Localizing Graphic Design in a Global Media Environment: A Visual Social Semiotic Analysis of Vogue

Melissa McMullen


The contemporary media landscape is characterized by a complex tension between global and local influences, more accurately labeled as glocalization. Although this broad topic has been discussed extensively, the current study more narrowly focused on the localization of printed graphic design within the international women’s magazine Vogue. A visual social semiotic analysis was used to compare and analyze the design of four print editions of Vogue from the United States, China, Mexico, and France. This analysis served to describe the semiotic resources (the design elements of type, image, color, and layout) used throughout the magazines. It revealed a combination of global and local semiotic strategies that visually connected and also separated each local edition from the larger Vogue brand. Finally, the analysis helped to interrogate the relationship between cultural localization of graphic design and the global media environment.


graphic design, magazine design, localization, globalization, glocalization, Vogue magazine, visual social semiotics

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