Tag Archives: signifiers

Third piece of particularly inspiring design by hat-trickdesign.co.uk – Task 4)

4) Now select ONE designer or company that you find particularly inspiring. Choose THREE pieces of design (these might be separate items or three campaigns of linked items) and make analysis of each of these:

  • Why do you like it find it inspiring?

I like these pieces because they are bright and eye-catching. I like the colour scheme used because it is very cheery. I like the large-scale ‘G’ and ‘5’. The designs really brighten up the area without being ‘too much’.

  • What is the message/purpose of the piece?
My research tells me that these are ‘Environmental graphics and wayfinding scheme’.


  • Who is the audience and HOW does it hail the audience?

The audience would be anyone who comes to visit the housing association East Thames’ group headquarters in Stratford and anyone who walks by that building. The staff who work there are also the audience.

  • In what ways would you say it is innovative (if it is) OR why is it appropriate for this piece to use traditional conventions?

It looks innovative to me because some of the designs are really big and bold like the large ‘G’ and ‘5’. The designs are minimal which makes them look modern.

  • Outline the signifiers and how they tell you anything about the signified meaning – look at things like messages, narrative, quality, hailing and anything else that you deduce.

The numbers and letters are symbols so most people will be able to work out what they mean. My research tells me that the brands identity uses sunrises so this is why warm colours have been used.

The cup probably tells us that there is a café near or refreshments are available. I’m not sure what the piece that looks like a rainbow is trying to say. I thought the inspiration was meant to be sun rises, not rainbows.

  • Would you say that this designer or design company has a recognisable style – if so describe why this is, or say why this is not the case.

This piece fits in with the design for the Natural History Museum.

Here is some information I found out about the design when I was doing research.

‘East Thames Offices, UK

by Hat-Trick Design

Environmental graphics and wayfinding scheme for housing association East Thames’ group headquarters in Stratford, east London. Based on the Group’s brand identity theme of ‘sunrises’, referencing the sun rising in the east. Using the principles of light, shade and reflection, a simplified circular ‘sun’ shape and a relevant colour palette, we created an innovative system using reflected and transparent sunrise colours.

Creating ‘glowing’ iconography and wayfinding by bouncing colour from the reverse of signs against white walls of the building provided the base for their scheme.

Transparent colour applied to glazing let natural light cast colour throughout the building.

In addition, applied graphics and installations captured the theme of the ‘sun’, including a 2m clock in the public space alongside photography of local sunrises submitted by residents across east London and clients of East Thames to convey an optimistic and hopeful future.’

Article above from: http://graphicambient.com/2012/02/17/east-thames-offices-uk/


Paradigm and Syntagm

Paradigm: A paradigm is a set of associated signifiers (the form) which are all members of some defining category, but in which each signifier is significantly different. In natural language there are grammatical paradigms such as verbs or nouns. In a given context, one member of the paradigm set is structurally replaceable with another. The use of one signifier (e.g. a particular word or a garment) rather than another from the same paradigm set (e.g. adjectives or hats) shapes the preferred meaning of a text. Paradigmatic relations are the oppositions and contrasts between the signifiers that belong to the same paradigm set from which those used in the text were drawn.

So a paradigm is ‘a set of associated signifiers which are all members of some defining category’. So cat could fall into the category animals.

All of the above from: http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/S4B/sem-gloss.html#P

Syntagm: A syntagm is an orderly combination of interacting signifiers which forms a meaningful whole (sometimes called a ‘chain’). In language, a sentence, for instance, is a syntagm of words. Syntagmatic relations are the various ways in which constituent units within the same text may be structurally related to each other. A signifier enters into syntagmatic relations with other signifiers of the same structural level within the same text. Syntagmatic relationships exist both between signifiers and between signifieds. Relationships between signifiers can be either sequential (e.g. in film and television narrative sequences), or spatial (e.g. montage in posters and photographs). Relationships between signifieds are conceptual relationships (such as argument). Syntagms are created by the linking of signifiers from paradigm sets which are chosen on the basis of whether they are conventionally regarded as appropriate or may be required by some syntactic rule system (e.g. grammar).

The above from: http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/S4B/sem-gloss.html#S

The above from: http://tinyurl.com/kus6f5x

So I think the best way to describe a syntagm is ‘an orderly combination of interacting signifiers which forms a meaningful whole’.

Quote from: http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/S4B/sem03.html