Weasels & Chameleons: the new normal

LYONS, Toby (2016). Weasels & Chameleons: the new normal. In: In/Authentic Styles : Language Discourse and Context - PALA 2016, Cagliari, Italy, 27-30 July 2016. (Unpublished)

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Presented at the PALA 2016 annual conference, Cagliari, Italy. The scene: the streets and bus shelters of an overspill town in the north of England. Newspaper hoardings, advertising posters and brand pay-off lines conspire in an urban ‘poetry’ familiar to many. The cheap typefaces ‘worn’ by these words – ‘DRUGS/HORROR/LOTTO/SEX/DEATH’ contrast starkly with those urging us to buy branded products ‘because you're worth it’. We are by turns fascinated, flattered and horrified by the rich verbal and visual diet printed and posted up on our way to work, home and other places. The texts and data in this study consist of a collection of over 150 actual newspaper hoardings together with photographic records of street advertising from urban and suburban settings in Stockport, England. These texts are analysed semantically for regularity of occurrence and co-combinations of keywords. This short form of 5-8 word statements – constructed as punchy headlines – compares closely with the brevity of advertising and branding propositions within the same, shared, urban space. The vocabulary of news reporting – ‘true events’ happening ‘right here, right now’ – is weighed against the vocabulary of aspiration and desire seen in brand advertising within intimate urban spaces. Integral to these comparative vocabularies are the supportive visual signifiers of the typefaces used: typefaces that suggest on the one hand truth and urgency, and on the other fantasy and desire. This study will consider how particular typefaces and typographic styles are applied to these messages and, through their associated visual connotations, confer deeper semiotic readings. In conclusion, the study will attempt to frame a conjoined semantic and semiotic reading of the notions of Authenticity/Inauthenticity with reference to these texts.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Other)
Departments - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Faculty of Science, Technology and Arts > Department of Art and Design
Depositing User: Toby Lyons
Date Deposited: 27 Jan 2017 12:00
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 11:17
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/14859

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