Understanding Culture Through Semiotics

So what is Semiotics?

Semiotics, put simply, is the study of how we understand meaning in everyday life.

It is a way of thinking which helps us ‘decode’ the different signs and symbols in the world around us; images, language, sounds, colours, gestures – anything can be a sign which tells us something about the people and culture it came from. In real life of course these things come bundled together in different ways, and our job is to understand how different elements come together to create meaning.

Here’s an example:

See how a different typeface changes how we feel about the kind of meaning and intention behind this message?

Brands are essentially a collection of assets and associations that over time come to mean something to people – brand building IS meaning making. We have to be really clear about what we mean so we can ensure we bring that intention to life in the right way through the decisions we make; what something should look like, sounds like or feels like should use the right combination of signs to amplify these positive associations. And of course, in different markets or cultural contexts, the signs we use may need to change.

We use semiotics as our operating system – we look at the world through this lens to deeply understand how ideas and meanings are constructed and how they are changing. We help brands and organisations master how they communicate with greater meaning and impact.

As the world changes, so do the needs of organisations and brands. Semiotics is perfectly placed to help answer some of the new kinds of challenges we face. We encourage experimental and inter-disciplinary thinking and are continually advancing the real-world application of semiotics and cultural insight by fusing it with other insight techniques and approaches. From ethnography and behavioural science to design thinking, data analytics and experience design we are pioneering new ways to understand, create and manage meaning.

We’re always excited to talk semiotics.

Get in touch if you would like to discuss about how we can help and inspire.

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