We’re in Shanghai for Semiofest, Come and Join Us!

Only two more weeks until Semiofest 2014!

We’re super excited about Semiofest and have started sending out the special Semiofest ticket to all of our speakers and attendees!

After you receive the ticket, join the fun by taking a picture with it to reflect your excitement! Be sure to share it on your social media networks with the hashtag #Semiofest2014 as well!

Feel inspired? Why not register now!

Check us out with our tickets in M50 Creative Industry Park!

The ticket for Semiofest 2014!

Semiotics 2014
Shanghai team with our tickets

Semiofest Shanghai Team – Vladimir Djurovic
Semiofest Shanghai Team – Charlotte Zhang
Semiofest Shanghai Team – Ying Mu

Come and join us in Shanghai for a fantastic and fun celebration of semiotic thinking!

Semiofest Shanghai Team

Semiofest 2014 Keynote announced!

Cynics, netizens and safe rebels – the changing values of young Chinese consumers

What are the values of China’s young generation, growing up amidst a wave of diverse and sometimes contradictory forces? How far has the rise of individualism – and the influence of international culture – changed young people’s relationships with China’s traditional culture and social structure? Has the increased space available on the Internet really made them as assertive in standing up for their opinions as is sometimes argued? And how does their increasingly sophisticated understanding of the media affect their behaviour as consumers? With illustrations from media, popular culture and society at large, Duncan Hewitt will seek to answer some of these questions…

About Duncan Hewitt

Duncan Hewitt was a BBC correspondent in China from 1997–2002—first in Beijing and later in Shanghai, where he opened the BBC bureau—and has more recently written for Newsweek and other publications from Shanghai, focusing on Chinese society, media and culture. He first lived in the country from 1986-7, while studying Chinese at Edinburgh University. His book ‘Getting Rich First: Life in a changing China’ (Vintage, 2008) focuses on the human aspect of China’s enormous social changes since the 1990s, covering everything from urbanization and welfare reform to youth culture and the sexual revolution. It was serialized as a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week. He is also an Adjunct Professor at New York University Shanghai, where he lectures on journalism and the Chinese media. In 2012 he presented a series on the impact of social media in China for the BBC World Service. In 2011 he was a journalism fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, Oxford University, researching the relationship between China and the international media. He has also published translations of Chinese literature, including short stories by Mo Yan, and a crime novel, Hanging Devils (Penguin Books, 2012).

View more of the Program and speakers here.

Semiofest 2014 Program Released!

After reviewing many excellent submissions, we are putting together an exciting program. Here are some highlights!

Global Meets Local: A Cross-cultural Celebration of Semiotic Thinking

Opening Remarks from Program Chair Vladimir Djurovic, Labbrand
Netnography & Structural Semiotics for FB Campaign Evaluation By Anne-Flore Maman Lauraffie, Ph.D, SémioConsult
Semiotics & Understanding Iconic Triggers in the Brain By Chris Arning, Creative Semiotics & Heather Andrews, Neuro Insights
Fake is the New Real By Ashley Mauritzen, Let Them Eat Cake

Case Study – Application of Brand Curation Methodology By Martina Olbertova, Brand Curator
Case Study of Gaming to Share the Findings of Semiotic Analysis By Samuel Grange, The Semiotics Factory
Case Study of Decoding the Urban By Magali Menant & Katja Hellkoetter, Constellations
Selling Semiotics as a Research Method in the US By Charles Leech, ABM Research & Sarah Johnson, Athena Brand Wisdom

Dialogue with Prof. Kumiko Tanaka-Ishii on Semiotics of Programming / Semiotics of the Void (TBD)
Connecting with Contemporary Chinese Women By Jo Yi, Added Value
Meaning and Cultural Role of Technology, Science Fiction and Star Wars in China By Panos Dimitropoulos, Added Value
Cultural Markedness: Proposal of a Semiosis Model By Jia Peng, Southwest University for Nationalities
[Panel] Diversity and How Semiotics Should Approach It By Malcolm Evans

Semiotics of Colour By Kishore Budha, University of Leeds
Triangulation of Design Semiotics By Andris Teikmanis, Art Academy of Latvia
From Matter to Culture to Brand: Objects that tell us what consumers desire and need By Maria Salamanques & Rosie Picton, Space Doctors
Semiotics and Design Thinking: a Foresight Approach for Building Cohesive, Resilient Brand Ecosystems By Goran Matic, Mary Myers, OCAD University & Christine Chastain, Platform

Download the Complete Semiofest 2014 Program

Feel inspired? Why not register now!

