Piet Zwart and Paul Schuitema were leading Dutch constructivists. Trained as an architect, Zwart began working in graphic design at the age of thirty-six, and, although influenced by De Stijl, he rejected its reliance on horizontals and verticals. In 1938, Zwart referred to his method as functional typography.
Like the Russian constructivists, he saw his task as creating 'the typographical look of our time, free in so far as it is possible from tradition; to activate typographic forms to find clear and ordered visual ways of expression, to define the shape of new typographic problems, methods and techniques and to discard the guild mentality.
Zwart called himself a 'Typotekt' a combination of the words typographer and architect and saw the graphic designer's essential mission as one of constructing with typographic material and other visual elements, as an architect would design a building. Especially in the cover design, El Lissitzky's influence is highly evident in Zwart's 1926 calendar booklet providing information on wire cables manufactured by the Netherlands Cable Works Ltd.
Schuitema believed that 'every item, every letter, every picture, every sound, every colour should have its function.