Semiotics, or semiology, is the study of signs, symbols, and signification. It is the study of how meaning is created, not what the meaning is. The assumed belief for many is that language “represents” the world, implying that the meaning of reality is already inherent in that reality, and that language — including visual language — simply reveals the truth to us. Semiology challenges that notion. Semiology suggests meaning in the world is not there to be discovered, it is created and assigned by human activity. Language does not reflect reality; meaning and reality are constituted by and through language.
Semiotics is less a theory than it is a technique for studying language, media, and culture. Semiotics is often built and blended into other theories, and used as a toolkit for studying media texts in depth. Semiotics is the most popular and powerful way in communication, media, and cultural theory to interpret texts and make critical sense of meaning (Robert Koopmans, 2012).