speak to me

here is what we feel might be our final piece in our image assignment, has the text set the picture?  Any takers on this one – just leave a comment stating what you think we might be trying to say – thank you all for your time so far and the response we’ve had has been brilliant – Judy


so the text did, Roland Barthes was correct!

Save the trees – Save the Rain forest!

Part of me did want to prove him wrong however I think it shows what amazing imaginations we have as human beings.  I think this exercise could have gone on for a while but once that one little word SAVE was added to the image that was it.

During our seminar on Tuesday with Lesley we talked about the assignment. We were shown some advertisements with the text removed and they worked brilliantly I’ve added them in for you with out the text can you guess the ad?

Assignment Two – what images mean

We’re probably almost there with our latest assignment and over the week since returning from Premiere Vision its been clear that we definitely need more than a week to complete and get the most from the task but its been good fun – I’ve had psychology and language students –  a roofer, staff nurse and teachers to name a few, analyse our ink blots!   The replies they gave were very to the point and were one or two word answers, my daughters and son however really went into the images in a big way even though I didn’t tell them anything previously but then all three are very artistic. I have a lot of artistic friends outside of  university who also saw the blots and they really went to town giving detail and making up stories – great imaginations and in one case perhaps a bit worrying!!  We’ve still not had the same answer response from everyone so tomorrow we’ll change the image again and carry on through the week till we get the same description, we might even add text.

Thinking about it in terms of my discipline was rather more tricky,  graphic designers creating adverts  have a story to tell and they can easily reach their target audience by the types of images and text they use. We learned in semester one how redundant words add context and help to understand the message behind the picture. As designers we can lead the ‘reader’ to understand by visual persuasion.

Below is a really basic idea of what I’m trying to say and I seriously hope no graphic designers are around (Jonathan is an exception though), the text changes the context of the same photograph.






Entropic communication (without redundant words)  from designers is aimed at  a specialist audience e.g. Web Designers, their design will probably be more cryptic and use language only the specialists understand. This was discussed last semester to some degree about unusual art and how at first it doesn’t fit in to the everyday world but once its seen more often, it becomes more accepted. Perhaps this is how  textile design works, on a more subtle level.  After recently attending Premiere Vision, a trend forecasting exhibition in Paris, the strength and power forecasters and designers have was very evident although I had never realised just how much! Here the story behind each season is told ready to capture the eager eyes and senses of the visitors with colours and fabrics, whether its print knit or weave they are all decided for us and very cleverly influence  the designers and buyers who are there so that their store or collection will be the top seller, make lots of money and be  featured in the magazines whose target audiences follow religiously.  They have to get it right and using trend forecasting is the way to go if you’re in it to reach the high street.  Here we’re being very cleverly told what we want through the business of trend forecasting.  Sounds like I should have been at the lecture given by Hamid whilst I was in Paris, dealing with Mass Culture and Sustainability.

Ill try to explain about Mass Culture by equating it to Karl Marxs’ views that what is the most popular opinion by  the largest group of people  should be accepted as true.  Premiere Vision and Textile View, Textile Report and Viewpoint with their trend forecasting do just this.  They’re a huge voice in the textile world and as I said previously if the high street stores and independent designer want to survive they have to go with the mass.  Sadly today there is a downside to this, we are bombarded by images of how we should look and what we should wear and in turn made to feel inadequate if we don’t follow the trends, they are a status symbol and what were once simple meaningful holidays, such as Easter and Christmas have been taken over by the must have devices or confectionary, being cleverly sold through adverts on TV and in magazines.  For the everyday consumer it’s getting more difficult to keep up and so like Henry Ford standardising the car, making it accessible to the everyday person, by producing massive quantities the price was kept low, factories in poorer countries are being used to create throw away fashion.  Its value of no worth compared to the 50’s and 60’s when you saved for the new goods which were hitting the high street and they were treasured and cared for.

Do we have a choice when the voice influencing us is so big? Independent designers could produce their own trends but how long before they too become the must haves.

Experiment part two

what does this image say/mean to you?

Thank you to everyone who helped with our experiment so far – this is the image we’ve decided to take further, if you would like to play along please feel free to leave a comment below telling me what this image means to you .

semiotics and polysemy …….

