Good Essay About Who Is Chiefly Responsible For Meaning In The Communication Arts – The Author Or The Viewer/Consumer?

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Art, Advertising, Communication, Design, Customers, Consumer, Culture, World

Pages: 8

Words: 2200

Published: 2020/12/12

Institutional Afiliation

Who is chiefly responsible for meaning in the communication arts the author or the viewer/consumer?
Consumer goods have a relevance that exceeds their functional nature and commercial worth. The importance lies widely in the consumer goods ability to convey and converse cultural meaning. Cultural meaning varies constantly between various geographical positions in the social world aided by the individual efforts of producers, designers, advertisers, and consumers. Moreover, different professionals may have different definitions though they are all pegged on the same principle. There is a long-established course in the way cultural meaning is borrowed from a culturally constituted world and transferred to a consumer good. The significance is from the object and moved to an individual consumer. For this reason, the author, producers, designers, and advertisers are primarily accountable for meaning in the communication arts.

A History of Communication Arts

The world has made milestones in regards to communication from using stone tools to using Ipads. 5,000 years ago, the first writing arrangements were discovered in Egypt, China, and the Middle East some of which have survived and maintained their originality to date such as the Chinese ideograms. Contrary to that, the Egyptian hieroglyphics disappeared over time while the Phoenician alphabets and Hebrew extended throughout the Western world to provide a modern writing system. Writing was the first form of stable database for the human race, which was an extension of the human way of thinking. Writing was both a source of dependable records and conspiracies that would and had been developed at that time.
Despite its powerful writing required helpful technologies to make more reliable. A rational way of actualizing this powerful was thinking of the alphabet as a software and the appropriate technologies required to make it functional such as the paper and pencil as the hardware. Although the latter would later after several centuries but prior to that, the animal hides and clay was the get go. Finally, after 20 centuries, a Chinese court official invented paper and soon after that, the Chinese embarked on making abrasions from stone inscriptions that led to the development of woodblock printing. Whereas in Europe there were, many challenges as it was the Dark Ages however it similarly led to advancements in the Roman alphabet and the miniscule currently referred to as the lower case letters.
In the 1200s, the invention of the paper arrived in Spain and Sicily and finally the idea to develop some form of machinery to duplicate the written word. The Chinese had begun to feel that the woodblocks had become cumbersome, therefore; the movable type came in handy. Within 50 years, printing was created all over Europe, and the contemporary communications revolution was officially on its path to the future (Peters, 2012, 34). Drawings, woodcuts, and paintings were put together to pass on powerful information and often than not inciting messages. Similar to the Internet currently printing did not single out between substantial information and propaganda.
Printing was speedy in the 1800s when the first papermaking machine and power presses were introduced. By the mid-1800s photography, telegrams and lithography were discovered making the communications rapid and precise. In the late 18th century, telephones, audio recording, photo engraving and motion pictures were getting to an extensive audience yearning for information. Soon industrialization began, and a new turf called advertising started to delineate the look of the modern world. Advertising became a major player in the advancement of design and illustration with newspapers and magazine ads to radio and television.
In America, the 20th century brought with it, comics as a modern art form that influenced an age group of painters and illustrators that combined texts and images. The mid-1900s marked the start of color photography and four-color process printing that transformed the look of American publishing for the better (Chen & Morley, 2006, 119). The magazines propagated as the magnetic tape, stereophonic replaced the old, and every the transistor radio paved to broadcasting that brought a complete overhaul to an industry that was tremendously catering to the wealthy youth market. The dominance in communication arts eventually shifted from Europe to the United States after the World War 2. The Americans were able incorporate the European influence and created a style that was well suited to up-and-coming postwar consumer culture. The culture was always shifting as Jazz paved way to Rock & Roll, and television started to characterize trendy culture. The invention and innovation of new technologies continued to change as the satellites led to the exploration of space, which catalyzed the computer age.

Advertising and Communication Arts

Scenes from the Stone Age: The Cave Paintings of Lascaux
The Lascaux was discovered by four boys in 1940 the long-standing cave of prehistoric art in the commune of Montignac brought about a significant archeological discovery. The 30,000-year-old drawings in the cave are of various animals such as the legendary unicorn, deer, rhinoceros, bulls and horses (Cunningham, 2011, 89). The cave has since been a magnet for millions of tourist all over the world as it represents the art from the dawn of man. Scholars such as Georges Bataille claim that the paintings in the cave reflect on the origin of not art but life, society religion, and civilization. Additionally he believes that deciphering the meanings of the paintings is significant in the history of art.
Consumers rarely have information relating to the corporate plans or creative plans that bring about the ads they see. Most ads ought to be at face value devoid of the understanding of the intent of those who have produced them. Regardless of the many interesting ideologies from various experts to decipher the meaning of the Lascaux cave paintings that have been brought forth, the original importance or objective behind the paintings will continue to be open to question.
Figure 1: A Brown Cow from the Lascaux (Cunningham,2011)

Las Meninas

One of Spain’s most famous work of art in the Western art is Las Meninas that was painted in1656 by Diego Velazquez. The painting represents a royal life from a previous generation with a Spanish princess and house cleaners and the king and queen from a reflection from a mirror in the painting. The painting does not adhere to the conventional regulations of representational art that demand the painting portrays the outlook from the vantage point of the artist.
According to John Ruskin, every drawing painted in a factual standpoint may be viewed as a full glass piece that is upright, upon which the objects observed through it have been (Dougherty, 1955). Although the same is not seen in, Las Meninas as it stays away from the classical rules, and it portrays the scene from various points of view. Such as that of the King and Queen through the reflection from the mirror the princess and her maids and that of the person viewing the painting.
Modern advertising is on the representational methods established over tens of thousands of years of testing copied (Foucault, 2010, 137). Some advertising imagery sticks to the classical regulations of representation while other examples steer away into a more creative direction.
Figure 2: Las Meninas (Dougherty, 1955, 115)
The spectator is encouraged to enter into the interpretive process of the painter as one imagines’ the scene from several vantage points and to provide incomplete and omitted information. The narrative is incomplete, and the spectator must collaborate with the artist to complete it.

