Media Language

In part, Media Studies is the study of ‘media language’.

Any given media text (form) is a series of codes or signs which communicate meaning.

A sign, according to media language theory, is made up of two parts:

  1. A signifier. That is, ‘Something in a media text which carries meaning’.
  2. The signified. That is, ‘The meaning carried by that something’.

Your job as a media student it to identify the signifiers and analyse / argue what they signify.

Here’s Mr G explaining:

Here is slideshow which tries to explain – the last few slides give you an approach to your text.


Complete a detailed media language analysis of one of your media products.

You should use this document to help you cover the key ideas.


Here is an example essay

Digipack Hand drawn Mockup

Please use the next lesson(s) to produce a hand drawn mock up of the digipack you are going to make in the next 2 weeks.  Collate the best ideas from your moodboards.

You should:

  • Drawn, mock-up design of digipak – 4 panes on A3 paper.
  • Annotated with conventional and technical features.

dp mock updp mock up 2

Annotate the designs with the conventional technical elements (barcode, song titles, publisher etc) but also label the designs with how the Media Language of print will help encode the star image and metanarrative of the performer – font, colours, design, graphics, illustration, framing etc. What are the conventional design features for your genre that you will be including? What are you using to encode meaning – what media language will you be employing – font, text, colour, images etc?

In your introduction remember to use the terms for genre, star image, encoding, decoding, preferred readings etc. The more you use the terms now, the easier it will be in the exam to talk about the DP in the Concepts section 1b.

PDF the design into your blog.

Digipak – Previous Students’ Work – Print Assessment Criteria

Choose a DP cover from the display on the wall.  Mrs Cobb will point out the ones that achieved Level 4 as clearly it is this level that you will be aspiring to achieve.

Then search for that blog so that you can use the images in your post.

Go to and search for the site in ‘blogs’.  There are some paper copies around but you will still have to find the images on their blogs to copy and embed.

Using the four general assessment criteria in the slideshow below, explain how the students skills are evident in their digipacks. Be specific with examples from their texts and what they have done.

Digipak analysis – conventions

We now need to have a look at how digipaks and adverts are designed to work alongside videos to support the promotion of a new album.

Consider digipak covers. What do they have in common? What are the conventions?

Here are our notes on the conventions of a digipak. Read them when you get stuck.

Now you must find a digipak cover from the same genre as your music video and annotate it for the design conventions. This must be uploaded to your blog. Make it detailed and use the terms from the sheets below. If you can find the back of it too, that would be great for some of the technical conventions i.e. barcode, publisher logo etc.

Here is an example analysis

You should focus on: images, graphics, illustrations, font, colour, technical conventions (barcode, parental advisory, album title on spine, tracks on the back), register of copy, mise-en-scene, composition, intertextual references, how does the cover communicate meaning, denotations and connotations, image manipulation, filters, generic conventions, how can it be ‘read/interpreted’ by an audience, star image, metanarrative, representation?

This is a textual analysis – decode it!  Use connectives like connote, infer, imply, represent. This is another way MEDIA LANGUAGE is used to communicate an idea, message, image etc.

In the introduction to the blog post we want you to do a bullet point list of the conventional and technical features that are common to digipaks too – include the spine, inside covers and back cover – what is commonly featured? Bar code?  Parental advisory?  Name of the album and performer on the spine?  Song list on the back? etc

MV – Conventions and detailed contents analysis

Here’s a music video we’re going to complete a close analysis of, Katy Perry – Chained to the Rhythm:

You should type  up that analysis and embed it into the post called Close Analysis of Music Video.

Here is a blank version of the form you can use.

To supplement this, you must do your own close analysis. Choose another video from the list suggested and use the sheet attached (make your own copy) and do your own analysis.

This work is important as it shows that you are able to deconstruct the narrative, performance, star image and generic & technical conventions of a music video. This will help inform your own production ideas and help prepare you for the exam by starting to use all the terms that you need.


Radiohead – Just

Kodaline – Love Like This

Lana del Rey – Born to Die

Muse – Time is Running Out

Taylor Swift – Wildest Dreams

Christina Aguilera – Say Something

Foo Fighters – Pretender