How to Analyse Culture: Semiotics

Semiotics is about how ideas are represented in culture

Let’s say that you want to know how people’s ideas of ‘freshness’ are changing?  You can ask people, but in our experience they will struggle to give you more than you know already.  This is a cultural issue, so you need to use cultural analysis . 

We have worked with semiotics for several decades and were the first to use it and promote it in Australia. We conduct semiotics projects in Australia for international clients. We innovate and use semiotics in contemporary ways.  Some examples:

  • The semiotics of female ageing and menopause

  • Understanding 'italianicity' from an Australian perspective

  • Cultural variations in notions of freshness
  • Sensory semiotics to assist packaging design for foods, beverages and pharmaceuticals

Use semiotics to analyse how concepts and ideas are expressed  visually and through sound. Semiotics comprises a range analytical techniques which can be used on such things as advertising, websites, packaging, books, movies and TV shows.

Some things to know about semiotics

  • Semiotics can be 'top-down' or 'bottom up'. Ask us to explain what that means!
  • The best semiotic analysis goes beyond lists of codes and territories.  The best semiotic research tells you what these codes mean in human terms.
  • Sometimes, the insight comes from focusing on symbolism and ritual.


Susan Bell has spoken at conferences and webinars on semiotics and published papers on semiotics in peer-reviewed academic journals.  We offer insight backed by rigorous analysis and knowledge.

We are across all the major theories and know how to apply them to commercial marketing issues in ways that are easy to understand. We draw on a wide range of semiotic theories and models such as narratives, myths and rituals. 


Tags: Semiotics, Rituals, Discourse Analysis, Cultural insight, Narratives, Myths, Female ageing, Syllabell

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