In and therefore will produce a greater unity in

In this
essay, I am going to explain how successful and effective visual communication
can produce a unity in meaning and how it relates to the process of finding a
visual solution.

To be able
to answer the question I must first look at the basic foundations of semiotics
and what different types of sign exist. There are two parts of signs originally
depicted, the signifier which is the form of the sign, and then the signified
which is the thing that is being represented by the signifier. The viewer needs
to be able to link the two parts in order for it to be a successful sign and
this linkage is what Charles Sanders Peirce described as the third part of
signage. However, the main point of the sign is the first two as a sign cannot
exist without them; the third is only how it is perceived.

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As Steven
Bradley, a designer and author, writes “Signs can take many forms. They can be
words, numbers, sounds, photographs, paintings, and road sings among and more”
this shows that from a brief analysis of the types of signs that exist you can
concur that there are many different types of visual communication, some more
effective than others but I will discuss that further into the essay. Despite
the many existing types they can still all be placed into three distinct categories,
these being icons, indexes, and symbols. To briefly summarise them; an icon is
a direct visual resemblance, for example, a photograph, of the signified item,
an index is casually linked, for example, a fingerprint to represent a human,
and finally a symbol has no visual connection to the signifier only a cultural
agreement to its meaning, for example, a dove to represent peace. Out of the
three, the icon is the most effective as it is the literal resemblance of the
signifier and therefore will produce a greater unity in meaning across
different than the others as little to no cultural learning needs to take place
to understand the idea.

A unity in
meaning is the same understanding of something across different groups and
cultures, for example, a red traffic light meaning stop. This is a perfect
example of a successful piece of visual communication as it has provided a
visual solution for the problem of needing a sign to represent a halt in the movement
of traffic. As John Storey wrote “Semiotics makes us aware that the cultural
values with which we make sense of the world are a tissue of conventions that
have been handed down from generation to generation by the members of the
culture of which we are a part” this explains that our acquired understanding
of language is developed from our community and accumulated family knowledge,
therefore, we are only able to interpret what we already know in terms of
language and would be unable to recognise signs with foreign concepts. This,
therefore, highlights the critical importance of a successful sign being able
to convey a unity in meaning to get across its message to the audience.