Knowledge Center

When Packs Speak

By Rasika Batra Image source: Our eyes linger on these packs for a moment before we fully comprehend what they stand for. The various elements don’t add up that easily. An ice cream called ‘Sisters’ that has faces and coloured hair! However, on looking again we might feel that even though ice cream and hair… more >


“Villagers Visiting Jodhpur Enjoy Ice Sweets, Rajasthan” (1978) forms part of the body of work by Raghubir Singh that is believed to hold up a mirror to India. This particular image stands out for having captured the introduction of the ice lolly, a cultural artefact typically associated with the West, into an unmistakably Indian setting… more >

Through its two-way rating system, Uber creates signs for both passengers and drivers.

By Rasika Batra In “The Circle”, protagonist Mae Holland says “I am better behaved when people are watching me”. This made me think of the possible ways in which our everyday behaviour is influenced by the people watching and evaluating us, so to speak. And also, how this evaluation manifests as audio and visual signs…. more >


Words and images must work in tandem to deliver the message in an ad. Theprogressive proposition in the ad being discussed here puts women in the driver’s seat by empowering them to build and own their social network. The carefully selected signs work silently to establish the context in which meaning is meant to be… more >

Price Signalling: A Fine Balancing Act of Interpretation

Recently, I repeat watched a stand-up comedy episode by Deepika Mhatre, who works as a maid in Mumbai, who also tried her hand at stand-up comedy.  Through several of her stories, she highlights the way price acts as a social signal and a quality signal in her day to day experience. What does the episode… more >

Three Reasons to call a Semiotician and buy a piece of Semiotic Research.

I had a conversation recently with the head of CMI of a large Indian corporate, who had bought a piece of semiotics research a while ago.  We were discussing semiotics vs. the qual and quant research that he is so used to buying all the time.  That’s when I realized, to be honest, that he… more >


COLOURS AND CULTURE By Hamsini Shivakumar Holi, the festival of colour has just come and gone.  That makes it a good time to reflect on the connection between culture and colour.  In a previous post/article, I had tackled the misperception of colour meanings being fixed in the mind through a mental process and stated that… more >

The Difficulty of Being Good

The drive to acquire power is hardwired into Homo Sapiens, especially the male of the species.  In this respect, we are quite similar to our closest ape relative, the chimpanzee.  The famous Dutch primatologist, Franz De Waal has written several books based on his observations of Chimpanzee groups in captivity and their power politics as… more >


By giving a platform to anyone with a data connection and adequate know-how, social media has democratised the process by which points of view can find amplification. But unlike newspapers and news channels whose work must pass through fact checks and an editorial process, content on social media often comes up against doubts about authenticity;… more >

A Series of Semiotics Articles on Brand Positioning and Equity

Hamsini Shivakumar, Leapfrog Strategy prinicpal, has written a number of articles for Semionaut. This PDF document collects some of the more notable pieces. Click to view/download the PDF.