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Semiotics in Movie Posters: Fashion Matters

The purpose of this report is to examine four specific texts - consisting of movie advertisement posters for the film The Devil Wears Prada- using a semiotic lens. Semiotics is understood as follows:

Linguistic and Cultural Semiotics is a branch of communication theory that investigates sign systems and the modes of representation that humans use to convey feelings, thoughts, ideas, and ideologies. Semiotic analysis is rarely considered a field of study in its own right, but is used in a broad range of disciplines, including art, literature, anthropology, sociology, and the mass media. Semiotic analysis looks for the cultural and psychological patterns that underlie language, art and other cultural expressions. ....Whether used as a tool for representing phenomena or for interpreting it, the value of semiotic analysis becomes most pronounced in highly mediated, postmodern environments where encounters with manufactured reality shift our grounding senses of normalcy (Semiotics:

Language and culture, 2008, p. 1).

In the field of communications as an adjunct to cultural studies, the analytic lens thus provided allows one to recognize the divergence of signs and images within a cultural context. The four different film posters (attached as an appendix to this report) were designed to advertise the film in, respectively, France, the United States, Japan, and Hong Kong. Collected from an online keyword search of Google, these four posters or texts were each designed to convince a largely female audience raging in age from adolescence through maturity to purchase tickets for the film. Through a semiotic analysis of the four posters, I will be arguing that the image being signified in each is that of the fashion-forward, glamorous woman whose consciousness of image transcends culture itself.

Film critic Michael Grove (2006) commented that the identification of a younger and more mature woman as fashi...

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