The CODE-X series catalogs a vast codex of source codes (aka “signs”) extracted from past audits.
The object of study in semiotics is not the signs but rather a general theory of signification; the goal of each “audit” is to build a model demonstrating how meaning is produced and received within a category or cultural territory. Signs on their own, therefore, only become truly revelatory and useful once we’ve sorted them into thematic complexes, and the complexes into codes, and the codes into a meaning map. We call this process “thick description”; the Code-X series is thin description.
“STAY HOME” NORM: Counterintuitively, at the moment, staying home is one of the most proactive things that most of us can do.
“STAY HOME” FORMS: Families snuggling up. Images of the medical workers for whom we are staying home. Humorous images of people watching TV, playing videogames, “heroically.” People finding ways to entertain and amuse themselves at home. Urgent PSA tonality: “Staying home saves lives”; “You can help slow the spread of COVID-19 virus.” More light-hearted PSA tonality: “Enjoying the comfort of your home will save your life.” Humorous tonality: “Couch Po-tatriot.” “Thank you for not riding with Uber.” “It’s time to explore the great indoors.”
From a proprietary audit of “COVID-19 Relief” culture and brand communications.