Semiology: The Study of Signs:

  • Interpretation is based on the subject & their visual language & culture;
  • Meaning of signs can change over time, between cultures;
  • Media and popular culture can and often do shape visual language.

Guinness Semiotic Study Methodology:

  • Guinness recruited semiotics experts to study competing beer ads;
  • The study produced a “decoding kit” which analysed beer print and television ads;
  • Ads were broken into signs: verbal and sound cues (“psst” sound of a bottle opening, light shining through a golden liquid, condensation on a glass etc.);
  • These cues were grouped into core ideas: Refreshment, Beer Appreciation, Feeling of Belonging;
  • Final step was to plot competitor’s strategies in chart or table form for a holistic view.

Ceci n’est pas une pipe:

  • Image, typographic treatments, medium all impact viewer’s perception;
  • Take-away from communication can vary widely from person to person;
  • Text and imagery are independent of each other and must be arranged hierarchically;

Death of an Author

  • Death of an Author postulates an author’s intentions and background should hold no weight when coming to an interpretation of their writing;
  • Mallarme stressed the importance of linguistic analysis (“it is language that speaks, not the author”);
  • “A text’s unity lies not on its origin but on its destination.”