Semiotics/ Social Semiotics

A sign stands in for or signals something. Sign systems are self contained and arbitrary. They derive meaning through their relationships to other signs in the system (linguistics, e.g., de Saussure).

Representations of culture, dominant beliefs, values, and ideologies as encoded meanings of culturally based codes that can be “decoded” or “read” (e.g., early Barthes).

Visual Literacy

Visual “Grammar”, analogous to linguistic grammar; visual terminology (Dondis)

Visual “Languages” as codes (Kress and van Leeuwen)

Visual Culture/Popular Culture

“The study of the social construction of visual experience” (WJT Mitchell)

Theories of embedded values, or unconscious beliefs and ideologies (the dominant, subversive, political, historical, differential, psychoanalytic, somatic, affective dimensions)

Anthropological Approaches (e.g., Geertz, Taussig)

Cultural Studies / Materialist analysis (e.g., Stuart Hall)

Rhetorical Concepts

Rhetorical Situation (Bitzer, Vass)

Dramatistic Pentad (Burke)

Artistic Appeals (i.e., ethos, pathos, logos)

The Canons (e.g., of memory, arrangement, style, delivery, invention)

Rhetorical Tropes, e.g., Ekphrasis (Greek – description of actual or imagined)

Graphic Design and Interface Design

Gestalt Theory (‘the sum of the whole is greater than its parts’)

Formal Elements of Design Arrangements, Page Layout (e.g., Robin Williams’ NonDesigner’s Design books)

Information Design and Data Visualization (e.g., Tufte)

Document Design and Interface Design (e.g., studies in UX and Technical Communication)

New Media Theory / New Media Studies*

The Medium is the Message (i.e., Marshall McLuhan)

Origins of Hypertext (i.e., Vannevar Bush and Ted Nelson)

Hypertext Theory & Remediation (e.g., David Jay and Richard Grusin)

The Language of Computational New Media (e.g., Lev Manovich)

Convergence Culture (e.g., Henry Jenkins)

Gaming Theory, Literacies (e.g., Ian Bogost, James Paul Gee)

*Studies and applications to new media “objects” such as photography, museums, games, art installations, digital interfaces, user experiences, moving images, and so on.