Zikai Chen (Week Two, 9/16)

After to reading this article, I found semiology and linguistics is very related to each other, I think linguistics part of the semiology because the linguistics is about speaking, people have to spend time and speak out to others, then the semiology about shows, a sign gives all the information to someone, they get meaning by themselves, and base on the reading, they talk about someone lost their voice, they can’t speak anymore. So the linguistics is a kind of limitation, is not applicable for everyone, but there is no such disadvantage from semiology.

The sign still very useful today, just like street sign (Stop, school, cation, slow, etc), every drive will understand immediately and follow the street rule, also people will see that traffic light for cross the road safely, the sign of ( ABCFD123etc) trains on New York City Subway also prove it. There are so many things that explain sometimes the sign is much better than speaking or word.

Avion Bailey (September 16)

I found our most recent reading assignment “ Course in General Linguistics” very intense and somewhat confusing. Personally, not being used to the words and format of this article, it became hard to understand what the author is trying to convey. Though what did take from the article is that language itself is very intricate and complex. In the article, he makes a distinction between speaking and writing (though the distinction with writing isn’t so clear).

I quote “Language is a system of signs that express ideas and is therefore comparable to a system of writing, the alphabet of deaf-mutes, symbolic rites, political formulas, military signals etc”. Does this mean language is a system of signs that are not physical? Therefore it must be speech, correct? Though the author makes it independent from speech. Calling it the side of speaking in which you can study or the “social side of speech”. It exists not to the individual but confined to the interactions among a community. 

What I retained from this article is, language is far more complex than just talking. It isn’t about the sounds you make or the sounds you apply to an object. It focuses on the ideas and images perceived used but auditory exchanges.

Rana Abdelnaby September 16

General Linguistics.

From reading the text, I learned that the two terms semiology and linguistics are related but have different functions. After several readings, I found that semiology deals with signs, while linguistics is the scientific study of language. Also, semiology shows what constitutes signs, the law governing them and the idea from the perspective of culture while linguistic is a part of the general science of semiology . Although it was not clear when I first read the text, I found that language is essential since it is a system of signs expressing ideas; therefore, it becomes compatible with the aspect of writing, symbolic rites, military signals or polite formulas.

Use of Signs in Everyday Language.When studying Signs, I found that they are an important aspect of life to communicate a specific idea effectively. The combination of a concept and sound-image without involving any form of speech is a sign that signifies a fact or illustration . I my daily life, I come across the need to use sign to deliver a message or emphasize a certain issue. I have seen signs being used as in traffic lights, zebra crossing and waving a hand to say goodbye or even clapping hands to appreciate something or congratulate an accomplishment.

Signs, Signifiers, and the Signified uses in Communication.In general communication, the sign emerges from a combination of signifier and signified to portray a particular concept. I come across signifier while reading and found that it can be termed as the form which the sign takes, and the signified is the concept the form takes . For instance, I can say that since a sign has both signifiers and signified, a sign with the word “Closed” when invented in a shop’s door becomes the signifier, and signified impression is “the shop is closed for business”.

Language, Graphic Communication and Visual arts Relationship.Finally, I found the concepts of language, graphic communication, and visual arts are related as they are involved in communicating a particular idea. From my personal experience and reading the text, I have learned that graphic communications use language through signs in designed visual cues to transmit a message to the viewers . Either the graphic or visual art communication is used extensively through the use of contours, shapes, color and texture not only to portray a message but also, to show emotions, experience, altitude or concept.



Assignment for September 16

Our second reading will be an excerpt from Ferdinand de Sausurre’s Course in General Linguistics. We’ll read the second and third chapters from the Introduction, as well as the first and second chapters from Part One.

Here is a PDF: Saussure_GenLing_exc

Here are the questions for this reading:
Ferdinand de Saussure’s Course in General Linguistics provides a major contribution to the study of language and introduces a new field referred to as Semiology. What distinguishes semiology from linguistics? How do we use signs in everyday language? How are signs, signifiers, and the signified employed in general communication? How are language, graphic communication and visual arts related to or distinct from one another?

Glenn Compitello September 9th

Rudimentary communication methods throughout history have been used in graphic design since the beginning. These tactics were mostly used as the basics of graphic design. 

