SEMIOTICS 1 Essay Example

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In most cases, language is perceived as a primary tool of expression in human. Language, which is a resource, can be used in communication or passing of specific messages across as well as positioning psychological ideas to audience. Since messages need to be passes regardless of a physical person present to communicate the message verbally, visual presentation can be applied to achieve the goals of such messages, and this form the topic of discussion in this essay. Use of images or signs constitutes the foundation of what was formerly referred to as social semiotics. With reference to early semiotician, images transpired as a combination of forms as meaning. The images that are made by human beings, in most cases are meant for motivational purposes while other may express the contrary. The signs, which are made from different modes, may give a social expression of certain individuals that reveals an outward expression to their expression or meanings (Chandler, 2002, 53).

This essay will categorically analyse Wayne Rooney semiotic resource as an individual with an aim of giving a detailed understanding of some of the theories, cultural, technological and conventional norms used to construct meaning of the image. Semiotics, which is also referred to as semiology, can be defined as the study of symbols, significations and signs which give a meaning of a creation and not the actual image presented. The thesis for this essay is to provide an analysis of a controversial advertisement of Nike Company that used a picture of Wayne Rooney in the year 2006. The picture, which is presented below raised a lot of controversies that are discussed in the essay.

semiotics essay

Semiotics theories

Semiotics in academics is mainly dedicated to studying signs which may be recognized by the existence of constituent parts. According to Barthes, text many not convey a single meaning, instead are subjected to various meanings and interpretations. The level of an interpretation of a text or an image will depend on the person reading the text or observing the image. Barthes, on his theoris, provide two theories of semiotics, the studium and the punctum. The personality give an explanation of how photography is considered as the predominant text of mass culture. According to Barthes, photographers, just like the one presented and which forms that basis of this discussion are major mythologists. The appropriate theory for Wayne Rooney photograph is the Studium of the photograph, which is the core of cultural interest. The picture, according to the photographer and the observer will be interpreted different with considerations on the representation strategy and the pictorial presentation of reality (Rayner, Wall & Kruger, 2004, 61). The two elements are the main ideas and points that can be studied and explicated as give an understanding of why one may enjoy the photograph, or one can pose a justification of its historical significance.

Considering the theories and the pictorial presentation of the Wayne Rooney, the notion of signs may be given a description in several ways. Some of the definitions in the picture may be functional in the sense that they give a broader definition of the something that was used in a replica of another thing or an interpretation of signified referent. According to the Aristotelian tradition, sign, just like the one used in the picture can be categorized into three, including the signifier, signified and referent. These three categories give a concrete meaning of the intention of the sign, for example, Wayne Rooney as a professional footballer.

Elementary semiotics

Just like other areas of discipline in the learning institutions, semiotics provides a revelation of the complex phenomena that may be perceived to be bearing peripheral simplicities. Apart from the picture of discussion, a simple and common example is the traffic light. The three colors being seen on a traffic light may be simple, and it requires the application of the sense of sight but can be complex when it comes to ensuring safety (Hitchcock, 2008, 16). From the advertisement, Wayne Rooney presented as a medium close up of a famous footballer so the audience or the observer may see a sporting advertisement. The observers will definitely concentrate of the arms which are stretched and the red painting of a cross from arms, chest and head. A peripheral view of the image of the clenched fist and facial expression make Wayne Rooney a presentation of victory, which will give a presentation of him winning with ‘Nike’. One may perceive that the red painting is blood instead of a presentation of the England flag. To some extends it may be true because winning a battle may require shading of blood.

Modality of the image

According to Kress and van Leeuwen (2006, 159), Modality in an image can be reduce or exaggerated in an image. This will involve taking away the coluur or putting more of the colour in order to give a certain presentation. Reducing more of the colour will lower the modality of the image. More argument is stated by the same author, that colour in a picture can be unrealistic on the higher side or be reduced in the image as seen in the picture. The picture present Wayne Rooney having a pale skin to bring a representation of the England flag, since the England flag is red and white. The red painting, which according to religious myths my appear to be an act of cult, has been smeared and could be interpreted as blood according to some people (Rayner, Wall & Kruger, 2004, 86).

