Cultural insight: Semiotics 

Semiotics is about how ideas are represented in culture.

Let’s say that you want to know how people’s ideas of ‘freshness’ are changing?  You can ask people, but in our experience they will struggle to give you more than you know already.  This is a cultural issue, so you need to use cultural analysis.

Semiotics: our experience

We have worked with semiotics for several decades and were the first to use it and promote it in Australia. We conduct semiotics projects in Australia for international clients. We innovate and use semiotics in contemporary ways. 

Susan Bell has spoken at conferences and webinars on semiotics and published papers on semiotics in peer-reviewed academic journals.  We offer insight backed by rigorous analysis and knowledge.

We are across all the major theories and know how to apply them to commercial marketing issues in ways that are easy to understand. We draw on a wide range of semiotic theories and models such as narratives, myths and rituals, as well as the residual/dominant/emergent code classification.

Semiotics: some examples

  • The semiotics of female ageing and menopause

  • Understanding 'italianicity' from an Australian perspective

  • Cultural variations in notions of freshness

  • Sensory semiotics to assist packaging design for foods, beverages and pharmaceuticals

  • Visual representation of the older 'retiree' market

Semiotics: what to use it for

Use semiotics to analyse how concepts and ideas are expressed  visually and through sound.

Semiotics comprises a range analytical techniques which can be used on such things as advertising, websites, packaging, books, movies and TV shows.

Some things to know about semiotics

  • Semiotics can be 'top-down' or 'bottom up'. Ask us to explain what that means!

  • The best semiotic analysis goes beyond lists of codes and territories.  The best semiotic research tells you what these codes mean in human terms.

  • Sometimes, the insight comes from focusing on symbolism and ritual.

More about semiotics in these blog posts

The semiotics of Christmas

The magic and absurdity of Christmas

What cookbooks and magazines can tell us about Christmas in Australia

Four different expressions of wellness

Decoding the meaning of the Christmas meal


Tags: Semiotics, Rituals, Discourse Analysis, Cultural insight, Narratives, Myths, Female ageing, Syllabell