Эмблема в визуальной репрезентации вуза: классификация и семиотика визуальных образов
The research article presents the study of the main attribute of the university's visual representation – an emblem. Among the few works devoted to the process of university branding, there is no comprehensive analysis of the functioning of their visual representation, while the observed growth of branding work in various universities increasingly involves the emblem as a graphic identifier of the university. Using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods, a structural and semiotic analysis of the emblems was carried out on a complete sample of Russian universities (917 cases), which allowed to characterize their structure and range of visual images, as well as to compile a typology of semiotic values. In the results, a characteristic of the semiotic bases of visual representation of Russian universities is given, as well as its functions in the process of university branding are defined. The research results have a wide practical application as a source of information about the use and purpose of university emblems in the higher education system, both for specialists involved in university branding (marketing specialists, sociologists, designers, etc.) and for PR departments, media centers and administrations. Nevertheless, the interpretative nature of the semiotic typology and the non-exclusive character of the classification of visual images allow only to designate the semantic directions of the universities positioning, but not to characterize specific educational institutions in terms of their models of visual communication. Additional studies are needed to determine the validity of the classification, as well as to clarify the semiotic bases for the proposed typology.