Roland ‘Barthes’


The Barthes method of breaking down communication through a visual channel is using the method of the ‘Semiotics’, reading the signs of what is being expressed, for example taking a poster and looking at the true meaning and what it’s trying to tell us in detail.

The method was made by a man named Roland Barthes, he made the book named, Elements of Semiology. Released in the 1967, this is when the new method of Lasswell was created, a more detailed way of analysing visual content.

The method was based off, taking something from a picture and looking at the deeper meaning of it, looking at each picture used in the picture, why it was used and the effect of the person viewing it, looking at the literal meaning of it and what the effect is. Its original use was going to be for analysing pictures and the colours used and how the picture makes you think. Instead it could also be used in text based content, looking at why such words were used and what was the difference on using that word.

Everything was done by the rule of the level of signification on the content that you were analysing and trying to unpuzzle. The highest being ‘Denotation’ which is the signifier is the form of which the person can see, touch or smell, along with hear and taste. When this was found, the next step was to use the signified method which is where you find what it represents and the mental construct is gives the person instead of it just being the thing itself.

Examples of the Denotation and Connotation are mainly on posters and showing why that certain picture was used and the meaning behind it, what the effect of it was and what it makes the viewer thing about the poster in general;

  • Suit – Power, Elegance, Formality, Fear, Unknown, Fortune
  • Mask – Secret, Disguise, Unknown, Fear, Power, Feared
  • Skull – Death, Halloween, Darkness, People, Dead
  • Evening Dress – Elegance, Power, Upper class, Formality, Fortune
  • Gun – Violence, Secret, Unknown, Power, Death, Fear04-spectre_james-bond_poster

All the above is what the method uses to find the inner message to the content that is being analysed, looking at the meaning for everything that is being shown to us and why it has been used and trying to put it all together to make out what we think is trying to be told to us. For the list, above it’s for the film James Bond; Spectre. –  Used the find the dates of when the method was released.


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