Know Your Design Roots: The Impact of Constructivism According to FIDM Graphic Design Student, Amanda Neeff

At a Graphic Design college like FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, students study and interpret developments in design history, from the Industrial Revolution to the digital age, that influence modern graphic design.

In FIDM’s History of Design course taught by Alex Gardos, this study includes compiling a report about a specific design or art movement discussing the factors that influenced the movement, and the students’ own interpretation of its impact.

Amanda Neeff, a fourth quarter Graphic Design/Branding Student, chose to compile a report dedicated to the Constructivism design movement.

“As a graphic designer, the Constructivist movement is one of the most influential art movements,” says Neeff in the report published below. “Changes in society will be an everlasting influence on design and designers. If [society] did not have an effect on design, I do not think there would be innovation or even art movements.”

FIDM Graphic Design Student Amanda Neeff

Amanda Neeff photographed by FIDM Graphic Design Student, Brian Flores.

A graduate of Haddon Township High School in southern New Jersey, Neeff is eager to work as a magazine designer after earning her graphic design degree.

“I am probably one of the few people who still gets magazine subscriptions in the mail. Not e-mail, but in my actual mailbox,” she says. “My ultimate career goal is to be a creative director for a magazine publication.” caught up with Neeff about her career goals and passion for graphic design. Read her Q&A below.

Q&A with FIDM Graphic Design Student, Amanda Neeff

( What brought you to FIDM?
(Neeff) “Besides the warm weather of California… I was drawn to FIDM because of its strong focus within the design and merchandising field. I transferred here from another university. My Admissions Advisor here at FIDM was a huge help in deciding my major according my interests and aspirations, and I could not be more grateful to be here.”

What do you enjoy most about FIDM’s Graphic Design program so far?

“The teachers. I have never had more motivational, interesting teachers. As nerdy as it sounds, they make me excited for class and my work. They are experienced, open-minded, and sometimes a real hard-ass, but you always take away something from class that is going to stick with you throughout life as a designer. They have succeeded in so many different design fields which makes it all the better that they are here teaching future designers.”

What do you enjoy designing most?

“Any one of my teachers could tell you how obsessed I am with editorial design. I am probably one of the few people who still gets magazine subscriptions in the mail. Not e-mail, but in my actual mailbox. My ultimate career goal is to be a creative director for a magazine publication. It may end up being an online publication by the time that comes around but that will still be enjoyable.

I created a hypothetical two-page spread for Inked magazine for one of my design classes. The article I created was called “Battle Scars”. I wanted it to portray an emotional article on how tattoos are often a personal expression of grief. Another [project I did] was a designer report on artist Brian Ewing (shown below). I created a hypothetical issue of Submerge magazine with Brian Ewing on the cover.”

Publications designed by FIDM Graphic Design Student Amanda Neeff

How would you describe your Graphic Design style?
“Well thought out. I am all about the details and why I did it ‘that’ way instead of another. I do a lot of research on my subject matter. You must, must, must research because eventually you will get designer’s block and be stuck. Hell, you might just have to start all over. This has happened to me and I learned from that mistake. It’s inspiring to research and adds so much value to your design. I always thought I was just a weird kid because I cared so much about appearance and details. But now as a designer, it all makes sense. My dad still thinks I’m a weird kid but fully supports my ambitions as a designer.”

How did this report or the Constructivism movement influence or inspire you?
“The Constructivism movement had a huge impact on graphic design. Design began to serve a greater purpose. Negative space had greater intention and was noticed by the viewer. There are certain styles of typography associated with the movement that have become timeless. I just feel like this is one of the most important movements to know about as a graphic designer. Look at Shepard Fairey’s designs. Many of them scream Constructivism, like the Led Zeppelin Mothership album cover (shown below). And, hello Rodchenko! The movement is inspiring for any form of design and makes you realize how much more successful a design can be if you create with more intention.”

Shepard Fairey Led Zeppelin Mothership

Questions/comments? Email the editor, Mani O’Brien at mo’

Learn More…

Would you like to learn more about earning a Graphic Design degree or Digital Media degree from FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising? Click the link below…

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Author: Mani O'Brien

Mani O’Brien is the Online Editor for the FIDMDigitalArts Blog and the Social Media Marketing Manager for FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. She earned her bachelor of arts degree in print journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communications at Arizona State University in 2006, and Associate of Arts degree in Graphic Design (Professional Designation) at FIDM in 2010. When she’s not brainstorming social media marketing ideas or writing about the graphic design and digital media, she enjoys practicing yoga, reading magazines, and hanging out with friends and family in Los Angeles.

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