Semiotics is a branch of anthropology which anchors signs and symbols into the culture of consumers. Semiotics is a cornerstone of brand equity management, since symbolic communication ties consumer needs, wants, and behaviors to the form of brand communication in branding, advertising, packaging and website design.
Image from the November 2013 Issue of Car and Driver
An advertisement or product can portray a subconscious feeling or visual reaction. Is it happy or sad, upbeat or monotone, sporty or slouchy?
Look at the Porsche 911, the beautiful curves of the side profile can be recognised across the fifty year history of the classic design. The sporty and nimble look has been retained as the car's core value, the subconscious shape that makes the car look low, sporty and fast.
Another great example - when apple launched the original iPod. A vibrant, dynamic and fun brand, with a series of adverts that provoked a positive reaction to get up and dance. The bright colour palette combined with the dark silhouette people was a great design, but it almost had a hidden meaning - dancing in the dark on your own and being at one with your music with no inhibitions.
Look at the iconic I Love NY campaign designed in 1977 to promote New York State. What does it mean to you? Genuine, positive, holiday, exploration? There isn't a right answer, but the fact that you have any sort of feeling about the design means it is effective.
There is always a subconscious reaction when we're assessing if we like or dislike a design or brand. This is why it's so important to get it right from the outset through the briefing process.
One of the questions we ask to help generate a meaningful reaction is; if your product or service was a car, what make, model and colour would it be and why? We love this question - it's a real thought provoker. Have a think and then stop by to chat about it over a coffee.
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