[Index] [Prev] [Next]

Comments to Semios-L

Steven Skaggs :
Re: towards a unified terminology
Thu, 13 Jun 1996 22:31:54 -0400


Since you teach visual communication, you might be interested in knowing
the perspective I've taken with my graphic design students. I touch on
Saussure also. I touch on Peirce too. For two years now I've been
developing an ad hoc approach to semiotics specifically for visual
communicators. Unfortunately, because I've been so frustrated by the
terminology problems (which, lets face it, are difficult enough for us much
less poor undergraduates) that I've developed a different angle. It seems
to work pretty well as a tool.

Regardless of what semiotic 'system' one subscribes to, graphic designers
(planners of visual communication) can do well to consider the following:

There is Expression (the utterance - signifier if you will)
There is Denotation ( a specific, focused interpretation or inference)
There is Connotation (a non-specific, general interpretation or inference)

{Both denotation and connotation would be close to /signified/. But from
this perspective, denotation is also close to /object/ and connotation
close to /interpretant/. But these matches I really avoid since the thrust
that I'm after is simply obscured by getting back into traditional
terminological debates. I bring this up here only because of the topic}

If E, D, C are knobs on a machine, the designer tweaks them as desired.
This is the entire job of the designer: to appropriately adjust the E, D
and C. Of course, to do so requires a lot of thought and not a little
metaphorical inspiration.

My teaching of these concepts is done primarily through diagrams.
A set of these diagrams on my www site might be worth doing so that folks
on Semios-L can go there to look at them.

If there is interest I shall to post them there by Saturday or Sunday.

For now it is too late to use any more brain cells!

Good night (morning?) all...

Steven Skaggs

>> McCarthy: "Even machines as simple as thermostats can be said to have
<< Searle: "What beliefs does your thermostat have?"
>> McCarthy: "My thermostat has three beliefs - it is too hot in here, it
>>is too cold in here, and it is just right in here."

[Index] [Prev] [Next]

Comments to Semios-L