Throughout the production of a series, a lot goes on behind the scenes in regards to planning and design, which often go through multiple stages before resulting in the final version that is seen on screen. Some concepts and ideas can have an effect on the show and characters, and unexpected occurrences during production can also lead to changes and additions to the plans for the show.
Monty Oum stated during the August 21st, 2014, Rooster Teeth livestream that Neo's design is partially based on a presentation-play cosplay of Torchwick made by one of his friends (Sonja Carter aka SoulFire Photography).
Her color scheme is based around Neapolitan ice cream.
According to Gray G. Haddock, Neo was created from scratch about ten days prior to her debut after Monty had the idea for her. She was inserted into the shots of the White Fang rally in "Painting the Town..." just a couple of days before the episode was finished.
According to The World of RWBY: The Official Companion, Neo's Semblance, Overactive Imagination, was created because Monty needed Roman and Neo to exit during "Painting the Town..." but having them escape was hard to animate, and it was decided having them shatter instead would be easier.
Animator Paula Decanini described Neo as "the funnest character to animate", given that her mute nature forces her personality to express through facial expressions and body language.
After Volume 3, Rooster Teeth changed animation software from Poser Pro 2013 to Autodesk Maya. With this change, the animation department also made all new models for RWBY.