The Bauhaus school used a “communication method of emotional detachment for a more rational and universal approach.” The bauhaus school choose to not let their emotions get in the way of their designs. This really helped make the group a powerhouse in the design world because of the strong communication with the public. This idea of “emotional detachment” is brought up a lot during the article explaining how different designers used it for a more clear and subjective message. Also dives into how a lot different eras of design like 1950-60s in how america separated themselves from the international era of design for a more Corporate approach. Now how technology is so good that the informational systems are so easy to use anyone can make designs.


Jessica Helfard talks about how designers in the past made things that challenged social and societal norms. Most designers nowadays should “approach complex problems” in a similar fashion. A modern designer can really have a stronger message if they communicate about it through their design. I think this really supports why contemporary designers should concern themselves with older designs. For example, “Rodchenko, Moholy-Nagy and Bayer attempted to actively reshape their societies through design….. New Soviet Union they transformed individual artistic intent into a collective utopian vision.”  This example really brings out the idea of understanding of using social issues in design. 


“As the new millennium unfolds, graphic designers create within a vest pulsating network in which broad audiences are empowered to produce and critique.” This example talks about how the internet has made everyone’s design accessible. Especially with social networks like pinterest anyone can upload a design and get critiqued about it. I think honestly that the vast network out in the internet can help designers mostly with newer strategies. Even just finding something that looks interesting and fun putting a individual spin on it can have a big impact. 

Avion Bailey (September 9th)

In Lupton Miller’s piece ” Counting Sheep”, he discusses, as it states, “the history of written numbers” when counting came from such a simpler time, when simplisticness was needed. Things such as counting animals one by one using objects instead of using abstract numerical values. The time of using abstract values such as Roman numerals comes from the need to access a greater audience of value ,such as 10,000, but not counting one by one. The abstract values we use today were made to represent abstract values. This not only applies to numbers but social values and economical.

By the 19th century more values started to be explored other than numbers like lines, shapes, colors. This is around the same time social and Design focused Revolutions started to appear. These same explorations moved both these centuries forward. The use of these abstract objects became representations of what we believe. Things such as, social justice, social disparity, economic injustices. Though, these values just don’t stop there. As time moved forward objects and animals also became sources of representation. Pushing our ideas forward and accessing a greater plethora of people due to technology providing a greater audience.

The values we hold dear today stem from the values our ancestors held dearly today. The accomplishments of the past are not forgotten but built upon and improved. The values that have survived are not obsolete but they are absolute. Their form changes but their purpose doesn’t.

Jeremy Eisner September 9th

To be rudimentary is to be the bare basics of a principle that structures the more advanced levels of said principle. On a general level, it is almost always important to understand the basics of something or you can never master that skill. It is impossible how to do BMX bike tricks if you can’t learn to keep your balance. You cannot program the next big video game without learning how coding works. However, Designers have a possibility of actually skipping over the rudimentary level design and still succeeding. This is because most design, nowadays, is subjective and while the structures and styles of the past can help, they are not required to make a solid design.

But that just brings up the question once again, if we don’t need the rudimentary level, why do we still need to understand it and the history behind it? As the texts discuss, design had morphed from idea to idea as time went on. When art was first conceived as an form of expression, it was considered just to be a way of the rich and wealthy to immortalize themselves forever. The idea that design was based around egocentric greed and commoners were not welcome into the more closed off and high class society. As time passes on, design took a more commercial approach and reached the major population rather than just the rich upper class. However, the text notes that while designers had the ability to be designers, they did not really think like designers. In the 50’s, designers seemingly made designs that lacked emotion, self expression, and a form of identity. In the late 60’s-70’s, the more corporate aspects of design were fading out for a more creative direction, one that gave the designer a ‘voice’ in their designs. The progression of design afterwards toward today expanded on this approach to design, adding more of a free, limitless ability to design of their choosing.

Even after all of that history lesson, the question has still not been answered. Rudimentary design and design methods of the past are important because they teach the basic foundation of design back when design was in a much simpler state. Now that we live in a society that has access to a software that makes designs on many of our devices, it becomes much more complicated to make a proper design without understanding what has structured and defined a design throughout our history. As common as the idea that everything has been done before is, it is one that is true in almost every aspect of the phrase. It is important to understand the history of design to understand what you made in relation to past styles of design. Going on the idea that no design today is completely original in principle, it is important to know the inspirations that formed your design and if your design is too similar to those inspirations. Overall, rudimentary design is important in every aspect because it is holds all the principles we learn as modern designers and structures the foundations for designs to delve into more complex structures in the future.