Our first task to this project was simple. We had to go out and find signs that we saw on the roads or anywhere. This helped us get a basic idea about signs and why and how they are used in places that they are kept in. After collecting the signs, I realized how many signs are used around us and we hardly if ever notice it. Through this task, I have now got an interest in studying whatever sign I come across and start interpreting it. It has become super hard to not look at a sign and leave it unnoticed as it was a few days before.
After this simple activity, I understand semiotics better. I have learned that signs can be created in a very local style, specially in Qatar as some signs use the local dress. In class, looking at so many other peoples images and looking at their similarities and differences helped us group together different types of signs in particular categories. There were traffic signs, logos, restaurant and other informative signs and some that were completely random. What i noticed was that most people had brought in traffic signs. For me, it was hard to find traffic signs as I live in the dorms, but I found a lot of signs just on my way back to my room. There where signs about fire escape, stairs, cleaning room, garbage collecting room, garbage disposal room, a first aid sign and a sign for an assembly point.
Our next task was to brainstorm ideas that we want to create a sign of. We had to take into consideration a target audience that is specific and find something that is not too general or a common sign. Also, the terms vernacular, concrete and abstract were something I have to learn more about as they would be useful in later part of this project. The definitions that we were given in class and my understanding of them are :
Vernacular: A sign that is specific to a community or a group of people for example an audience of males aged 18 -25 who drive.
Concrete: Is another word for Icon, which means that it is what it is. Its clear and has all the details in it that support the idea that it is conveying.
Abstract: A sign that can be understood by an explanation, which involves the use of organic/simple shapes which might not be very clear but once explained, can be understood.