Recently in class we went back over semiotics (sometimes known as semiology).
Semiotics is the study of signs and how we correlate meaning with certain imagery or signs. These signs can be distinguished in three groups, iconic, indexical and symbolic
Iconic signs portray what they aim to represent such as ‘slippery when wet signs’ shown below. These signs are very straightforward in portraying their message.
Indexical signs require a bit more time to consume than iconic signs but still portray a direct correlation between imagery and meaning, employing a logical and common sense approach. An example of an indexical sign is a traffic light. The light itself does not directly stay go, slow down, stop, rather it employs the use of colours to portray these messages.
The meaning of symbolic signs must be taught due to their abstract nature. Social and cultural considerations can often impact on these messages. An example of this is the class icons for characters in the MMORPG World of Warcraft.
To those that don’t play the game or have never heard of it, they would have no idea what these signs represented but to those who do, they represent different classes of characters that possess different traits.