GENERAL: Visual Communication and Semiotics.

From: IN%"[email protected]" "Visual and Verbal Semiotics" 3-MAY-1993
To: IN%"[email protected]" "Multiple recipients of list SEMIOS-L"
Subj: RE: Trademarks

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Date: Mon, 3 May 1993 07:20:35 CDT
From: Ed Johnson <[email protected]>
Subject: RE: Trademarks
In-reply-to: Message of Fri, 30 Apr 1993 00:05:05 CDT from <[email protected]>
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On Fri, 30 Apr 1993 00:05:05 CDT John St. Julien said:
>What do you mean by intuitively when you say:
>"My hope is to explore the possibility of there being a graphic grammar that
>is intuitively known."
John, I mean abduction. There's something in visual communication today that
strikes me as being like linguistics a century ago. At that time the languages
of indiginous people were generally viewed as comprising possibly one or two
dozen words, with the rest being a random assortment of grunts. Today
linguists working in these monolingual situations are trained to look for the
rich grammars in these previously untranslated tongues.

In the same way, today people look at the rich variety of graphic elements in
our commercial communications, such as trademarks and ads, and believe they are
all artifacts--visual grunts, if you will. My gut feeling is that there is as
much of a pattern of communication going on here as there is in indiginous

This is all why I feel a kindship to semiotics. I see linguistics as a part
of semiotics, and I see the study of graphic elements as a parallel branch of
the same discipline. The difference is that in visual communication we are
not dealing with what comes from the tongue--the "lingua" of language. Perhaps
we should call visual communication oculage. Might we be studying photemics
photology, whereas linguists study phonemics and phonology? I think we do.

| | |
| Ed Johnson | "...of making many books there is |
| Dept. of Mass Comm. | no end; and much study is a weari- |
| University of Alabama | ness of the flesh." |
| Tuscaloosa, AL 35487 | --Ecclesiastes 12:12 |
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