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.