When creating logos and indents there are certain ways that designers implement meanings and associations. For example if a company asked for something which created a feeling of power then a Lion maybe be used as this is seen as a sign of power. In this post I will discuss this and explain why and how meaning is attached to certain things/objects. This can be described in terms of “Signifiers” and “Signified”.
‘we think only in signs’ (Peirce 1931-58, 2.302).
- a ‘signifier’ – the form which the sign takes; for example a word, the word “open” being displayed on a shop door.
- the ‘signified’ – the concept it represents. Here the word “open” signifies that the shop is open for business.
A perfect example of this would be public toilets, a sign has been developed that is known throughout the world to not only show that the room is a toilet but also the gender for which the toilet is for. This sign however would not work without the context, it is because that this sign is being displayed on a door that people have this association.
This is often used to show complex notions such as emotions and ideas, for example the idea of love can be shown using the sign of a “love heart”
Equally this sign can be altered to show a different concept, below we can see that by “breaking” the heart this can represent the complex idea of being “heartbroken” .
Often people have different meanings/ideas of what is being “signified”, this is because our meanings are created often from our experiences and not built into us, for example different cultures have different “signifiers” for things and often what is signified in one culture may be something entirely different in another.
For example, in my culture the image below (thumbs up) signifies a message of approval of positiveness, however in Thailand it’s a sign of condemnation.
Similarly in some Asian countries beckoning by curling your index finger is a gesture only to be used for dogs and to use it with a person would be derogatory; suggesting that you see them as a subservient inferior.
Many western cultures make this gesture when wishing for good luck. A hand with the index and middle fingers crossed is even the logo for the UK’s National Lottery. In Vietnam, however, this is an obscene gesture, especially when done while looking at or addressing another person. The crossed fingers are said to resemble female genitals.