Who Are Speaking at Semiofest 2014?

Semiofest has attracted a variety of excellent speakers this year. Check out who they are! View program and presentations at Semiofest 2014


Dr Andris Teikmanis Dr.art. Andris Teikmanis  

Dr. Andris Teikmanis is Vice Rector of the Art Academy of Latvia (since 2007). He is a professor in the fields of Visual Semiotics, Soviet Art History and Art and Design Research . Andris is Latvian Member of Horizon 2020 Program Committee for SC6: Europe in a changing world – Inclusive, Innovative and Reflective Societies (since 2014), and Member of Latvian Council of Design (since 2014) and Council of Higher Education of Latvia (since 2013). Recent publications: • 2013 – Toward Models of Socialist Realism. in BAHJ  • 2013 – Typologies of Research. in SHARE Handbook for Artistic Research Education. (p. 162-168.)

Anne-Flore Maman
Dr. Anne-Flore Maman Larraufie, Ph.D.

Dr. Anne-Flore Maman Larraufie, Ph.D. is a leading practitioner and academic expert in the field of applied semiotics. Anne-Flore is a visiting faculty at ESSEC Business School (France) and at Ca’Foscari University (Italy). She also runs her own brand and semiotics consultancy — Semioconsult. Anne-Flore is also the trainer of Understanding and Applying Semiotics on Day 3 of Semiofest 2014.

Ashley Mauritzen Ashley Mauritzen

Ashley Mauritzen is a freelance commercial semiotician, passionate about digital culture, luxury and living in London’s East End. She has worked with agencies that include Space Doctors, Practical Semiotics, Commercial Semiotics, Sign Salad and Added Value – analysing everything from logos to the language of light. Ashley is also the editor of leading-edge fashion magazine Let Them Eat Cake.

Jo Yi
Jo Yi

Jo is a Cultural Insight Project Manager for Added Value Shanghai. She studied advertising and marketing in Fudan University and The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Before starting working on Cultural Insight, she had work experiences in advertising, marketing and media which created her diverse perspective of observing brands. In the last two years, she has been conducting cultural and semiotics analysis for local and international clients across categories like automotive, wine, home appliances, skin care.

Dr. Kishore Budha

Dr. Budha is a Research Fellow, Meaning-Centred Design in the School of Design, University of Leeds. He is currently working on research projects in the two areas of future cities and successful ageing funded by the British Academy and NHS respectively. Kishore has over 15 years experience in design research, NPD and brand strategy. His research, analysis and strategy has been instrumental in a range of industry categories ranging from medical devices and futures, home appliances, service, retail spaces, FMCG packaging design, communication design. At the University of Leeds he has recently concluded a project on the future of food retailing for Marks and Spencer. Previously, he has provided semiotics and design consultancy to leading global brands including Mundipharma, DSGI, Honeywell, Unilever, Nestle, Buffalo Wild Wings, Nokia, Kohler-Mira, Burton Foods, Plum Baby.

Martina Olbertova

Martina is a Founder & Chief Meaning Officer at Brand Curator, a strategic insight consultancy specialized in resuscitating meaning of brands. Martina is a member of ESOMAR, visiting lecturer, guest speaker and writer on topics of future of marketing research and use of semiotics in marketing. She is also the Creator & Co-editor of Semiotic Series, a new evangelization project published in cooperation with Research World and 30 semioticians worldwide introducing benefits of applied semiotics to a global research audience.

Magali Menant
Magali Menant

Magali is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner Constellations. Prior to this, from 2002 to 2011, Magali worked at the Delegation of German Commerce and Industry in Shanghai, where she was in charge of promoting Sino-German cooperation in the field of environment and sustainability issues. Magali has a solid understanding of the current sustainability issues linked to rapid urbanization in China and has extensive experience in marketing, public-private partnership building, strategic network development management, lobbying as well as management. She recently completed a Master in International Relations at the Center for Global Politics at the Free University in Berlin. She is involved in the Center for Global Politics Alumni work as coordination and communication officer. Magali is fluent in English, German, Chinese, Polish & French.

