Mon, Jan 10

DSGN 3100: Introduction

Today's objectives

  • Review course outlines and requirements
  • Confirm that all required software tools are working
  • Semiotics concepts and definition
    • Semiotics
    • Sign
    • Signifier
    • Signified
    • Iconic
    • Symbolic
    • Indexical






C.S. Peirce


Major concepts


Classifying signs



Pre-class reading


Assignment 1

Visually document 25 signs, or, to be more precise, "sign vehicles" - that is, the physical object that conveys meaning.

Label each one, and classify each example as indexical, iconic, or symbolic. Make sure each sign is one you have found and documented yourself - you may use photographs, sketches or text where appropriate. All work must be your own, and you may not under any circumstances use images created by others.

For this assignment, you must not use street signs, or any other kind of typical "signage" such as warning signs, commercial signage, etc. Some signs may be difficult to classify, or may be difficult to designate as signs, but be prepared to justify their inclusion. Use the "signs" chapter of Semiotics for Beginners as a reference.

Remember: anything that conveys meaning is a sign.

Make sure to understand the basic concepts behind both Saussure and Peirce before you begin.

Make sure you can demonstrate clear understanding of the three Peircean categories - indexical, iconic and symbolic. Ensure that you choose signs of widely varying types.

Submit as a PDF file. For each sign, clearly note:

  • the signified
  • the signifier,
  • and its Peircean category (index, icon or symbol).
If a sign spans multiple categories, note them. If there are multiple signs working in combination, be sure to make it clear what sign you are referring to. Neatly lay out the document with 5 signs per page, for on-screen presentation.

Due: 6PM, Sun, Jan 16. Upload the PDF file to Brightspace.

Name the file: YOURLASTNAME_DSGN3100_Assign1.PDF

Marking is based on demonstrating correct understanding of categories, presenting a wide range of types of signs, and clear organization and presentation.