Semiotics the study of symbols hieroglyphics
2 Minute Read,  Business Insights,  Marketing Help

What is Semiotics?

Semiotics. Sounds kinda fancy and maybe a little intriguing yeah? If you’ve never heard of what Semiotics is then it’s likely you haven’t done marketing at Uni – this is where you’re most likely to learn about this term. Don’t let that deter you from reading on though, because this is something you could very well end up using when developing your brand, creating social media content or any form of advertising really. So, what is Semiotics?

In it’s most straight-forward form, Semiotics is the study of how the “meaning of something” is created and communicated. It’s the study of signs and symbols and how we interpret them.

Why is Semiotics important for your business?

Well, have a think about the big brands and logos around the world. The second you see those golden ‘M’ arches you think of McDonald’s. You don’t even need to see the word, “McDonald’s” to know what it is, right?

Fig 1. The McDonald’s road-side sign is so universally recognised that it doesn’t even need to include its name anymore.

Ever notice how they put the golden arches up as high as they can on the side of a road so, even if you can’t see the restaurant at street level, you can look up and know there’s a Macca’s nearby? That’s Semiotics (and clever signage) at play.

Fig 2. McDonald’s use of Semiotics is so strong that they don’t even need to show the entire symbol anymore. Once section and two colours are all that’s needed to know there’s a McDonald’s at the next exit.

Another example… if I described to you a logo that has five coloured rings banded together, three on top, two on the bottom. You instantly know what it is, yeah? I don’t even need to say what this symbol represents as it’s so universally understood.

Olympic Rings Transparent Background
Fig 3. This symbol is universally accepted as the symbol for the biggest sporting event in the world.

A little closer to home, take a look at the Amplify Global logo – the dot atop the “i” in “Amplify” has two circles that visually represent amplification; growing from small to large. We considered a representation of the Earth in the word Global but decided against this as our main focus is to grow and amplify your business communication.

Fig 4. The A|G logo employs our understanding of Semiotics.

Put simply: semiotics matter. Amplify Global understands the importance of creating powerful branding and imagery that will help your business stand out above the noise of the everyday hustle.

So, after learning a little more about this rarely referred to but often used concept, what are some of the best examples of semiotics you can think of?