#FuseDesign Live: A semiotics lesson

Our pre-conference day at #FuseDesign is now well underway. I've been sitting in the Proof: Insights, Trends & Innovation for much of the morning, and the recurring theme here is "Signs, Symbols, Semiotics."

In "The Semiotics of Branding" with Cheryl Swanson, Principal, TONIQ, Cheryl discussed the fact that the study of semiotics has invaded even popular culture (using this clip from The Big Bang Theory) - she explained the practice of decoding universal symbols by saying "we know what we know, but we don't know why we know it."

As a designer, you can act as an interpreter of symbols, finding the way to turn something as simple as the 1 and 0 of binary code into the widely recognized on/off "power" symbol that we see on machines every day.

"Universal meanings reside in the recesses of consciousness" and we have opportunities to understand and use those universal meanings in our designs.
Michael Hendrix, and Neil Stevenson, both of IDEO, continued to play on this theme, diving into "embodied cognition." Did you know that we lean forward while thinking of or discussing the future? Or that even a forced smile can intensify feelings of happiness?

By becoming familiar with the science of the ways our senses effect our emotions a brand can actually build experiences at a much more minute level of detail.
Designers used to have to be an amateur anthropologist, now you need to be an amateur neuropsychologist too!

The morning wrapped up with Stuart Bedford, Dir. New Business Development, SHERWIN WILLIAMS who showed us the reality of that statement, discussing an eye tracking study they utilized for package design. Eye tracking allows for research into: package design, area for improvement, and point of sale preferences as well. But again, the design team may find themselves as interpreters of semiotics.

Looking forward to more insights this afternoon (and, yes, I am leaning forward over my computer as I type that!)

Michelle LeBlanc is a Social Media Strategist at IIR USA with a specialization in marketing. She may be reached at mleblanc@iirusa.com

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