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ICOE 2015 - Semiotics of visual languages in communication and digital culture

Type d'enseignement : Seminar

Semester : Autumn 2018-2019

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English


At least, level 4 in English language.

Course Description

Semiotics is the study of production of signification, in any type of discourse and situation, leveraging fundamental concepts and tools of linguistics to go beyond verbal language. As such, it is a privileged frame to understand the basis of the visual language that is shaping pop culture and digital culture, especially from a brand perspective. Consumption and mass communication society have projected us into a popular culture that has been increasingly framed not only by images but by a visual approach to meaning. As of the age of advertising the society has been progressively moving from a cultural frame based on the linearity of the discourse to cultural forms based on “visuality”. In the digital world of today, the process of signification is highly influenced by visual forms and mediatic formats,that are framing and contributing to the content of signification. Pop culture images introduce cultural forms and practices where demonstration and description are being replaced by immediate connection and evocation. The course will introduce to a semiotic approach to the images that are shaping the brand culture. To do so we will study various semiotic manifestations like advertising discourses, logos, objects, dispositives and digital interactions and formats, in order to uncover the strategies and the meaning effects behind them. Each class will focus on a visual strategy introducing to fundamentals concepts, elementary models and methods of the semiotic theory from the French School of Semiotics.


BERTIN, Eric (Deputy General Manager in charge of strategy for McCANN Worldgroup)

Course validation

Individual written project: 40% Group in-class oral presentation: 40% Work preparation, class participation: 20%

Required reading

  • J.-Floch, Visual Identities. Trans. Pierre Van Osselaer and Alec McHoul. New York: Continuum Publishing Group, 2000.
  • Landowski, Eric. “Towards a Semiotic and Narrative Approach of Law”, International Journal for the Semiotics of Law 1.1 (1988): 79-105. Translation by George Paizis.
  • J.-Floch. Semiotics, Marketing, and Communication. Beneath the Signs, the Strategies. Trans. Robin Orr Bodkin. New York: Palgrave, St. Martin's Press, 2001.