Question & Prompt

  • How has language shaped design historically?
  • Can visual design accomplish things that language cannot? Why?
  • How are signs, signifiers, and the signified employed in visual communication? Provide examples from contemporary or historical advertising.
  • How are non-literary devices used to convey meaning in advertising? Provide examples from contemporary or historical advertising

Language has shaped design historically because some things might be interpreted differently from one language and culture to another. As a result, different designers residing in different locations, areas,  and countries express their works in different ways, which makes their designs unique.
Yes, Visual Design can accomplish things that language cannot. This Is because the use of colors, shapes opens up new doors to how we see things. For example, we can read a book and read the description of how a football looks, but seeing an actual football with our own eyes is much more accurate and intuitive.
Signs, signifiers, and signified are used to not only visually show an object but are also used to describe characteristics of that object in visual design. An example is an Icon such as a cross, we know how a cross visually looks, and it is used to signify Christianity, holiness, god, etc.
Non-literary devices can be used in ads that are trying to present a topic and/or issue to the audience. An example is in the image below. We know that people do not literally ingest plastic when eating foods such as sushi but according to the ad, a study revealed that fish on the west coast ingest 12,000 of plastic each year. The ad is trying to bring awareness to plastic in the ocean using a metaphor.