Originally conceived in 1920 while El Lissitzky was lecturing on typography at UNOVIS, the Affirmers of the New Art at Vitebsk, the artist realized this project in 1922 when he traveled to Berlin. Lissitzky intended this work as a pedagogic tale to be read by children. The artist explains: "I have set out to formulate an elementary idea, using elementary means, so that children may find it a stimulus to active play and grown-ups enjoy it as something to look at." The plates illustrate the struggle of the red square to rebuild a new social city in defiance of a threatening black square. The red square, symbol of life and the new revolutionary order with unlimited possibilities, operates against the black square, which signifies the old order, chaos, egotism, and death. It represents a story of social clashes-a clear reference to the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the triumph of Bolshevism.