Reflection 6

Last class we discussed semiotics in the world of Graphic Design. Semiotics is the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation. Very often our jobs as designers is to relay information to people without using words; signs and symbols are some of the tool we use to do this.

Everywhere you look there are signs and symbols. The stop sign when we’re driving, the wet floor sign that prevents us from slipping and falling, and even the shopping cart icon on a website. Signs and symbols they have become an essential part of our everyday life, and a major addition to the way we communicate to each other. In fact, the more you think about it the more it become apparent that our society would fall apart them.

We spoke about the 4 types of signs and symbols that is used in Graphic Design, icons, symbols, indexes, and iconic forms. Then we were presented with examples of how these can be used. The first example was the many different iconic forms that have been developed for the Olympics over the years. Those forms were quite interesting. Before then I had not paid much attention to the Olympics’ icons; I just watched the athletes. But talking about them showed me something important. All the designs that were shown conveyed the meaning that was intended, yet a majority of the designs were not successful. Because when you are working with purely visual elements you have to take extra care to make sure it is crystal clear what you are trying to say because a lot can get lost in translation.

The second example that was shown was the film The Man Without Qualities. The entire film was done with only icons, symbols, sound, and color, and unlike the Olympics’ forms the film was very successful in doing this. The filmmaker effectively showed the life a man from birth to death without the utterance of a single word. Everything was understood, even though it was a foreign film. It showed me how much you can do with just a couple of shapes.