Semiotics Definition- Derived from the Greek word meaning sign.

Semiotics doesn’t mean literal road signs. It explains how our intelligence gives the sign meaning, and our interpretation is based on what our learning. In the 19th century, a Swiss linguist named Fernand de Saussure. He was one of the first to realise that the spoken and written language was not instinctive, but in fact learned. We live in a society where ideologies and conventions are shared amongst everyone. How we understand the communication is part our our learning and knowledge and doesn’t just happen out of the blue.

Saussure developed a theory for the process of communication. He split this up into three categories:

  • The Sign
  • The Signifier – what you think it is, i.e from past experiences, knowledge etc.
  • The Signified –  word or picture/ written or spoken. How is the message communicated.



Denotation – What you see, or the simplest form of description.

Connotation – is what feelings and thoughts are conjured up by our previously learned knowledge.

In relation to the subcultures project, semiotics will aid me when selecting imagery as I will be focusing on a group of people that will have an interest in the same fashion, hairstyles, music, etc. It will also help with my divergent thinking, even though these things are quite obvious in relation to the subculture i’m researching, I wish to develop these ideas further, but still attracting the desired audience.


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