The Semiotics of Podcasts

Clockwise from top left: Luke Romig, It’s Your Universe; Casey Lovegrove, Bad With Money; McKenzie Martin, What the Crime?!; Madison DeFilippis, The Tell Show.

This past quarter in my Semiotics class at Portfolio Center, students worked on a new project: using semiotics, or the study of signs, to create a visual identifier for a Panoply/Slate Network Podcast. Many of you listen to podcasts on your phone or laptop. The square image that shows on the screen while your podcast is playing is the identifying mark/visual for the show. The most exciting part of the project for me, as a teacher, was to bring in the option of motion to these marks. The four examples above are simple GIF files. With the option of using motion, students were able to use the identifier to tell more of a story, set a mood, and give the viewer a better sense of the podcast.

From left: Katie Tynes, The History Chicks; Jennifer Grimm, Lexicon Valley.

Animation was encouraged but not required with the podcast identifier project. Above are two examples that function as still identifiers, but still have the potential for motion if the students wish to animate these marks later.

The students really enjoyed learning about new podcasts, listening to numerous episodes, researching the programs and coming up with visual symbols, icons and indices that create interest in the podcasts and tell compelling stories. Enjoy these examples.


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