The significance of semiotics in branding and market research

Andrea Basunti

Semiotics sounds complicated, even mystical. But it deals with something all of us do all the time–make sense of the world around us through signs. From the unequivocal (for example, dark clouds signal rain) to the indefinite (for example, a firm handshake suggests confidence), we 'read' the world through signs.

Semiotics is often perceived as an arcane discipline, but this article will provide some insights into how it can be used commercially in the context of branding.


Modern semiotics was born at the end of the 19th century as an attempt to answer a hugely ambitious question: how is meaning created and interpreted? The goal of semiotic enquiry has since been to study the production and reception of meaning.