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Words and Actions

Mar 12, 2021

In this episode we talk about creativity in language and visual communication. We published many of the images and logos we mention on our website, Here you can find the full transcript, too. 

In the first part of the episode, Erika mentions the following study on how colour influences investment decisions: 

Chan, C. R., & Park, H. D. (2015). How images and color in business plans influence venture investment screening decisions. Journal of Business Venturing, 30(5), 732-748.

Veronika published some of her work on the links between colour and language in this article: 

Koller, V. (2008a). ‘Not just a colour’: Pink as a gender and sexuality marker in visual communication. Visual Communication, 7(4), 433-461. 

Moving on to individual logos, here are  the Toblerone bear and the crest of the city of Bern. Veronika’s research on city brands, including a categorisation of their logos, was published as

Koller, V. (2008b). ‘The world in one city’: Semiotic and cognitive aspects of city branding. Journal of Language and Politics, 7(3), 431-450. 

We specifically mention the logos of three places where we live or were born, resp.: Ghent (Belgium), Dunaszerdahely (Slovakia) and Stroud (UK). We also discuss what changes in logos and type fonts can signalise, and Veronika mentions the case of Lancaster University, which had such a change in 2014. Some fonts can indeed elicit strong reactions, as evidenced on the website The form and connotations of type fonts were theorised by Theo van Leeuwen:

van Leeuwen, T. (2006). Towards a semiotics of typography. Information Design Journal, 14(2), 139-155. 

For a general interest read, try this book: 

Garfield, S. (2010). Just My Type: A book about fonts. London: Profile Books. 

Bernard then reveals a different side of himself when he talks about the irregular type fonts and idiosyncratic spelling used by heavy metal bands. At the end of the first part, we talk about names for a company and Erika mentions a study showing a correlation between length of a domain name and visits to a website. 
In the interview, Chris Arning mentions, among other works that have influenced him:

Jakobson, R. (1981). Linguistics and poetics. In Selected Writings. Berlin: de Gruyter Mouton, pp. 18-51. 

In the third part of the episode, we analyse linguistic creativity on the website This is not an overview website but one to be explored through interacting with it, so have a look. Erika observed that the designers seemed to have followed a model developed under the name of ‘brand linguistics’:

Carnevale, M., Luna, D., & Lerman, D. (2017). Brand linguistics: A theory-driven framework for the study of language in branding. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 34(2), 572-591.

The red thread for this episode has been travel. You can take a flight of fancy and read about the language and semiotics of luxury destinations here

Thurlow, C., & Jaworski, A. (2012) Elite mobilities: The semiotic landscapes of luxury and privilege.  Social Semiotics, 22(4), 487-516

or learn about Gosia Drewniok’s research on the language branding of luxury hotels here – happy travels and see you again for the next episode.