The concepts of bricolage and semiotics are respectively based on the understanding and interpretation of social and cultural constructs (bricolage) and the meaning of signs and symbols (semiotics). They are ways to deliver cultural insight. The practice of bricolage puts the researcher’s analytical skills at the core. Rooted in the pursuit of symbolic meaning, semiotics is a key tool to ensure intended brand meanings are understood. When combined with traditional qualitative methods, semiotics offers additional depth and an avenue to tackle challenging research topics.

Definition

Bricolage: the way in which different materials are used, constructed and reinterpreted in the creative process of understanding.

Semiotics: the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation.

Key Insights

1. Semiotics can help identify shifts in cultural symbolism

Study of the visual signifiers of premiumness, especially in the West, shows that the established cues are being subverted. Historically, gold or silver typography on dark backgrounds, heraldic symbolism, dates and founder imagery have been the key identifiers of premium. However, founder stories are now giving way to artisan craftsmen as symbols of the authentic craft behind the product. A refined and deferential tone is being replaced by witty, playful irreverence, and brighter, more expressive use of colour as well as bolder, more modern design.