March 31st Reading

The author offers a delving into linguistics as far as it relates to advertising, discussing not only the more obvious decisions that we as viewers make on a image, but goes so far as to further break down and specify the layers to our perception of advertisement, frankly, in a way that is important to much more then just advertising. The reading, though difficult, is an important study on what advertisers are truly doing on a technical level, and what the viewers are doing as well. This knowledge is, while not perhaps applicable to every situation, is important back-hand knowledge to understand what it is a designer must aim for in their projects.

The author states “Thus there are four signs for this image and we will assume that they form a coherent whole” here he expresses that though there are multiple ways in which to convey a  message, there can be multiplicity as well as singularity in an ad. For example, an ad for coke might show someone drinking it in a glass filled with ice on a beach and the text reads “DRINK COKE” here we have two signs, one is the coke in the glass informing the reader it is a refreshing beverage good for the hot weather, the second, is the command to buy and consume that product. The author identifies four total ways of speaking or rather, conveying meaning to the viewer, but this does not undermine the singular plot of the advertising agency. This basic affirmation, seems to be the continuous plot of the entire writing.

One manner in which the simplicity and complexity of language can be observed in the reading is where the author states “An advertisement… shows a few fruits scattered around a ladder; the caption… banishes one possible signified,” here the author demonstrates how the written language can clarify and constrain the possible interpretations of the art, thus it is important if not needed for proper art.

While this information is less important for junior designers it offers invaluable knowledge for art directors and those who want to become them. One might be able to design well, but not understand the linguistic underpinnings and rules to what they do, thus, in a leadership role they might falter.

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