Examining Signo – Applied Semiotics Theories

Semiotics is the intellectual tradition of interpreting information and comprehension of signs. Signs are the epitome of communication as they relay the visual information which we translate. Therefore, semiotics interprets how meaning is created and communicated and the degree of representation of information ensures successful information interpretation. This paper focuses on the “secrecy” denoted in the information conveyed by the media in terms of advertisements to capture the attention of different audiences.

The signs and symbols used in every information from the type of colour used relay different information which without a keen look or understanding leads to misinterpretation of information. Interpretation and understanding of signs involve physical elements of objective existence {Tsotra et al} In the above advertisement of a type of make-up, three women of different skin tones, wearing different outfits with different makeup shades is used. The brand logo is used to go hand in hand with the physical posture of the women to show and prove their flexibility and acceptance of this type of make-up. The deep meanings within media follow a model of semiotics which are the Signifier and the signified whereas the signifier may contain objects like background while the signified is the concepts in the mind or the interpretation of the brain towards the information conveyed. {Tsotra et al} adds that there is no perfect combination of a signifier/ signified but a combination is required for proper understanding. In our case, the use of three different women of three different colours is used to show the three different shades which imply that the make-up is suitable not only for few individuals but also for everyone in the globe.

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Semiotics is a collective theory with different theorists. As stated earlier it entails the signifier which can be related as the “-form” and the signified which is the content of the information. The standard traffic sign is used to justify this information. In the case of Redundancy and Noise, the shapes {rectangle for red and circle to indicate green} and position{ top, middle, bottom} are used to indicate redundancy which is the repetitive process while noise is the interpretation of the transmitted information. The other significant model is the Arbitrariness and Convention as (Marchand) states that there is a correlation between a colour and its signified{arbitrary} which when joined correctly is easy to interpret as the sign relies on a convention. This is explained according to different cultures whereby the red colour in some cultures indicate danger or harmful thus the red colour in traffic signs means stop while in other cultures like Australia and japan associate the yellow colour with stop which is the exact opposite for getting ready in other cultures(Marchand). In the above case involving the advertisement, the choice of using make-up is used to enhance beauty as compared to those who don’t apply makeup. On top of that, the advertisement is used to show that the makeup is applied to different skin tones which means it fits different types of women. The advertisement also shows that the make-up is used for every occasion and the relaxed posture portrays the comfortability the makeup gives when applied. Lastly, the use of the brand logo in a large font is used to catch the eye of the audience as it provides a logical reason why it should be purchased with the tag “1 foundation in the United States.”

In a ritual view of communication, which is about the idea of culture being developed over time, The ideas seem to be In a circular nature and using signs to pass information. In the above advertisement while considering semiotics which is the study of signs, what if the identity or the product or the brand is not clearly indicated or what if its a new brand in the market and it involves the skin which is a sensitive topic among women. The other question is what is the target audience as seen from the advert which indicates women in their mid-20s. This is a question which the older women above the advertisement age and younger adolescents ask about the product which is rated as the top foundation in the country. Semiotics is sometimes criticized as imperialistic as it is applied in almost everything as the use of signs varies whereby different sign types have different meanings in different cultures (Semiotics for Beginners: Criticisms). For instance, the use of a thumb sign in scuba diving may not be the same sign used on the road while stopping a taxi.

In conclusion, semiotic analysis plays a huge role in information relay as it separates the creative thinkers and the bystanders of a product. In any advertisement, information is hidden in shapes and colours to denote the information being passed or the criticality of the information conveyed by the target audience.























Works Cited

Marchand, Marc-Andre. Introduction to Semiotics / Signo – Applied Semiotics Theories. Signo – Louis Hebert, .

Semiotics for Beginners: Criticisms. MCS, 12 Sept. 2020, visual-memory.co.uk/daniel/Documents/S4B/sem11.html.

Tsotra, Danai, Marius Janson, and Dubravka Cecez-Kecmanovic. “Marketing on the Internet: A semiotic analysis.”AMCIS 2004 Proceedings(2004): 526.



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