21.11.16 Semiotics

Semiotics: is the study of signs, it’s from a Greek meaning “observant of signs”.  – study of how we communicate (contains meaning).


  • Fruit
  • Healthy eating
  • phone
  • films
  • fresh
  • colour
  • food
  • shape
  • events Halloween
  • doctor
  • life
  • perfume
  • life

Connotation: what you think of when you receive a bit of communication.

Ferdinand de Saussure:

Studied linguistics, especially Sanskrit, so much of what he proposed is based in language rather than visual communication.

The sign:

signsSignifier: The thing that does the work

Signified: is what you think when you see the signifier (thought).




Senses can be also be signifiers as well.

Denotation: is the simplest level of what is seen, heard, smelt, taste and touch.

Connotation: is what that means to you – the things it makes you think of.

  • abandoned house
  • could be a farm
  • looks like it’s in America
  • Damaged from a storm
  • Smashed windows
  • No doors
  • House is made out of wood
  • wires hanging down

Anchoring: when you put a caption with the photo/ art work to manipulate the image and how it is view/ interpreted.

Polysemic image: image with many meanings

Headlines for photo:

  • Devastation disaster
  • Hurricane hits homes


Image of doctor headlines:

Doctor isn’t really a doctor


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