Panos Dimitropoulos Panos Dimitropoulos

Panos is the Cultural Insight Asia Lead for Added Value. He studied semiotics, cultural studies and advertising at Goldsmiths College, University of Kent and West Herts College. He started work as a copywriter acquiring an early understanding of how to use semiotics to bridge strategy with execution. In the last decade, he has been conducting Cultural Insight analyses and offering strategic, branding and creative recommendations across categories for branding, marketing and semiotic agencies in London and Shanghai. At his spare time Panos creates conceptual art inspired by semiotics; his work has been exhibited in major galleries across Europe (concepd.co.uk).

Samuel Grange
Samuel Grange

As a pragmatic semiotician, Samuel works on innovation and positioning issues in every major field. He analyses, structures and explains brands, markets and cultural themes to help designers and marketers define their project. Independent since 2005 he collaborates with many key players of the field, including InProcess and other international agencies. He used to run the semiotics activity at Added Value France (2000-2004). Previously, he was in charge of the same function for Plan Créatif Group in Paris (1996-2000) and Desgrippes Associates in NY (1994-1995). He also teaches semiotics and marketing in the Sorbonne and the University of Limoges.

Xiaojing Huang
Xiaojing Huang

Xiaojing is Strategy Director of YANG DESIGN and director of Design Strategy Institution. Xiaojing studied design in Guangzhou and Berlin. She leads the strategic team in projects of product design strategy, user study, service design, brand identity and trend study at YANG DESIGN. She is also the founder of YANG DESIGN’s UX Lab and CMF Lab. Her clients include leading brands such as Boeing, KIA, Hitachi, Schneider Electric, BOSE, Haier and Joyoung. She is the winner of Red Dot Design Award, IDEA and Design For Asia Silver Award.

Training: Understanding and Applying Semiotics

Training: Understanding and Applying SemioticsSemiofest is proud to announce a semiotics training program (May 25th, 2014), which will introduce participants to semiotics research and interpretive methods from the four perspectives of consumer research, brand strategy, brand communication, and branded design. The trainer for the program is Dr. Anne-Flore Maman Larraufie, Ph.D. a leading practitioner and academic expert in the field of applied semiotics.

Who would benefit from the program?

The program is aimed at current brand and marketing managers, market researchers, designers, advertisers and planners who would like to gain an understanding of practical application of semiotics in the various applied contexts. The participants will also be provided with a reading list.

What will the program cover?

The program will introduce participants to the range of approaches and methods in the contexts of consumer research, brand strategy, brand communication, and branded design Each session will provide participants clear and tangible tools as well giving them a hands on opportunity to try the methods.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the program, participants will have a good grasp of the various semiotic approaches and methods in each of the contexts with a deeper understanding of one method. This will allow participants to gain a better understanding of when semiotics can be applied to solve business problems. It is expected that the program will enable participants to continue their engagement with semiotics through independent learning.

About the trainer

Anne-Flore Maman

Dr. Anne-Flore Maman Larraufie, Ph.D. a leading practitioner and academic expert in the field of applied semiotics. Anne-Flore is a visiting faculty at ESSEC Business School (France) and at Ca’Foscari University (Italy). She also runs her own brand and semiotics consultancy — Semioconsult.




Date: May 25th, 2014
Venue: V Art Center, M50 Creative Industries Park, Shanghai, China
Fee: 1,600 RMB per person

Please contact 2014@semiofest.com for more details.

Shanghai Flaneur Walks

Shanghai Tian'ai Street

This year at Semiofest, besides the main program, we are bringing you fun extra activities on the 3rd day! With Shanghai Flaneur Walks, we are taking the semiotics discussion into the urban realm and use flânerie as a methodology to decode the city’s signs and symbols.


Theme: Urban Semiotics

Date: May 25, 2014 from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm

Number of People: 16 people /walk

Cost: 300 RMB/ 36 EURO per person


We propose 3 options for the walks.

