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Visible Signs: An Introduction to Semiotics in the Visual Arts

Visible Signs: An Introduction to Semiotics in the Visual Arts

Paperback Required Reading Range Course Reader

By (author) David Crow

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  • Publisher: AVA Publishing SA
  • Format: Paperback | 192 pages
  • Dimensions: 225mm x 302mm x 19mm | 980g
  • Publication date: 17 December 2010
  • Publication City/Country: Lausanne
  • ISBN 10: 2940411425
  • ISBN 13: 9782940411429
  • Edition: 2, Revised
  • Edition statement: 2nd Revised edition
  • Illustrations note: 200 colour illustrations
  • Sales rank: 213,434

Product description

"Visible Signs: An Introduction to Semiotics" (2nd Edition) is an update to the popular first edition of the same name, in which David Crow introduces design students to the fundamentals of semiotics. Basic semiotic theories are taught in most art schools as part of a contextual studies programme, but many students find it difficult to understand how these ideas might impact on their own practice. "Visible Signs" tackles this problem by explaining semiotic terms and theories in relation to visual communication, with illustrative examples taken from contemporary art and design. Concepts such as signs and signifiers, and language and speech are all explored within the framework of graphic design and fine art. The 2nd Edition features new and revised content from the author, and includes 200 visuals created to illustrate the ideas discussed within the book.

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Author information

David Crow studied Communication Design at Manchester Metropolitan University. He subsequently worked as a designer in London for Assorted iMaGes and as Art Director for Island Records before running his own consultancy. As a freelance designer he worked for a range of clients in the cultural sector including Rolling Stones Records, Virgin Records, Phonogram and The Royal Shakespeare Company. Crow then moved into academia as Head of the Department of Graphic Arts at Liverpool John Moores University. He is currently Dean of Art and Design at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK.

Review quote

"Excellent content and user friendly approach to the subject of semiotics. More than just an introduction, the book deals with a complex subject in a highly visual and practical way. Highly relevant. Students will be encouraged to buy this book." - Leeds College of Art, UK."Very informative, well written and attractive." - Bournemouth Arts University College, UK. "A beautifully designed book inside and out (typography, layout and use of paper stock). The stickers add a level of interactivity that any student would like. This all adds up to a book that a student would want to keep for future reference. Content that is very relevant to an advanced graphic design course." - Montclair State University, USA. 'A very thoughtfully designed Design book. The material in this book can be accessed by Foundation Design students at both basic and more advanced levels, and gives advice that is in bit-sized intelligent morsels. The illustrations are contemporary and visually seductive. This is a useful and stylish book.' David Tinn, East Surrey College, UK. 'We already use the 1st edition and this revised and expanded 2nd edition will make an excellent addition. Accessible use of language and an excellent visual approach and layout make this 'the' key text on semiotics for undergraduates studying graphic design and visual culture. The addition of self-directed study exercises is a useful teaching and learning aid. Excellent book.' - Dave Caton, Swindon College, UK. 'This is an outstanding overview of semiotics which no student should be without. As expected of AVA titles, it is rich with examples of the theory and work being discussed and the points made are easily digestible ... It will prove invaluable to students of design...' - Philip Dixon, Southampton Solent University, UK. 'A great book, well designed, well researched, well written. For anyone in the slightest bit interested in this fascinating subject (and this should be all designers and design students) this book is the perfect guide.' - Saeri Dobson, Loyola Marymount University, USA. 'I bought the original edition some years ago and have been recommending it to students ever since. Crow has written both editions in a way that is very appropriate to design students - good visual examples and very clear content.' - John Stocker, University of Lincoln, UK. 'Beautifully composed, well-structured, highly informative and relevant, providing essential theoretical content to our curriculum. A core text for undergraduate design courses and an excellent introduction to the fundamentals of semiotic theories.' - Christopher Morris, University of Salford, UK. 'I believe this would be an outstanding introduction for the graduate students joining the research group and for advanced undergraduates. Excellent, engaging layout. This really facilitates involvement with the text, and is much more interesting and accessible than many books I've seen on introductory semiotics.' - Kennon Smith, Indiana University Bloomington, USA.

Table of contents

Introduction. Components: What is theory?; Agreement; Portfolio. How meaning is formed: Categories of sign; Value; Portfolio. Reading the sign: The reader; Convention and motivation; Portfolio. Text and image: Digital and analogue codes; Advertising writing; Portfolio. Official language: Habitus; The production of legitimate language; The competition for cultural legitimacy; Portfolio. Unofficial language: Unofficial codes; The graffiti writer; Unofficial language and the visual arts; Portfolio. Symbolic creativity: Hyperinstitutionalisation; Portfolio. Junk and culture: Dirt and taboo; Rubbish theory; Rubbish as a resource; Portfolio. Open work: The open work; Portfolio. Self-directed study: Exercises. References. Bibliography. Index. Acknowledgements and picture credits.