….. now I’m using the language of design, semiotics – visual communication and polysemy –  multiple meanings within an image. Having read Rhetoric of Image by Roland Barthes we are testing his suggestion that images have more than one meaning, that by associating meaning to an image we instantly unfold further meanings – polysemy, he also suggests  that we chose certain meanings ignoring others. Barthes also says that once text is placed on an image we immediately “fix” the meanings of the image.  Text is powerful in design as it can do two things, it can refer to the image but can also imply or suggest.

Barthes uses the advert below in his example,

We we first looked at this in our group we looked at it as an non symbolic image – we saw what was there, a shopping bag – no supermarket plastic here.  An open string bag, onions, garlic, tomatoes, red pepper, mushrooms and  packets of pasta.  Secondly we saw the symbolic image (what it represents) the colours; red, green and yellow associating these with Italy also the tomatoes and peppers and the quantity saying there is enough for a family. The image speaks of fresh food, natural and wholesome.  And thirdly we saw the text, the linguistic message, this confirms that is it Italian luxury – well it is to the advertiser.  I’ll write more on Barthes’ text in a further post.
For our next assignment my group has created some ink blots and we are in the process of asking non designers to analyse them, tell us their thoughts.  Ill report back with my findings tomorrow, this hopefully will help us understand how textile designers might be able to influence, or not!  If you’d like to comment on the images and what comes to mind when looking at them please feel free to do so below in the comments section…………………….


the experiment has now finished its first stage and I’ve listed the results I received below each picture.  In a new post you can read the next stage.

image one

  • Not sure about the first one…it feels quite strange looking at it as the brown and yellow are morphing together, maybe quite eery…almost like a face is appearing (i have probably been watching too much harry potter!)
  • Baby monkey (bottom left) bird/cockrel (right) peacock (bottom middle) eye (middle)
  • Chocolate and banana angel delight
  • birth… the smaller repeated shapes of the same colour following the larger shape.
  • Equatorial….tribal
  • Banksia nut – Australian Native. I love it!
  • Reminds me of banana toffee swirl sweets from days gone by!
  • something reflected in water?
  • spring

image two

  • reminds me of a beach, the water meeting sand, i think its quite a calming picture
  • Bacteria under the microscope, dogs head (blue) dogs body (orange) sheeps skull – two – one orange and one blue.
  • this one feels invasive… theres harmony in the majority of the image but there is a dark presence looming
  • reflected sky on water, with light glinting.
  • Beach…water and sand.
  • Beach…water and sand.
  • Summer

image three


  • like a woodland. Im not sure if i like the darker circles/blotches of brown (which looks like soil) but thats kind of to do with the holey thing me n lu have.  I see the orange as a flower in the bushes.
  • I really don’t like this one it’s too bitty
  • Like a woodland. Im not sure if I like the darker circles/blotches of brown (which looks like soil).  I see the orange as a flower in the bushes.
  • This makes me think of wisdom, or a wisdom only the natural world could know. makes me think of the pagan green man?
  • Spring…..newness…regeneration….like seedlings from earth
  • Autumn
  • Autumn
  • Growth
  • Light through unfurling spring leaves’

image four


  • this one feels to me like the collapse of structure or the tearing down of flags. Political bloodshed caused by a disapproving national identity.
  • I thought i looked like a guy with a blond quiff getting confrontational with another being!!…..No seriously the contrasts of colours work well and the blending and spotting of paints make the pattern flow…on a personal level I dont have a great love of these colours together?
  • Colourful abstract….or a yellow Labrador dog,wearing dark green coat and red & white stripe scarf, with a ball between his front legs, having already dabbled in a tin of red paint with scarf and front paw…as a hamster that previously fell in same tin of red paint watches on. ( hope this isn’t for psychiatric analysis or I might be in trouble! LOL!) x
  • landscape? I think the pink looks like a waterfall and the spray
  • a random accident? i like it though.
  • quick, broad, bold, strokes, focal red area…..’rage’?
  • waterfall with a lot of splashback at the bottom, big rocks at the top, sock, eye.
  • winter
  • I love the last one, it feels quite old fashioned in my head and reminds me of a black/green top hat and a lady’s pink dress, like two people dancing. The pink also reminds me of a saxaphone, This one to me is really fun.