Semiotic analysis of artifacts

Those days I am designing a table for social public use. The purpose is to solve segregation problem and promote communication in Angered area. The table will finally be placed in the culture house Blå Stället where there is a migration register center for immigrants. Whenever I visit there, there is always a long queuing line. So I assume people can play with this table together when they are waiting for the services.


However, the thing is there are so many game tables designed for social use in public spaces, how can I make my table stand out? One way I try to approach my table design is from the perspective of semiotic. Semiotics, is the study of signs and sign processes (semiosis), indication, designation, likeness, analogymetaphorsymbolism, signification, and communication. So If I view myself as a message sender and my table as a communication piece through which I convey a message, it would be of great fun to see if the interpreter can get the exact meaning I want to convey! It’s this encoding and decoding process makes it so interesting!

So how should I construct my communication piece? I try to analyze it in three aspects as following.

Three aspects of Semiotic analysis

  2. CONNECTION (in social aspects)

MEANING: Furniture and its use have a symbolic function; they create a wide scale of culture related meanings through the choice of design, forms, colors, materials, accessories, etc. They indicate who the users are even if they are not aware of it.

CONNECTION (in social aspects): The individual’s separate pieces of furniture are parts of a socially legitimized combination and lifestyles

INTERPRETATION: The choice and usage of furniture is the expression of coded behavior and life philosophy.

I want to give my table a symbolic shape, a symbolic combination of color and materials. So when people see it, they will automatically link it to how this table should be used even without consciousness. Also this table will break the barrier between people from different countries so that they can communicate even without language. So next post I will try to explain how i scheme to reach this purpose.

But remember, next time, when seeing an artifact, you can try to analyze it in those three aspects, maybe you will find some clues. This is the magic of design and a good designer will always try to hide this and let the users to interpret it!

One thought on “Semiotic analysis of artifacts

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