Semiotics is the study of cultural signs. On a deeper note it helps us to comprehend how structures were able to produce meaning rather than figuring out the traditional matter of meaning itself, in other words a sign can relate between the sign itself and the actual meaning. It is sometimes used in researching names for various products and services. The operations by which a reader/receiver interprets signs and makes them meaningful is termed naturalization. Signs take the form of words, images, sounds, odours, flavours, acts or objects, but such things have no meaning and become signs only when we apply them with meaning.
There are two fundamental aspects to a sign, the signified over signifier. Developed by Ferdinand de Saussure (linguist)these aspects are known as signification. Language in its most crude form is a series of symbols, letters alone have almost no meaning but when structured in a particular manner they have the capability to form an infinite amount of meanings. Semiotics is a transfer of the metaphor of language onto any non-linguistic phenomena.
An important concept in semiotics is that signs and meaning are unlimited. Charles S Peirce's (philosopher) ideas about semiotics distinguished between three types of signs: icon, index and symbol. Semiotics and the incredible influence it has had on virtually every form of subsequent literary theory eventually evolves into structuralism.
The basic principle of the arbitrariness of a sign is; there is no natural reason why a particular sign should be attached to a particular concept. Semiotics draws heavily on linguistic concepts because linguistics is a more established discipline than the study of other sign systems. One fairly well-known semiotic triangle is that of Ogden and Richards; in this triangle he explains that the form of the sign is known as the 'sign vehicle'; the sense interpreted from a sign is the sense and what the sign 'stands for' is known as the 'referent'.


Semiotics For Beginners
Professor Paul Fry of Yale University on Semiotics and Structuralism