You are currently browsing danoliver’s articles.

So I’ve been drinking a lot of caffeine laden beverages this week, and looking at the Pepsi can on my desk I just noticed that it has a new logo and design which is quite different from the old ones.  I will present a quick semiotic analysis of this.

New design:

new pepsi logo

Old design:

last years can designs

last years can designs

What is interesting is that the format: the formal layout right away struck me as being very “web 2.0.” The design is very minimalist with no excessive clutter or visual distractions. The background has a single color gradient, and when placed on a desk the shadows reflecting off the can seems to give this single color a two tone color gradient, that is reminiscent of the drop shadows/reflections that was a brief design fad of web 2.0 logos (take a look at iTunes coverflow for an example). The use of a non-serif text and all lowercase also has been a frequent design choice in web 2.0 sites. The logo itself has also been reduced, containing no textual information. The color and stripes in the Pepsi logo of course denotate the United States, which connotates patriotism and allegiance. This also makes a good example of how branding tries to rearrange signs, in this case trying to associate love and loyalty to a brand and product as opposed to a country.

The Pepsi logo also strongly reminds me of the Obama logo, which tries to connotate modernity, change, and patriotism.

Obama campaign logo

Obama campaign logo

So taken together this is a set of codes that signify the modern and cutting edge. Of course the goal of branding is to transfer these connotative attributes to you as the consumer of the product. The outcome of this phatic relationship is that by drinking Pepsi you are also modern, networked, and social. Which is consistent with past branding strategies (“Pepsi the taste of a new generation”).


After reading the Kickasola article I was interested in actually seeing examples of the film.  Some of the key scenes mentioned in the article are available online:

Weronika meets Véronique, mentioned on page 248 last paragraph.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ok so I thought I’d try to apply the exercise we did yesterday in class (structuralist examination of punk and Native American fashion) and apply it to an “interactive artifact.”  I decided to do it on the first webpage that I had up on my browser. Surprise surprise, it was the Facebook news feed. Well that makes it easy, as I don’t have to spend time describing what it is, as I assume everyone in a college class knows about Facebook :).

Step 1: denotation

portrait photos
photos of people/things/places

Textual signifiers
hours/minutes update

textual emphasis

clickable names of people
clickable comments

Step 2 – pull out the connotation

Feeds, status, when updated -> wire services, up to the minute news.
Portraits / headshots -> personals / self advertising.
Minimal design, textual emphasis -> news and information is all that matters.

Step 3 – further distilling

Site plugs you into the 24/7 news pulse. “All the news, all the time.”
Important events aren’t just created by others locally, nationally or internationally, it’s your actions too.
Your input matters, you matter.


The goal of this exercise was for me to see if I ran across any problems doing this analysis on something interactive. Questions did arise, which I’ll outline below:

1. By doing this exercise with an interactive website, I wasn’t sure if I should just focus on one page or the site as a whole. I suppose it can be done eitherway depending on what the unit of analysis is.

2. Going with #1, should I interact with the page, if so, what parts, and how far should I drill down.

3. Similar to our examination of punk fashion, I feel like this exercise is simplified by the fact that I already have a good understanding of social networking sites. How would my analysis of an unknown website work out, would the results be relevant and on target?

4. Is something that is clickable or “interactable” a signifier?

5. Is design a signifier? At first I wasn’t sure, but then I remembered or discussion of how the cut on a piece of fashion can be a signifier of haute couture, so I’ll say yes.

That’s about it. Comments or feedback? At a later date I’ll go back and do this exercise again but with a site that I’m not as informed with.