A Semiotic Rosetta Stone: Developing a Designer-centric Meta-language of Pragmatic Semiotics

Dave Wood

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In this paper I outline the development of a designer-centric meta-language that interfaces between practitioner and theoretician, without compromising their integrity and rigour. I express this through a Rosetta Stone metaphor and how, as a design researcher, I developed this concept when I had to pierce through Peirce’s pragmatic semiotic theory to enhance aesthetic practice. I initially found it a challenge to understand Peirce’s unfamiliar academic terminology without any prior formal education in Pragmatism or semiotic theory. The problem for designers is that theoretical language can be intimidating, arcane and opaque. In reviewing the Peircean literature I identified an absence of designer-centric literature, which would quickly facilitate designers’ understanding of Semiosis. This paper therefore is a progressive call for more concerted collaboration between theoreticians and practitioners. This would ideally lead to new designer-centric Peircean literature being published, leading to the enhancement of aesthetic creative practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S28-S37
JournalThe Design Journal
Issue numbersup1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sept 2017
EventDesign for Next: 12th EAD Conference - Rome
Duration: 6 Sept 2017 → …


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