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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton November 21, 2014

Iconic semiosis and representational efficiency in the London Underground Diagram

Pedro Atã, Breno Bitarello and João Queiroz
From the journal Cognitive Semiotics


The icon is the type of sign connected to efficient representational features, and its manipulation reveals more information about its object. The London Underground Diagram (LUD) is an iconic artifact and a well-known example of representational efficiency, having been copied by urban transportation systems worldwide. This paper investigates the efficiency of the LUD in the light of different conceptions of iconicity. We stress that a specialized representation is an icon of the formal structure of the problem for which it has been specialized. By embedding such rules of action and behavior, the icon acts as a semiotic artifact distributing cognitive effort and participating in niche construction.


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Published Online: 2014-11-21
Published in Print: 2014-12-1

©2014 by De Gruyter Mouton