Say What You See

Robert Mills

One of my first blog posts here was a recommended reading list. This week I started reading one of those books again and was reminded of how great it is. I just had to dedicate a blog post to it because I think if you are reading this now then chances are you would get a lot from this book to.

This Means This, This Means That by Sean Hall is billed as a user’s guide to semiotics. The introduction is a good 10 or so pages about the topic and that alone is highly informative but the real beauty is found in the sections that follow. Rather than tell his audience about semitotics, Hall shows them as each page has an image and a question with the answer on thew reverse.

It’s a visual and practical book that makes an often confusing subject not only easy to understand but an enjoyable read too. The sections of the book are:

  • Signs and signing
  • Ways of meaning
  • Conceptual Structures
  • Visual Structures
  • Textual Structures
  • Matters of Interpretation
  • Framing Meaning
  • Stories and Storytelling

It really makes you think about the world around you and how messages are constructed in signs, paintings, written texts and images. There’s the connection to designing for the web.

It’s perhaps a bit naughty but I took some cheeky (and not great quality) photos of a few pages of the book and will pop them below because I really want more of you to read this book. These pics might persuade you as I’m only showing the questions, so you’ll have to buy it to get the answers!

I’m a writer not a photographer!

Anyway, if that’s convinced you to buy the book then I hope you enjoy it and I’d love to know what you think.