semiotics - the study of signs and symbols to communicate
sign - something that is representative of something else
signifier - the representation (for example, a photograph or simplification)
signified - object/idea that is being represented
icon - a sign that makes a direct reference to what it is representing, using appearance or very apparent qualities
index - a sign that implies the object indirectly
symbol - a sign which uses arbitrary marks where meanings have to be learned/taught
syntagm -a group of signs that follow a sequence that is affected by other signs around it
paradigm - an intentional decision made based on a guideline or rule.
code - paradigms with both a fixed number of units (digital) and unlimited number of units (analogue).
polysemy - something that has many meanings for one object
Notes on readingVisible Signs by Crow, pg 7-8, 12-17, 22-23, 30-33, 39-41
What is theory?
- "There are three main areas that form what we understand as semiotics: the signs themselves' the way they are organized into systems and the context in which they appear."
- Saussure (linguist, no inclusion of audience, structure) --> looked at language as a system of signs and were concerned with the underlying principles of language
- a word = signifier / object it represents = signified
- "this divorce between meaning and form is called duality"
- Peirce (more concerned with how we make sense of world around us, social process)
- sign itself, user of the sign, & the external reality
- Object [O] = external reality / Sign [representamen S/R] = similar to signifier / Interpretant [I] = similar to signified [Sd], meaning varies with the reader
Categories of Signs
- icon, index, symbol
- Peirce's three levels of properties for signs:
- firstness (qualities) - sense of something (feeling 'blue' = functions on first level)
- secondness (brute facts) - level of fact (physical relation of one thing to another)
- thirdness (law) - mental level; relates sign to object as a convention (Stars and Stripes connection to United States --> mental relationship that relies on this convention)
- all signs become classifiable as combinations of each three elements
- collection of signs that are organized in a linear sequence (b/o/o/k) guided by conventions/rules
- ex. an outfit is made up of separate garments, or syntagms --> garments are made up of sleeves, collars, cuffs --> the value of the outfit is determined by the combination of garments
- Paradigm - the units in the set are similar & each unit is obviously differs from others in set
- Ex. 'A' is part of the paradigm, the alphabet. But '5' and '+' are not
- Making choices in the paradigm of the alphabet, we get another paradigm
- b/o/o/k --> change n for o --> bonk
- meaning changes
- Ex. way we chose to apply color to a painting
- Ex. when writing poetry, rhyming words = paradigms based on sound
- digital codes - paradigms that have a fixed number of units to choose from (alphabet)
- analogue code - paradigms that have unlimited choices (musical notation)
Visual Communication by Baldwin, pg 34-37
- semiotics suggests communication is the production of meaning itself
- not a linear process from A to B (recipient)
- design is known as 'text'
- person receiving is the 'reader'
- who is the 'author'?
- why cliches work: overused signs that quickly relay information
- designers need to be aware of what things mean in context so as not to cause misunderstandings [and not subvert them, only when there is intended effect]
- signs have two levels:
- denotation: intended meaning
- connotation: understood meaning
- requirements for a sign:
- 1. signifier has to be a non-abstract object
- 2. has to refer to something other than itself
- 3. has to be understood
- understanding of a sign is relative to the person