Icons, Isotypes, Symbols and Semiotics

Icon: Resemble’s its Reference. For example, we represent this icon with mail.


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Index: Associated with its Referent.

(Imagine an alarm and smoke)

Symbol: Associated only by Convention, a learnt meaning that wouldn’t necessarily be partnered with the image representing.

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Pictogram: An Image that represents an object. The cross represents first aid.

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Ideogram: Represents a complete idea of concept; no smoking.

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Rebus: An image that represents a sound. This is an example from Paul Rand, a groundbreaking graphic designer. It was created in 1981 to support IBM’s motto; THINK.



Phonogram: A symbol that represents a sound.

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Culture Jamming: Commentary and/or parody. An example of this is Jonathan Barnbrook’s Olympukes series which, I have to say, is rather amusing.



Logo: Pictorial

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Logotype: Compromised entirely of typography.



Isotopes: A infographic of complex information which tells a visual story. Gerd Antz was an infamous infographic designer whom looked at complex information and how you can sum it up using visual representatives.




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First year studying Graphic Design at Plymouth College of Art.

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