Semiotic Analysis

What is semiotics, what is it for ?


What is that ?

Semiotics is the theory of meaning processes. Coming from linguistics, influenced by the anthropology of Lévi-Strauss, the logic of Aristotle at Carnap, the phenomenology of Husserl at Merleau-Ponty, she is employed in marketing and advertising by major companies such as Publicis, IPSOS, L'Oréal…

How does it analyze ?

Nourished by the sciences that have, since the classical era, made it possible to model the fundamentals of human behavior, semiotics allows in a way to «dismantle» then «reassemble» the logical mechanisms that produce meaning. It allows us to describe not only the story of a logo, a text, a website… but above all, how and on what fundamental values this story is based.


What can I use it for?

In brand identity creation, as more generally in visual communication, it makes it possible to «streamline intuitions» and to ensure that the graphic work expresses well what was requested in the brief.

It allows 360° studies of the communication of a company or an institution to identify the underlying values, the immutable content, but also inconsistencies: an illustration may not have the same meaning as the text it is intended to illustrate.

Applied to a competitive universe, it shows how the communication of the sector is organized, what are the vacant positions, what is the relevance of a planned communication axis.

Applied to a hierarchy of brands within a group, it makes it possible to ensure that the content of the common message is preserved while respecting the individualities of the brands, but also to attribute to each “actor” (the “guarantor” brand, the “product” brand, the “sub-brand”, etc.) a precise and logical role.

Based on the relationship between container (or expression) and content, between what is seen and what is understood, it also allows a communication to evolve while remaining faithful to its values and message.


What does it bring more than field studies ?

Complementary to market research and consumer studies, which «only» observe attitudes and behaviors, it shows how the different behaviors observed among consumers and customers are articulated, and on which their contradictory readings are based.

It is able to penetrate the fundamentals of these behaviours, unlike sociology, which relies on categories (CSP, age groups, etc.) whose boundaries are transgressed by these behaviours.


In practice, how does it work ?

Our marketing analyses and semiotic studies can be developed in the context of interviews, workshops within your company, studies in your presence on the basis of documents, or more in-depth studies that will be presented to you orally and will be the subject of a detailed report.

The following two examples illustrate how semiotics can support the work of the graphic designer.

In the first case, it was a question of declining a logo to llustrer a website: the semiotician then checks that the «content» of meaning of the logo and the brand has been respected.

In the second case, the analyst must analyze a logo for which he does not know the initial brief: by analyzing the meaning that is produced, he must "find" the client’s request; any discrepancy between its conclusions and the initial brief then leads to possibly correct the project with the graphic designer.