African Art and Symbols: Adding Meaning to Global Advertising Design Trends.

John Nwadike Amifor


Modern advertising berthed in Nigeria in 1960. Locating graphic designers knowledgeable in producing identity based designs suitable for the burgeoning mixed economy clienteles was a herculean task. Earlier, Identity issue was driven home and hard by the emerging Pan African political class. The importance attached to creating such big idea based on African value along the line necessitated exploration into the store house of folklore and other cultural values leading to semiotics. This paper proves that it was applied to Seaman Schnnaps, a product advertising since 1970s. By 1980s the design African Continental Bank, a “Continental House†congratulatory Institutional message explored semiotics in combined text and image. Recently, “Omoluabi’ a public communication campaign opened up the vistas of reinventing values from Yoruba past to propose solutions akin to social problems signified by vices. It proposes cultural framework along with institutional advertising within public communication anchored by the ACB and Lydoline paint messages among others to project new meanings. Every visual communication message as the engine room of advertising has a function at the marketplace. Symbols, signs and gestures were decoded and encoded with new meanings by deconstruction to situate new designs beyond the stereotypes. These messages are publicity designs, a dictate of current globalization Integrated Marketing Communications.

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