Reading Assignment: Roland Barthes Rhetoric of the Image

What are some of the key questions Barthes aims to investigate in the article?

Barthes aims to investigate the meaning of an image. How the message reaches the viewer, does it really shows in terms literal or symbolic? Are there actually codes in an image and how does meaning gets into the image.

What are some of the key terms/ concepts introduced and discussed?

Linguistic message: a first message, its support are the caption which is marginal, and the labels, these being inserted into the natural disposition the scene.

Iconic message: A certain informational matter that we need to further read and understand that it assembles in a common space number of identifiable objects, not merely shapes and colors. Real objects.

Lexicon: A portion of the symbolic plane (of language) which corresponds to a body of practices and techniques.

Polysemous: They imply, underlying their signifiers, a ‘floating chain’ of signified, the reader able to choose some and ignore the others. It poses a question of meaning and this question always comes through as a dysfunction.

Do you agree or disagree with his argument and point of view?

I do agree with his point as an image is not just for aesthetic purposes, it has a message/ meaning to tell. And it has to really reach the viewer the way it’s supposed to tell.

Provide a brief analysis (200 words) on an advertisement of your choice by using the terms/ concepts proposed by Barthes and discuss the role of text and its relationship with the image in the advertisement. Please include an image the advertisement in your post.

Global Warming PSA Project-Ferdi Rizkiyanto

This is a global warming awareness poster by Ferdi Rizkiyanto for a Global Warming PSA Project. The linguistic message shown is “We are running out of time…Act now before it’s too late”. Its role is to support and further pushes out the meaning of the iconic message that already explains the meaning of the image itself. For example, the hourglass, clearly it represents ‘running out of time’ and as we can see the top half of the hourglass shows a melting Antarctic dripping water into the other half of the hourglass which the city we live in, filling it up. This shows the effect of global warming on us which is rising of sea water level. Therefore, the text is in a small and thin font as it’s not really needed to shout out the message of the image.

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Khairunisa Helmi

Versatile and Passionate in design, eager to make a name in the design industry with my work

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