Semiotics and Logo Designs


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Semiotics and Logo Designs

  1. 1. Analysing Media Texts Using Semiotics What is this?
  2. 2. Semiotics Semiotics is a way of analysing any mediatext to uncover the ways it creates meaningfor its target audience. Some key terms insemiotics are sign, code, denotation andconnotation. Media texts, like the magazine ad on theright (from a charity’s campaign againstverbal abuse), can be made powerful andcompelling. If you’ve been to any recent film at amultiplex cinema with an ultra-wide screenand surround Dolby 5.1 sound, you’ll haveexperienced how very realistic mediacompanies can now make their‘representations’ of the world… So believable, often, that it really doesseem as if the media is able to offer us a‘window on the world’.
  3. 3. Semiotics Semiotics provides important ways for you to be able to ‘deconstruct’a media text so you can work out how it is working on its targetaudience to create particular meanings and feelings. Sometimes, too, a media text will be working to create or reinforce aparticular way of viewing or thinking about the world. Semioticians believe that when we, as humans, put ‘things’ togetherto create some kind of meaning, we end up saying far more thansimply what the things in themselves ‘say’, that is, we create ‘codesof meaning’.
  4. 4. Signs are important because they can mean something other than themselves Stop means Stop Apple means Apple Crown means Crown Crown means King Apple means Healthy Stop means Danger
  5. 5. The interpretation of a sign is dependent on the context in which it is used, it’s relationship to other signs, and its environment.
  6. 6. There are numerous relationships that can exist between signifier and signified. We can have the same signifier with different signifieds and different signifiers with the same signified. Signifier Signified Signifier Signified Apple Temptation Apple Apple Apple Healthy Pomme Apple Apple Fruit Apfel Apple
  7. 7. Sign Signifier Signified Denotation Connotation
  8. 8. Three Types of Signs • Icon - a sign that physically resembles what it stands for - a literal sign • Index - a sign which implies some other object or event - an implied sign • Symbol - a sign with a conventional or arbitrary relation to the signified - a learned sign CAT
  9. 9. Icon The signifier is perceived as resembling or imitating the signified. A pictoral representation, a photograph, an architect’s model of a building, or a star chart are all icons because they imitate or copy aspects of their subject.
  10. 10. Index An index had a factual or casual connection that points towards its object. Wet streets are a sign that it has rained recently. Smoke signifies fire. A nest image is an icon of a nest but also an index of a bird.
  11. 11. Symbol A symbol has an arbitrary relationship between the signifier and the signified. The interpreter understands the symbol through previous knowledge and experience - it must be learned and agreed upon. Spoken or written words are symbols. There is no reason that the word CAT should represent a cat instead of a tree. CAT
  12. 12. Clothing Semioticians would say that a common andimportant ‘sign system’ is the clothing we eachuse to cover our bodies. They say that clothingmeans far more – in our culture – than merely toact as a body covering. Instead, we use clothing as a series ofmeaningful signs that are placed together tocreate an even more meaningful code, one thatour ‘audience’ (i.e. those we dress to impress!)can ‘crack’ and so ‘read’ that we are trying tosay… ‘I’m cool’, ‘I’m a Goth’, ‘I’m a Hippy’...serious, fashionable, clever… and perhaps mostespecially, that ‘I am an individual’ and ‘…notpoor’, ‘street wise’… and whatever else we deemimportant to us in our society. The individual clothes or the fabric from whichthey are made don’t say this in themselves, ofcourse, they denote merely, clothes; but theindividual signs work together to create a codethat connotes mush more than, merely clothes.
  13. 13. Sign Systems There are, in semiotics, manysuch ‘sign systems’:architecture, cosmetics, homeand office furnishings, restaurantmenus, and so on. In fact, ‘signsystems’ are all around us if wecould but see and recognise thatwe so often do not want to justdenote literal meaning, we wantto connote ideas and feelings.Yet, those ‘sign systems’ areoften not noticeable simplybecause they seem so ordinary,so every day, so normal.
  14. 14. Task Think of these three signs: a teenage boy, a teenage girl, a redrose. Are they gardeners or are they romantically attached? Can you think up more ‘signs’ that work together to create‘extra’ meaning beyond the obvious? Here’s another to helpyou along: a man and a woman in their late twenties; a child ofthree, a child of six months, a swing, a garden, sunshine, bluesky… What was the code? A happy family – a normal family… (butare all families like this? Is it a genuine representation ofreality)
  15. 15. Escape Advert Look at the signs and theresulting codes thes constructin the image to the right. Can you deconstruct it intosome of its individual signs andsee how these seem, so verynaturally, to work together tocreate a code that signifies orconnotes meaning (andfeeling) much larger than theindividual meaning of the signsthemselves?
  17. 17. BRAND The audience’s perception of the product. A product’s brand is influenced by, but can’t be controlled by the company or the designer.
  18. 18. .......................................a combination of the logo ........................................................... .....and a visual system ..............................(typeface, colours, imagery) .............................. .... to form a cohesive message TM IDENTITY
  19. 19. Joy, Intellect, Caution, Cowardice, Youth Fertility, Money, Healing, Success, Growth Knowledge, Tranquility, Calm, Peace, Cool Royalty, Wisdom, Spirituality, Imagination Creativity, Invigoration, Warmth, Energy Passion, Anger, Stop, Battle, Love, Blood THE MEANING OF COLOUR
  21. 21. Task An ident is the symbol or logo displayed by studios to mark their work as their own. You need one for all your work. Think about what you want to symbolise and then think about a signifier that will do the job! Have a look at some major studio idents for inspiration. What features are common? What palette is most popular? Which is best? Why?
  22. 22. A good logo should identify rather than explain work in black and white be the foundation of a visual system work for a variety of media be recognisable at a distance
  23. 23. Simple recap: An important recognition is that the meaning created by a sign or acode is often of two distinct types: 1All signs have a DENOTATION. This is its ‘basic meaning’: what it ‘literally’ is on its own, away from the context of, say, the advert it is in, e.g. a red rose denotes... a flower. •Signs and codes can have a secondary suggested meaning –called a CONNOTATION. This is the meaning that develops within a certain context, e.g. arose can connote romance and love.
  24. 24. Recap To recap: semiotics is the study of the way meaning is created within a particular culture orsociety… by its various sign systems. It applies not only to media texts but to all kinds ofhuman creations. It offers a truly important way of deconstructing and analysing all kinds ofmedia texts. 1A sign is defined as any single thing that creates separate meaning on its own. Signs usuallydenote meaning when viewed individually. 2A code is defined as a collection or group of signs that seem – to us in our society or culture – to ‘go naturally together’ and thus to seem a part of a single thing that creates a larger meaning than the individual signs from which it is made. •The meaning created by a code is always greater than that of the individual signsfrom which it is constructed (remember… romance is the meaning (and feeling!); the code is made up of a few signs: a boy, a girl, a red rose… a smile, bright eyes, rosy cheeks… … …) 1Of course, the signs that ‘go together’ to create a code cannot be just any signs at all: they must be composed of just those signs that we as members of a particular society or culture recognise as somehow ‘going together naturally’ to create an overall meaning.