On a positive perspective, the red painting, which is more pronounced, suggest that the footballer is willing to die for his country. The main reason for the NIKE company choosing Wayne Rooney for the advertisement is because of his good football talents and skills and one of the best players in the England football.

Representation of Wayne Rooney as a social actor in the image

It is important to identify the interpersonal Matafunction that can be realized in the visual representation of the person in the image. It is significantly important to examine how the manipulation of the expression and the distance between the observers relate to the different social relationships the player has. Considering ‘gaze’ as are resource for semiotic, the question is, what can you see when you look directly into the eyes of the represented participant?. According to Kress and Van Leeuwen (2006, 117), there is a fundamental difference existing between the images by way in which the represented participants look at the observers eyes, contrary to the images where there is no eye contact. Wayne Rooney expression in the image is of victory of just scoring a goal is a football match. This is supported more by the open mouth that is yelling and the clenched fist. As it is known by most, if not all the football fans, Wayne Rooney is a player that is known for his exemplary skills and is instantly associated with scoring goals, as he is a prolific goal scorer in all the games he played in the recent years.

From the time the advert appeared, it was properly timed in consistence with the world cup that is an international competition that every football fan was waiting for. Apart from advertising a product, the representation of the image gives an imaginary relationship between player and the fans. It presents victory and patriotism for England as a country considering the general look, gesture and expression of the image. A typical facial expression of the participant will directly signify the kind of relationship between the parties involved (Bryan et al. 2014, 245). The illustration of the player is to give hope and courage to the players that they be ready for victory and the country, England will win the world cup finals. The proximity of the image to the audience create a sense of togetherness, closeness and worth to the entire nation and that their participation is appreciated by looking at the facial expression.


Media is one of the effective way or passing on a message to a large population. The dominant ideology in media, just like other social groups, have their various ways of feeling, thinking, making sense and believing things. Creating a written advert may be seen as an individual or organizational opinion and the public may perceive it differently. Making a simple image, like the one discussed in the essay leave it for individuals to have their own point of view and perception without having to criticize others. Critical analysis of the advertisement considered the material chosen for printing the image for easy analysis. Some of the materials used for advertisement may be agreeable to semiotic analysis compared to others. The material used in the Wayne Rooney image can be described to me more cooperative to the event and the country.

It is also important to recognize the high standards of signification which depend on the denotation inventory. From the image, this is applicable in the way Wayne Rooney is put in the image; first consideration is given to the image of the cross that is painted on a nude body. The painting on a nude body would be considered a religious connotation, depicting the player as Jesus (Saussure, 1983:67 — 79); and (1974:66 — 79) cited by Chandler, D. (2002). However, the player was just used to show how the company products lead to victory, good quality and how prestigious the products are. Therefore, the effect of semiotics has a weakness of not able to measure the level of influence the image impact on audience or the reader despite it being a tool of analyzing media images (Bryan et al. 2014, 245).


Bryan S., Turner, Nicholas Abercrombie, Stephen H. (2014) Dominant Ideologies (RLE Social theory) Routledge Libraries. [online] via www. Semiotics for Beginners’ Chandler, D. (2002) ‘

Hitchcock, Louise, (2008), Theory for Classics: A student’s Guide. Routledge, Hoboken

. New York: Routledge, p10Multimodality – A Social Semiotic Approach to Contemporary CommunicationKress, G. (2010)

(2nd edn). London: Routledge.Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design Kress, G. and T. van Leeuwen (2006)

Rayner, P., Wall, P., Kruger, S. (2004) Media Studies; the essential introduction, 2nd ed. London, Routledge. Image Analysis (12p)[online] via www.Semiotics for Beginners’ Saussure, F. (1983:67, 78); and (1974:67, 78) cited by Chandler, D. (2002) ‘