Symbolism is the use of signs to create meaning. It involves consideration of:
- which images are chosen and what they stand for
- where they’re placed and the hierarchy of relationships between each of the signs.
Placing something at the front or top of an image will create a different meaning from placing something at the back or bottom.
See Research point: William Hogarth
Semiotics is branch of linguistics that studies how we read signs. It is useful to illustrators to have some grounding in semiotics as it provides a technical language to describe how images are coded and decoded. Amongst other concepts semiotics uses connotation and denotation
as a way of describing actual and intended meanings:
- Denotation describes the obvious, literal things in an image.
- Connotation describes the associations we have with that image. These associations are determined by our social, economic and personal perspectives.
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