Semiotics continued.

This week Scott extended on the topic of semiotics by discussing the in’s and out’s of denotation and connotation. Before the class, i read an article that was placed on the Moodle website titled, “Pay Attention to the World”. Well, that was quite a long read for so early in the morning! However, it proved to be quite thought provoking and a wonderful read into how one should write in order to create an immersive story world. This was a quote from the transcript that I found to be quite enjoyable and relatable: “A novelist, then, is someone who takes you on a journey. Through space. Through time. A novelist leads the reader over a gap, makes something go where it was not…In other words, a novel is the creation not simply of a voice but of a world. It mimics the essential structures by which we experience ourselves as living in time, and inhabiting a world, and attempting to make sense of our experience.”  I just thought that this was such a beautiful insight into what a novelist truly is; what their role in society is and how they really impact the way in which we immerse ourselves in worlds; both real and fiction.

Okay, so we cover so much in class; I don’t really want to go over everything we spoke about because breaking down every part will result in such a long blog! We watched three youtube clips; the common theme being that of how we as humans and story tellers use metaphorical language in order to carry a particular message across, or to stand in as a sign or symbol for a deeper or hidden meaning.

This lead on into what denotation and connotation means; surface information and the deeper more informative, abstract meanings. We explored how we tell stories though imagery; using advertising as an example of this. One example was a poster for cigarettes. The denotative message is that there is a woman and man, leaning inward looking at one another. There is a cigarette in the mans hand, he’s blowing smoke onto/around her face. However the connotative meaning within this lays in conjunction with the text and images. “Blow in her face and she’ll follow you anywhere”- a sexual innuendo placed alongside imagery of a woman who is endearingly staring at a suave looking male; he holds the cigarette; symbolising control, power, dominance. The woman however is loose; wearing a low cut singlet, exposing the chest and bosom ever so slightly, daringly leaning closer into his presence with lips parted, long lashes, bright eyed. This is all just one big sexual innuendo used to create a lifestyle type story surrounding this particular brand of cigarette.

I really enjoy reading into connotative meanings within imagery (especially in advertisements) because the whole world is filled with connotations and hidden messages that we are engaging with on a daily basis; we may not realise but they really influence the way in which we choose to live within the world.

“Semiotics is important for designers as it allows us to understand the relationships between signs, what they stand for, and the people who must interpret them — the people we design for.”

– Challis Hodge


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