Posted by in GD 1, on September 27, 2016

Semiotics and Design

What is Semiotics?

The study of signs and symbols, especially the relationship between written or spoken signs and there referents in the physical world or the world of ideas. A core strategic method by which graphic marks, texts and images can be deconstructed and interpreted to determine underlying meanings.

Signifier: A physical entity that can include sounds, images or letters that convey meaning. Type and icons can be used as signifiers.

Signified: An interpretation of the signifier. How people gather meaning based on what is signified in your design using type and image.

Sign: Words are an example of signs. When the signifier and signified are arbitrary. When something evokes an idea or image of something in the persons mind based on previous knowledge or learned experience. 

Denotation: Referring to something by means of a word or symbol

Connotation: An image or idea that that word or symbol invokes.

Iconic Signs: A signifier that physically resembles the signified

Indexical Signs:  A signifier that cannot exist without the presence of the signified.

Symbolic Signs: A signifier that represents the signified and is culturally learned.

How do we use semiotics, more specifically in our work as designers?

Imagery and Type

Icons from Pinterest




whole grain

Peace sign


icons-design2 london-olympics science tgif


ab active eye-globe wheat-book


bike-logos marks:type

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