Russian Constructivism by Eldrin Banares


In October 1917, the Bolsheviks started a revolution that changed the entire socioeconomic, political, and cultural landscape of Russia. The spirit of the revolution spread into the arts and design, especially in the avant-garde movement of Russian Constructivism. Constructivist artists and designers sought to replace the ideas, traditions, and artistic conventions of the past with constructions, which would serve functional purposes in the new Communist society.

In graphic design, constructed objects use bold typography and photomontage. The colour palette is striking, though it is usually limited to red, white, and black, symbolic of the revolutionary struggle of the Reds (workers) against the Whites (aristocrats). Compositionally, Constructivism implements dynamic elements such as diagonal axes, angled typography, and geometric shapes.

For this six-word summary, I chose words that encapsulate the themes and visual characteristics of the movement: experimental, unconventional, modern, dynamic, geometry, and bold. ‘Experimental’ and ‘Unconventional’ refer to ideas brought about by Constructivism, in which new, often striking forms of media replaced the old and elitist status of traditional art. I chose ‘Modern’ as Constructivism is the product of a rapidly industrializing society, fueled by new, revolutionary ideas. Lastly, the words ‘Dynamic’, ‘Geometry’, and ‘Bold’ represent the visual characteristics of graphic design in the Russian Constructivist style.

My design is the culmination of what these six words represent and of existing designs. I was inspired by Alexander Rodchenko’s Books (Please)! In All Branches of Knowledge (1924) and poster for the Russian state airline Dobrolet (1923), and El Lissitzky’s Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge (1919) and book cover for The ISMs of Art (1924). 



Alexander Rodchenko, poster for Dobrolet airline, 1923


Alexander Rodchenko, Books (Please)! In All Branches of Knowledge poster, 1924


El Lissitzky, The ISMs of Art book cover, 1924


El Lissitzky, Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge poster, 1919


Strizver, Ilene. “Russian Constructivism and Graphic Design”., September 27 2017,

Ng, Tracee. “Constructivism Movement Overview and Analysis”. The Art Story, The Art Story Contributors,

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