Media Language: The Language of Print

When you start a new subject of study the first element that you must consider is the idea that there is a specific language associated with it. So for example, if you were studying English Literature you would develop an understanding of different FORMS of Literature: the novel, poetry, plays etc. All of these forms are considered English Literature, but each form has a different set of conventions which makes it distinct. In this sense each form has its’ own LANGUAGE, the same can be said of a range of other subjects, think about music, art, photography, design and so on. As when you first study Media Studies, you first of all learn that each different MEDIA FORM has its’ own MEDIA LANGUAGE.

Media Language is connected to the study of signs which is an academic approach called SEMIOTICS, which I write about in more detail in this post: http://mymediacreative.com/blog/2019/04/18/semiotics/ For now look at this video to help you get an overview.

CASE STUDY

Once you have the basic idea that different MEDIA FORMS have different MEDIA LANGUAGES you can then choose a Media Form and start to think about what elements make up each language.

In the AQA A level specification you need to look at 9 DIFFERENT MEDIA FORMS and in my AS class we started by looking at the LANGUAGE OF PRINT, initially looking at newspapers, magazines, posters, box covers (DVD, Games, etc) and then we looked specifically at newspapers, firstly looking at The newspaper and then tabloids, as these would form part of the final assessment for this course.

LANGUAGE OF PRINT:

So for example, we looked at a range of printed material – magazine front cover, printed adverts, newspapers, posters, box wraps and broke down what we could see into different elements that we could think about. For example,  the way type (typography) is used, the way images are used, aspects of layout such as size, scale, positioning, negative space and so on. To help we made a list of key words that could be divided into 3 different sections and used this KEY LANGUAGE  to label up examples that we wanted to investigate.

Image

Text

Layout

  • Photograph
  • caption
  • Illustration
  • Logo
  • Crop
  • Depth of field
  • Perspective
  • Shutter speed
  • Colour
  • contrast
  • Texture
  • Setting
  • NVC
  • Font type
  • Font size
  • Serif / sans serif
  • Colour
  • Italic/bold
  • Underline
  • Title banner
  • Heading
  • Subheading
  • Leading line
  • Tag-line
  • By line
  • Structuring / sequencing
  • Institutional information
  • Adverts
  • Rule of 1/3rds
  • Blank/white space
  • Size
  • Position
  • Orphans/Widows
  • Gutters/borders
  • Juxtaposition
  • Hard lines
  • Graphic feature
  • Watermark
  • Drop cap
  • Columns
  • Paragraphs
  • Plugs / Ears
  • Page numbers
  • Date issue no.
  • Colour blocks
  • gradient

When looking at Newspapers (Tabloids and Broadsheets) we looked specifically that the following:

  • Title for tabloid newspaper and masthead
  • Date and price
  • Main front page image
  • Headline and byline
  • Standfirst
  • Hardlines
  • Use of rule of 1/3rds (or 1/4’s)
  • Logo
  • Tagline
  • Colour box
  • Appropriate use of font

Using this criteria we got students to make their own Tabloids (front cover and double page) to think about colour, size, scale, positioning, juxta-positioning and other layout features. One of the main faults that we found when students started to produce their own work was the attention to detail that was often missing in terms of SIZE, SCALE AND SPACE. I write about this in another post which you can find by following this link.

Overall, the aim was to ensure there is a clear brand and house style for each tabloid newspaper, that held a range of appropriate articles, images and other graphic features (often the small details that students did not always recognise during their own research – so again attention to small details is essential when producing a realistic and convincing looking media product.

The aim was to produce a produce which shows RECOGNITION OF THE CONVENTIONS OF (THIS) MEDIA FORM, MADE WITH AND THROUGH THE USE OF CLEAR SIGNS AND SYMBOLS THAT ARE PART OF A DISTINCT AND RECOGNIZABLE MEDIA LANGUAGE.

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