Using semiotics, I have attempted to design a background for a poster in support of counterculture.

I wanted to use the subject of abuse as my reference.


My signifiers are:

  • A person gesturing the “shh” sign
  • The text “Shh” imprinted on their lips
  • No clear identifying markers or the person

The signified is:

  • To stay quiet
  • To not talk
  • The can’t say anything to us
  • Are the lips branded? Are they in pain? Did someone do that?
  • The person is insignificant/not worth recognising

What else needs to be done:

This photo gets across that this anonymous person has no voice for us, and so any text that is added needs to counter that message to say that there are ways to break that silence, and to be heard and to get help for abuse. This poster is to help support victims of abuse.

The image is uncomfortable as the lips appear branded and we don’t know the rest of their story, and they can’t seem to tell us. The text shouldn’t interfere with the image too much because of this.

Some text that could work could be:

Break the silence. Do not suffer in silence. Do not just put up and shut up. Silence is no longer golden. Secrets hurt us.

Twisting well known sayings.

This poster would ideally be made in conjunction with local or national abuse support charities so support links and contact information would be added to it too.

This poster concept connects two postmodern ideas – the power of semiotics, and the rise of the counterculture.