Apple Inc: A Semiotic Analysis

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Signs are a commonplace feature of daily life. A sign is defined as anything that can be used to represent something else. (Berger, 2013). Commodity signs are a crucial part of consumer culture. These signs can be found on websites, in advertisements or even in a company’s logo. The principles of semiotics and the criteria for a successful commodity sign can be seen in the logo for Apple Inc.

Semiotics is the study of signs and the meanings and codes created by these signs. The pioneers of semiotics were Ferdinand de Saussure and Charles Peirce. Saussure separated the sign into two parts: the ‘signed’, which is the immediate viewing the sign and the signified which is the concept one attaches to the signed. (Asa Berger, 2005). There are three
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Karl Marx offered an analysis of the importance of economics in society’s history and the functions of capitalism. Capitalism is an economic system typified by privately owned corporations with little government restriction on trade. Exchange value and cost value are also analysed by Marx and the relationship between these values and capitalism. Exchange value refers to the market value of a product in a society and use value is the use of that product within said society (Sturken and Cartwright, 2001). Advertising emerged as the primary strategy for both creating and promoting the need for goods, encouraging people to purchase more than they need. (Sturken and Cartwright, 2001). Advertising seeks to imbue physical products with values and traits they don’t naturally have. This not only encourages one to buy the product but also by the belief that this specific product or brand will improve their life in some way, regardless of exchange or use value. A brand’s perceived value is critical to its success. The modern definition of a brand encompasses more than the product and a logo. A brand aims to establish an emotional connection with its buyers, to in order to secure that customers business over their competitors. A strong consumer community and a sense of imagined lifestyle is critical in constructing the ‘commodity self’ which is the belief the one’s identity is defined by their …show more content…
Rob Janoff presented two designs to the company: a rainbow striped apple and that same apple with a bite taken out of it. This logo (the signifier) signified the hippie ideals and counterculture but also represented that Apple monitors were in colour, a first for personal computers. (Lusensky, 2014) There are also obvious religious comparisons able to be drawn from this sign, particularly in the story of Adam and Eve, who ate forbidden fruits (apples) from the tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden. This signifies a yearning for knowledge and well as a sense of indulgence in that knowledge. (Lusensky, 2014). The bite taken out of the apple could perhaps be a nod to the non-conformist nature of the society at the time. It’s unexpected and suggests the consumer can expect something different and exciting, as opposed to the market competitors. This logo was used for twenty-two years. In 1997, when Jobs returned to the company, the rainbow stripes were abandoned for a more streamlined, monochromatic look, in order to fall in line with Jobs’ new vision for Apple and the new slogan that is still synonymous with Apple today: “Think

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