Learn the ins and outs of semiotics in the research process and how to apply them.

This course will take you through the basic theories and techniques, show you how semiotics fits into the wider research process and give you the chance to do your own hands-on analysis.


Traditional qualitative research collects and analyses consumer thinking; semiotics shows you what creates that thinking in the first place.

Semiotics forensically analyses consumers' popular culture to reveal the hidden ideas and cues that drive their choices and ideas.

Once thought of as merely academic (like qual!), semiotics is increasingly thought of as a vital tool to go beyond the limitations of pure consumer-based research in order to understand the wider cultural picture.

No consumer researcher can afford to be ignorant about how semiotics works and the insights that it can offer to all kinds of brands and services.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, you will understand:

  • What semiotics is - the basic intellectual and theoretical background
  • How it works alongside more traditional forms of research
  • Some basic semiotic techniques: analysing language, image, narrative and concept
  • How 'non-semioticians' experience semiotics - via a guest speaker
  • How to write semiotics into a proposal or brief

Who will benefit?

This course will benefit researcher, planners, marketers and managers who want to understand what semiotics is, how it works and how they can use it.

“Entertaining and insightful challenge for conventional ways of thinking .”

Bianca Truhel, Tesco
08 July 2016

“Practical semiotics for use in branding/business.”

Ashley Booth, Bergen Academy of Art & Design
08 July 2016

“An interesting introduction to semiotics which has made me eager to find out more.”

Conor Higgins, BT
08 July 2016

“A powerful entry into the world of semiotics.”

Jack Fryer, EMI Music
January 2013

“Insightful, interesting and fun. Rob brought the topic to life.”

Sarah Howell, Leithal Thinking
January 2013

“The course was excellent - it gave me a rounded view of how semiotics delivers insight and true value. I was pleasantly surprised at how it added a new dimension in research and I've since used semiotics on a number of high profile projects.”

Nick Eves, EDF Energy
November 2011


The Old Trading House, 15 Northburgh Street,London,EC1V 0JR

Rob Thomas studied semiotics as part of a literature degree at Oxford University, before spending seven years as a senior analyst with Semiotic Solutions, the pioneers of marketing semiotics. He founded Practical Semiotics in 2005 and currently operates in over a dozen countries.

Additional Information

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