Do you see what I see?

Hello reader, I hope you’re well 🙂
I’d like to call on the Ace of Base to sing the song, “The Sign”  to set the scene for today’s topic,

“I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes, I saw the sign…”

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Now readers, what do you think of when you see/hear the word “sign”?

A literal sign? for example:

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Or a metaphorical sign, like this?

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This my friends is the glorious world of ‘Semiotics’

In Daniel Chandler’s article, “Semiotics for Beginners”, he defines “Semiotics” as, “the study of signs” denoting “words, sounds, images or objects that serve as vehicles for the communication of meaning… they represent concepts, objects, people and things.”

It is my understanding that a sign is comprised of a signifier and the signified. The signifier aka ‘denotation’ is something that has meaning, for example an image or a word. On the other hand, the signified aka ‘connotation’ is what immediately comes to mind (the mental concept).

Take this image for example, the controversial Antonio Federici advertisement for ice-cream:

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The ‘denotation’ of this 2010 campaign for Gelato Italiano shows a heavily pregnant woman dressed as a nun, holding a tub of ice cream, standing in a church with the pun of a tagline, “Immaculately Conceived…”.

The ‘connotation’ however, is the individual’s immediate thoughts, an individual’s perception of this advertisement is shaped by their personal experiences, ideologies and values. The company’s idea of ‘conception’ represented the development of their ice-cream. The use of religious imagery demonstrates the company’s feelings towards the product and “comments on and questions, using satire and gentle humour, the relevance and hypocrisy of religion and the attitudes of the church to social issues”. Many individuals viewed this advertisement as a “distortion and mockery of the beliefs of Roman Catholics”.

It is evident that this image of a pregnant nun (through immaculate conception) can be seen in many ways.  

What do you think?

-Mikaela xx



3 thoughts on “Do you see what I see?

  1. This was a really interesting read! I like the way you gave the audience a question from the outset of what a ‘sign’ really was, through an actual street sign and a metaphorical which reflects that although different indicators, we can all still understand what they are saying to us. Additionally, your Gelato Italiano advertisement was a really good example of how an image can convey something without really expressing any words. The comment that semiotics can be interrupted differently due to ‘personal experiences, ideologies and values’ was a valid point that in turn, not everyone interupts a message in the same way. That ultimately enforces how important images/symbols are in conveying and communicating a message to the audience.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey Mikaela! I agree with the previous comment, I really like how you gave the audience a question!! As soon as i read that, it made me think about what i really did think. Your use of the different kind of ‘signs’ was so easy for me to understand, and is a really good example for someone who doesn’t know about semiotics to understand 🙂 I like your use of links and embedding, made me so much easier to read deeper into your blog post. Back to the Antonio Federici advertisement, I agree with how you see it! The use of religion, satire and gentle humour is really engaging. Keep up the good work ❤ xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Mikaela,
    Good work with your post! I thought it was interactive and engaging especially considering your use of questions and different examples. These examples, of several signs and symbols, exemplify the significance of semiotics to communication and interaction. I think it is important to note, as you did, how such things can represent varying things to different people, with an individual’s experiences, beliefs and perspectives influencing their interpretations.
    The use of the Federici advertisement was particularly useful in highlighting the difference between denotations (signifier) and connotations (signified). I can only imagine the controversy caused in relation to such an image, which I think really emphasises the power of signs, symbols but most importantly the meanings behind them.
    Nice work with your use of embedding also, it is definitely a good learning tool and helps guide your post.
    Madeleine 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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