Nuances of Semiotic Communication – Literature review Example

Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing

The paper “ Nuances of Semiotic Communication” is a persuasive variant of a literature review on communication. Semiotics is a systematic method for the analysis of a range of communication languages. Maran (2003) adds that the methodology is useful for describing certain operational rules through the determination of the sub-systems in the field it examines. Since art is a communication language, the approach can be used in the analysis of children's images in an advertisement. The semiotic analysis consists of a qualitative approach to media texts or images and is, therefore, an effective means of considering textual elements less quantifiable, although never-the-less important when it comes to the overall feel of the advertisement (Chandler, 2008; Turkcan, 2013).

To this end, a range of codes or textual aspects such as characters, appeals, colors, attitudes, rhetoric, aesthetics, narratives, product philosophies, and aesthetics are explored in the analysis of an advertisement featuring two female children of different races embracing each other. Mise-en-SceneThere are two characters in the image, both of who are females aged between three and four years. They are however of different races: black and white. In part, the relevance of the images was to advertise a product that has the potential to promote unity, understanding, and trust between different races.

This is since the images promote the message of unity and universality. The children in the image are also particularly symbolic, in that they represent the concept of innocence (Holland, 2008). Similarly, the images of the two girls confirm the innocent relationship between children who have no proclivity to discriminate between races. The picture is, therefore, appealing to childhood as a universal value, and as a quality that each child requires.

Similarly, the image is reassuring of childhood dependence, as well as the childhood stage as an attribute, which stands in stark contrast to competent adulthood (Maran, 2003). The white girl in the picture has more power. This is represented by her exuberance and smile, which exudes the senses of self-confidence and authority. On the other hand, the black girl appears bewildered or puzzled, which shows submission. SignsAs stated by Maran (2003), images transmit their messages by revealing the social-cultural divergences and social formations through the shaping of the consciousness of society.

According to Chandler (2008), the main starting point of semiotics is the sign or an object from which meaning is generated. Rhodes and Zuloago (2003) explain that the sign is divided into two key aspects of signifier; mainly the form the sign takes, and what the sign represents. As a result, the main attribute of a sign is its capability to be clear enough to pass the intended meaning (Turkcan, 2013). For instance, if the advertisements for the united color of Benetton have to show harmony, then the sign has to relay the message clearly. Two messages contained in the Benetton advertisement are the unity of color and universality.

On the other hand, the announcement is the signifier or representamen. In the image of the two girls, the signifier is their facial expressions. How the audience reacts is the sense made out of the sign, or the ‘ signified’ or ‘ interpretant’ (Turkcan, 2013). When it comes to symbolic sign or symbol, this refers to the representation that is arbitrarily assigned or acknowledged as the societal convention. In which case, the relation between the signifier and the signified has to be learned.

For instance, in the picture, this includes the colors of the two children (Iago, 2013).


Berger, Q. (2004). Semiotic Analysis. Sage: New York, pp.1-40

Charles, H. (2004). A World View of Race Revisited. The Journal of Negro Education 73(2)

Chandler, D. (2008). Semiotics for Beginners. Retrieved:

Griffiths, M. (2014). Semiotic Analysis of Children’s Televised Toy Advertisements. Retrieved:

Holland, P. (2008). The Child in the Picture. in K. Drotner & S. Livingstone (Eds). The INternational handbook of Children Media and Culture. 36-54. London: Sage

Iago. (2013). Icon, Index, Symbol. Retrieved:

Maran, T. (2003). Mimesis as a phenomenon of semiotic communication. Sign Systems Studies 31(1), 191-215

Petrilli, S. (2007). Structure and Structuralism in Philosophy of Language and Semiotics. Retrieved:

Rinehart, R., Barbourn K. & Pope, C. (2013). Ethnographic Worldviews: Transformations and Social Justice. New York: Springer Science & Business Media

Rhodes, A. & Zuloago, R. (2003). A Semiotic Analysis Of High Fashion Advertising. Retrieved:

Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
Contact Us