Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Semiotic Interpretation:

Note (1/21/10): I created some new ads and wrote a post about a new REI campaign, "Rethink Living."

Disclaimer: I still don’t quite understand semiotics with its use of signs and how I can connect that to a retail catalog/website. I do understand that meaning is gathered by context and relationships rather than pure denotation.

REI’s predominantly retail website caters to the outdoor, rugged, and still modern adventurer. Below are a few details that define REI’s prime customer and show relationships between REI’s persona and current cultural beliefs.

Design has made a careful use of colors and basic design principles. The website displays a minimalist design made apparent by the use of the following:

  • White is dominant in the color palette.

  • Diagonal lines are excluded from the design.

  • Fonts are simple and consistent.

  • The website consists of 2 or 3 column layouts. also exhibits a modern approach with bright, clear cut images and extensive navigation menu. Additionally, REI brands itself with black and green (homepage).

REI’s copy seeks to highlight independence in day to day living through extreme to moderate “adventures”:

  • “Whether it's the end of a top-rope or an alpine summit, REI has the gear to help you reach it.”

  • “Get outdoors with tents, packs….”

  • “The snow's ready, are you?”

  • “Explore your world on a bike from REI!”

  • “Get outside with adventure-ready women's hiking and travel clothing….”

Culturally, Americans are increasingly spending time indoors. They are inundated with media advertising on every possible piece of communication technology available. Perhaps REI speaks to the “fed up” individual who is bored or exhausted by “The Office” environment. The opportunity for independence is a promising motivation for customers. isn’t just a place for the outdoor consumer to get his/her gear, but rather a place that helps to define the customer—to validate the customer’s beliefs and further persuade him/her to become something more.  Its retail website ratifies the customer’s need to feel sophisticated (by being minimalistic and modern) but also the independence seeker.

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