Interpretation of Advertising and the Perspective of the Consumer

The many comparisons between the analysis of art and advertising illustrate the substantial similarity of the two. Advertisements from 19th, 20th and 21st centuries will refine the museums. Currently, a few institutions like the Museum of Radio and Television in New York, the Smithsonian Institution and the Hartman Center at Duke University have amassed compilations of classified ads (Oliver, 2010, 78). Overall ads are for as cultural artifacts and are kept in archival collections rather than art museums. This is because they are still too fresh, too ubiquitous and too associated with profit-making benefits to having yet attained a status worth of being called “art."
Most of the subjects about the analysis of art can be of advertising with instructive results. For instance, the motives in advertising are common and are similar to the conditions in the Lascaux cave paintings. However, it is a matter of interest for the consumer to know the intentions of those advertising and in most cases, the information is not available. In most situations, the ads appear on television and billboards, and the rest is left to the consumer to make a final accurate and beneficial decision on their own. Corporations and the ad agents anticipate that users will understand the messages, but there is always a chance that the understanding of an ad by the consumer will differ from what the Corporation intended (Jhally,2014, 197).
Another important concern comprehends the meaning of ads from the critic’s vantage point. Commentators with corporate orientations and academic perspectives give out their opinions based on the view of the promotion’s drive, commercial objectives, and other professional concerns. Their general considerations that associate publicity to capitalism, consumption, mass communications, public opinion, accepted culture and other social and cultural issues. Although social and cultural perspectives of academic critics and corporate orientations that control the consumer world are considered. Consumers are merely left to interpret the ads without the aid of what the experts say.
Ads are omnipresent they are located in schools, clothes, TV, print media and streets. Despite the excessive nature of advertising, the society responds to advertisements in a passive manner. Corporations have tried making advanced methods in order to involve the consumers more actively in advertising decisions. Most users expect ads to speak on their own for the most part taking ads at face value. Advertisements that give users a hard time fail to meet the objective of most corporations and end up not selling the brand as a user fails to remember the brand advertised.

Visual Communication

Just like advertisements, visual communication is omnipresent. It is not necessary for anybody to visit an art gallery to understand visual communication. Some of the examples of visual communication are phones, logos, signs, appliances advertisements e.t.c. However, creating awareness is not an essential requirement to act in accordance with its function. Visual communication is referred to the design and not art because its target audience or user is (Lester, 2013, 187). Other than art, it focuses takes more time establishing what the user or consumer is interested and then finally takes the interests into consideration through design. Visual communication is purposeful, functional and targeted these three elements distinguish it to being a design rather than art. Previously visual communication was known as graphic design. William Addison Dwiggins, an American designer, created the term ‘graphic design’ with the intention of upgrading it to communication design (Whitbread, 2009, 72). There are different types of visual communication designers, and advertising falls within advertising and promotion design.

Difference between Communication Art and Visual Communication

The idea of communicating a preexisting message is with the principal intention of motivating action in their audience. On the other hand, an artist’s primary objective is to generate emotional responses from their audience. For this reason, both visual communication and arts are based, rely on the consumer’s priority whether or not it is motivation or inspiration. Majority of the designer's objective is to have their audience clearly understand their work immediately whereas an artist’s goal is not defined. This is because art is often given various interpretations by those viewing it thus resulting in differing opinions on the artist’s intent. Forexampledatebeendebatableworkartopinionsdifferwhetherorshesmilingpleasureoritgrimaceorbothorneither Nevertheless, designs are analyzed differently all together for their functionality a slight diversion would mean that the graphic designer has failed in his objective.
Design is regarded as a skill while art is God-given gift. For most designers, flexibility is the means to an achievement. Design is a skill that is developed and expanded on though many designers have an automatic skill for the craft but it cannot be compared to being born with an innate ability for oil painting and sculpting (Harris, 2013, 555). Opinion and taste are two distinct subjects. Taste is the reference to what people like and dislike, opinion is a debatable matter. Design revolves around the aspect of personal taste despite the fact that it is not the primary element it is on. Art is judged based on what the spectator is fascinated most about if they piece of art fails to please the eye then it is no longer up for consideration.


In arts, the consumer is chiefly responsible for the communication but in visual communication the designer’s objective is to communicate the message to the user. Arts are different as they are they are created based innate emotions that an artist has. The most famous work of arts is thought to be also the most debated on.


Chen, K. H., & Morley, D. (Eds.). (2006). Stuart Hall: Critical dialogues in cultural studies. Routledge.
Cunningham, D. (2011). The Oldest Maps of the World: Deciphering the Hand paintings of Cueva de El Castillo Caves in Spain and Lascaux France. Update
Dougherty, C. (1955). Ruskin's Views on Non-Representational Art. College Art Journal, 112-118.
Foucault, M. (2010). Las meninas.
Harris, J. C. (2013). Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa. JAMA psychiatry, 70(6), 555-556.
Jhally, S. (2014). The codes of advertising: Fetishism and the political economy of meaning in the consumer society. Routledge.
Lester, P. (2013). Visual communication: Images with messages. Cengage Learning.
Oliver, R. L. (2010). Satisfaction: A behavioral perspective on the consumer. ME sharpe.
Peters, J. D. (2012). Speaking into the Air: A History of the Idea of Communication. University of Chicago Press.
Whitbread, D. (2009). The design manual. Unsw Press.

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