Walk 1: READING SHANGHAI CULTURALLY: A Walk with Philosopher Dr. Shen Qilan

How can you read Chinese culture – contemporary and tradition – when strolling around in Shanghai? Where are the signs, symbols and cultural manifestations that make up the distinctive atmosphere and character of the city? And do we make the same associations when we look at the same signs?

Walk 2: READING THE CITY SKYLINE: A walk with architect Fanny Hoffmann-Loss

When looking at the top of Shanghai’s historic and new buildings, have you ever wondered what architects had in mind when designing the finishing touches of these structures? Are the top random products of their imaginations or do they actually have a significance?

Walk 3: READING SHANGHAI VISUALLY: A Walk with Photographer Jan Siefke

In only 150 years, Shanghai developed from a harbour city of half a million people to one of the world’s largest urban agglomerations of 23 million inhabitants today. Several waves of population influxes transformed the city, with the political and economic impetus of both local and international interests, starting with the rise of Shanghai as the “Paris of the East” in the 1920s.

For more details, please download the pdf below.

SHANGHAI FLANEUR Walks_Semiofest 2014

Two or three walks will happen in parallel depending on the number of people signing up. Sounds fun? Don’t hesitate to email us at 2014@semiofest.com to sign up for a walk!

Cost of Your Travel to Shanghai


In just two months, Semiofest will be officially coming to Shanghai!

Have you checked your schedule and started to arrange your travel to Shanghai?

Here we are going to provide you with some information about the cost of your travel.

About Air Ticket

Flying to Shanghai is quite affordable! There is a wide range of choices when you are selecting airlines.

Please refer to the estimated prices (taxes included) below to plan your travel.

The price may fluctuate due to different times and airlines.

If you start from Europe, the price will be $850-$1000/€620-€730.

If you start from North America, the price will be $1,200-$1,600/€880-€1,200.

If you start from Asia, the price will be $300-$900/€220-€650.

Check out China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines for more flight details!

Cost in Shanghai

Local Chinese restaurants offer fantastic value if you can decipher a Chinese menu. The city’s set-lunch specials or department-store food courts also offer excellent value, where one person can dine for around RMB25 ($4/€3). Meals at more expensive restaurants will cost anywhere from RMB50 ($8/€6) to RMB400 ($65/€48); aim for set meals rather than dining à la carte. Check the bill carefully; there’s no need to leave a tip if service is included.

Travelling by metro and bus can keep transport costs down, while taxis are plentiful and inexpensive for short hops.

Please check Visa & Accommodations (travelling to Shanghai) to arrange your travel.

Find out more about travel in Shanghai in Lonely Planet.

If you have any question regarding travelling to Shanghai, send us an email at 2014@semiofest.com

Open for Registration

Semiofest 2014 now opens for registration!


If you are an enthusiastic Semiofreak, why don’t you join us in Shanghai?

Date: May 23rd & 24th, 2014 (Optional activities on May 25thShanghai Flaneur Walks or Training)

Venue:V Art Center, M50 Creative Industries Park, Shanghai, China

Fee: 100 EURO / 830 RMB via PayPal or Alipay

For registration, please fill in and submit the following registration form.

[accua-form fid=”1″]

After receiving your submission, we will provide you with more details about payment and registration.

Looking forward to seeing you in Shanghai!


Click here to know more about Shanghai Flaneur Walks

Click here to check visa and accommodations in Shanghai.

Click here to submit your papers.

Visa & Accommodations (travelling to Shanghai)

In just three months, Semiofest will be coming to Shanghai!

Here we will provide you with some latest information about visa application and hospitality in Shanghai to help you book your travel to Shanghai.



Applying for a Chinese visa is not very difficult. Here are a few simple steps to get your visa!

How kind of visa should I apply for? 

There are different kinds of visa in China for aliens. For all Semiofest attendees, please apply for F Visa (Non-commercial Visa). Please click here for more information on Visa policy of China.

F means “访问” [fǎng wèn] (visit) in Chinese. The F Visa does not allow ‘work’ in China and no income is allowed to be gained on the F Visa.

For attending conferences in China, F visa is the one you should be applying for.

How can I apply?

