but also about our real place on earth.” He concludes by saying: “So like all the critical historic periods, and this is a very heavy crisis, it is always important to see the chance of a big change in our life. So if we have a passion we really want to follow, we have to do it now!”

Ultimately, what this new collection encourages is that we all get out of the house (as and when it is safe to do so) and rediscover a world full of hope and colour, using creativity and self-expression along the way. And that it’s not just those predisposed with a talent for drawing that can do so, creativity comes in many forms, whether it’s doodling in a notebook or organising your thoughts in a planner.


Carlo Stanga

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Moleskine believes that great ideas can start at any time and live in any form. Colour Your City, a collaboration with renowned artist Carlo Stanga, will provide you with the tools to ignite your imagination and breathe new life into your creativity.

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Carlo Stanga for Moleskine: Colour Your City

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