Abstract Edit

In her piece, Drucker discusses how the use of language can invoke different perceptions depending on its surrounding or the context. She started out by illustrating how the design of words, such as the font type, size and placement etc, can play a part in influencing the way we understand the underlying messages. The author also listed examples in which language is used in conjunction with the physical landscape: use of words in road signs to warn road-users, words on advertisements to influence consumers and use of words on sign boards as a means of instruction, just to name a few. Drucker concluded by saying that landscape provides the context for the language to operate, and that language is used to 'activate' our understanding of the landscape. However, since language has different meanings depending on our cultural and social backgrounds, the perceptions invoked may prove to be englightening at times and ambiguous in other instances.

Key Concept Edit

1.Drucker examines the different forms of written language: visual features involved in the production, such as style, design and color etc. She then explains that these features are often fundamental to how we perceive the language visually and subsequently how we process them cognitively.

2. An often overlooked aspect of language is its power (or failure) to invoke cultural or social associations that exist inherently in our minds. 

3. The article explores the different usages of language design: to disseminate information, provide instructions, persuade the intended audiences, or and for identification and speculation purposes. Combining the visual elements of language with the appropriate landscape can amplify the intended outcome of the author and change 'our perception of the very situation in which it acquires meaning'. 

4. She stressed on the symbiotic relationship between language and the landscape on which it is being displayed/positioned: 'as we observe words in the landscape, they change and activate the environment, sometimes undermining, sometimes reinforcing our perception'. 

Examples Edit

1. Signboards are perhaps the most direct way that dictate how we perceive and understand the landscape in which it is placed. Edit


Beach warning sign

2. Billboards are sometimes an excellent demonstration of how language is cleverly combined with landscape to create the desire outcome.


3. Graffitis are indisputably one of the best illustration of how language can interact with the physical surroundings.


These are great examples because we literally see the combination of physical landscape (whether it be brick walls, trees, bushes, pavements, or street signs), with language, a message, a signal, in our everyday life. We are surrounded by this everyday. John Berger actually goes into detail about his as well in reference to advertising, which is in fact language in the landscape, in his final episode, part 4 of the series Ways of Seeing Part 4- John Berger.

Key Words


advertising strategies






Citations Edit

1. Drucker, Joanna, Language in the Landscape, Landscape, Vol. 28. No. 1, 1984

2. Funny Warning Signs

3. Drowning Sign

4. Images of graffitis taken from: new graffiti makmu

5. Images of billboards taken from: creative bloq