You can submit your application to the consular office of Chinese embassies or consulates by yourself, or ask someone else (such as your friends, relatives) or entrust an agency to do so on your behalf. The power of attorney is not required.

Documents required:

  • ŸValid Passport (Valid at least 6 months after the return date and 2 consecutive blank pages)
  • ŸVisa Application Form properly completed and signed, with an ID photo
  • ŸInvitation letter issued by a domestic Chinese party. After your registration, our team in Shanghai will help issue an invitation letter.

How long does it take to get a visa?

It regularly takes 4 working days for processing the application. However, the express service and rush service are also available if you want to pick up your visa earlier. Extra US$ 30 for the same-day collection; and additional US$20 for the second or third day collection.

It is recommended that the application start in late March or early April to ensure there is enough time for application processing in case of unexpected events.

There may be difference in application material and price for different countries. For more visa information and online application, please visit the official website Chinese Visa Application Service Center.

If you have any question, send us an email at 2014@semiofest.com.



Where can I stay?

As a world tourist destination, Shanghai offers you a variety of choices in hospitality from world group to boutiques. Transportation within the city is also very convenient with taxi rate starting at only 1.7 EURO (first 3km).  We’ve list some of the hotels near M50 or along metro lines. Feel free to choose your stay!

Holiday Inn Express Shanghai Zhabei (3 star)

From $43/day

View this hotel on Booking.com

Holiday Inn Express Shanghai Zhabei (3 star)

Holiday Inn Express Zhabei features affordable rooms featuring free internet access and a flat-screen TV. Popular attractions such as Nanjing Road Pedestrian Street and People’s Square are a 10-minute drive away. Shanghai Railroad metro station (line 3 and line 4) is an 8-minute walk away.

The hotel is about 15 minutes’ drive from our venue in M50. 

Rhea Boutique Hotel-Railway Station (4 star)

From $38/day

View this hotel on Booking.com

Rhea Boutique Hotel-Railway Station (4 star)

Shanghai RHEA is located in Zhabei, a 1-minute walk from Hanzhong Line 2 subway station. The boutique hotel offers 2 dining options, free internet and rooms in Mediterranean décor. It is also a 20-minute drive from Hongqiao International Airport and half a mile from Shanghai Train Station.

The hotel is about 12 minutes’ drive from our venue in M50.

Hotel Equatorial Shanghai (4 star)

From $106/day

View this hotel on Booking.com

Hotel Equatorial Shanghai (4 star)

Hotel Equatorial Shanghai is conveniently situated a 10-minute walk from Shanghai Exhibition Centre and Nanjing Road shopping street. It features 3 dining options and a fitness centre. Jing’an Temple subway station (line 2 and 7) is a 5-minute walk away. Equatorial Shanghai Hotel is a 10-minute drive from the trendy bar area of Xintiandi and the historic Bund. It is a 20-minute drive from Hongqiao Airport and a 50-minute drive from Pudong International Airport.

The hotel is about 18 minutes’ drive from our venue in M50.

InterContinental Shanghai Puxi (5 star)

From $200/day

View this hotel on Booking.com

 InterContinental Shanghai Puxi (5 star)

InterContinental Shanghai Puxi offers easy access to Shanghai Train Station. The hotel offers a full-service spa and 4 gourmet restaurants. Rooms are equipped with iPod docks and flat-screen TVs. InterContinental Shanghai Puxi is less than 3 miles from The Shanghai Grand Theater, Jing An Temple and The Bund.

The hotel is about 7 minutes’ drive/20 minutes’ walk from our venue in M50.

The Puli Hotel And Spa (5 star)

From $375/day

View this hotel on Booking.com

The Puli Hotel And Spa (5 star)

In central Shanghai, The Puli Hotel offers modern rooms with free internet and a BOSE wave music system. Guest rooms at The Puli Hotel And Spa come with modern décor and floor-to-ceiling windows that offer views of the cityscape. Hotel Puli is a 3 minute walk from the Airport Express Shuttle Service and 7 miles from Hongqiao Airport. Free parking is available.

The hotel is about 17 minutes’ drive from our venue in M50.

You can find more fine hotels and book your room on Booking.com.