A New Digital Strategy in Colombian Semiotic Landscapes

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Abstract

This article compiles the results of an applied semiotics project involving a website for the urban analysis of branding examples in two major Colombian cities: Bogota, the capital, and Medellin, a globally recognized city. The framework of this qualitative research was developed based on the relation of iconic, chromatic, and patrimonial signs with citizens and interpreters. The methodology was conducted applying triangulation, focusing on groups, structured interviews with architects, urban experts and citizens, pictures taken by researchers themselves, analyses of picture files, and semantic networks using NVIVO software. This article reveals trends in terms of city branding approaches and identifies citizens’ types of spaces and roles. The website “Ciudad Para Todos” (City for All) offers an interdisciplinary glossary, video essay, and interactive maps that allow exploring and creating a perception of the city, including landscapes contrasts, from two points of view: inside-out branding (meaning the perceptions of residents exposing their cities to foreigners), and outside-in branding (or perceptions of non-local citizens or foreigners about those cities). The findings on the website acknowledge Bogota’s branding as that of a cultural city and Medellin’s as that of a business city. The website also contains an interdisciplinary diagrammatic proposal of the city as a landscape, which was drawn by design, journalism, audiovisual communication, and architecture students.