Semantics is a science that studies processes of meaning. The goal is usually the arrangement of signs and rules with which ideas or concepts can be described. In a historical perspective semantics is an attempt to realize the synthesis of the languages. Leech (1981) states that semantics is the center of research of the human mind, thought processes, cognition, conceptualization. Langer (1948) points out that not every semantics belongs to language, and that meaning processes include much more such as images or objects but also music: “if the music has a meaning value, then it is semantic”. Linguistics is the study of languages, semantics is the study of what lurks behind the languages, namely the imagination.
Design semantic research is not just the decipherment of mental processing of sensual experiences such as the processing of colour into meaning and emotional reaction. As Lars Lundgren, associate professor in Media & Communication Studies at Sweden Södertörn University defines, semanticists have a strong interest in classification; the use of systems, structures and schemes. The reason for classifying and systematizing is to get a grip on seemingly fluid and always changing phenomenon like colour, meaning, emotion and psychology, in order to understand, communicate and apply these phenomenon in a far more scientific way.
A semantical approach is to search for logical and thus mathematical systems of giving of meaning. Semantics explores this mathematical logic within human biology and neurology, assuming that human understanding is not only a matter of learning and culture but that also an inborn language ability is needed. In this view signs not only refer to the outside, to the concrete, but at the same time have an inner, abstract meaning.
For instance, the term chair does not only presume a reference to this furniture. It is not only a reference to a material object, but also to an idea. Before we can speak we already know what sitting is. ‘Chair’ therefore only becomes understandable from this abstract knowledge about sitting and presumes an ability of understanding.
- KHNUM, a methaphor
- Towards a logical turn of design
- Genetic semantics
- An abstract framework
- Spatial thinking
- Dimensional meaning overview
- Basic and adjective dimensions of meaning
- Colours as an abstract classification system
- Semantic colour space
- Semantic dimensions of colour
- Eight primary colours
- Colours and meaning
- Levels of meaning
- The Bio-informational theory of emotion