The American Journal of Semiotics

Volume 18, Issue 1/4, 2002

Thomas F. Broden
Pages 237-258

Image, Sign, Identity
Jean-Marie Floch and Visual Semiotics

Two recently translated monographs by J.-M. Floch provide English-language scholars with a substantial sample of this original and prolific visual semiotician’s work. The articles making up the two volumes present and illustrate the methods and concepts that Floch developed: “figurative semiotics”, “plastic semiotics”, and “visual identities”. Privileging the close description of particular images, Jean-Marie Floch’s work systematically brings to bear a complex and explicit semiotic theory to the exploration of visual images. The books raise crucial questions for research in the visual arts, in marketing, in perception and cognition, and in intercultural communication. This essay describes the main procedures Floch proposes for analyzing visual images, examines his concept of a visual identity, and evaluates the two English editions and translations.