Iconography and Communication

Teaching staff

Jorge Luis Marzo

Jorge Luis Marzo

PhD in Visual Arts. Graduate in Geography and History of Art from the UB. Member of the Design and Social Transformation Research Group (GREDITS).

PhD in Visual Arts. Graduate of Geography and History of Art from the UB. Member of the Design and Social Transformation Research Group (GREDITS). Historian, art curator and writer. Recent exhibitions: El defecto barroco. Políticas de la imagen hispana (2010-2011), Low-Cost. Libres o cómplices (2009). Recent books: La memoria administrada. El barroco y lo hispano (2010), ¿Puedo hablarle con libertad, excelencia? Arte y poder en España desde 1950 (2010), Spots electorales. El espectáculo de la democracia (2008).

Fact sheet

Formal qualifications: Bachelor's Degree in Design

Credits: 6

Semester: 1

Course: First

Typology: Basic Training

Code subject: GDF061


  • Understand the relationship between iconographies and the social and cultural contexts in which they are born and seen.
  • Proper identification of the meaning of signs in relation to the media and the systems in which they operate.
  • Knowledge of the genealogy and development of the world of symbolic images through time and space.
  • The ability to construct messages and appropriate strategies when it becomes time to communicate the ideas of a project and its formalisation.
  • Be aware of the influence of stereotypes on contemporary communication and propose alternatives.
  • Understand and explore the specificity of technical methods when it comes to defining and disseminating images and the messages that they convey.
  • Know, define and explore databases and visual files.
  • Conduct research and carry out the management of collective projects in a coherent and consistent manner (art direction).
  • Know how to present and disseminate the goals, procedures and results of a communication project in a clear and synthetic way.



1. Context and environment

  • Introduction to the history of images
  • Classical iconographic sources: art history, the church, state institutions, media and mass entertainment, advertising
  • The historical genealogy of the iconographic paradigms
  • Alternative and circumstantial iconographic sources: social, cultural and political environments. Counter-iconographies.
  • Social sciences and institutionalised typologies
  • The creation of consensus and iconographic dissent

2. Representaction and meaning

  • The Semiotics: procedures, sources and schools.
  • Sign, symbol, allegory. The linguistic tropes. Chromatic iconography.
  • Image and verisimilitude. Figuration and abstraction.
  • Stereotype and communication.
  • The reception of images. From idolatry to the iconoclasm.
  • The image as text.
  • The pre-digital and post-digital visual identity.
  • Assembly, photomontage, video and film montage.
  • Image, blindness and falsehood.
  • The affective image: causes and effects.
  • Warm images versus cold images.
  • Signage, information, interface image.

3- The iconographic direction

  • Research and development of documentary sources.
  • Media, formats and audiences in the framework of project management.
  • Preparation, presentation and dissemination of visual projects.
  • Informational iconography: data visualisation.
  • The iconographic consistency in art direction.




  • The student can critically differentiate between the various communication fields.
  • They can properly examine and identify the historical, social, cultural and technical contexts of communication systems.
  • They understand and apply the principles of semiotics to configuring the imaginary symbolic space in various media.
  • They communicate knowledge, methodologies, ideas, problems and solutions to all audiences (either specialized or not: customers, manufacturers, suppliers) in a clear and precise manner.
  • They show a respectful attitude towards linguistic, social and cultural diversity.
  • They can competently provide critical reflection on processes related to the profession.
  • They can provide ethical analysis of situations of injustice and inequality and propose compensation measures.
  • They use visual language and different resources to express and present content related to specific knowledge of the field.
  • They display the ability to analyse issues from a global and comprehensive perspective by appropriately referencing social, cultural, economic and political factors.




  • SS8. Mastering the use of aesthetic and symbolic codes of communication, as well as specific design languages, to adapt the communicative intention of any given project to the vision of the user.



  • Observation and participation
  • Monitoring of the work produced
  • Realisation of works or projects
  • Presentation of projects