Communication Design of Indian Matrimonial Advertisements in the Sunday Times of India


The study addresses graphic and verbal elements as part of the communication design of matrimonial advertising. Following European trends and rules of the press, the Sunday Times of India newspaper preserves the traditional features in its design for the matrimonial column. It is argued that its communication design is a mixture of two design styles: universal (easily interpreted by the wide audience) and specifically Indian. This is not a problem, since matrimonial advertisements are addressed only to in-group members. For them, the use of ethnic motives in the verbal and non-verbal components of matrimonial advertising is more appealing. Through the signs of the semiotic matrimonial code, they enter the general space of cultural communication. This evokes their trust to the verbal content, creates a comfortable atmosphere for dealing with such a delicate topic and increases the chances of successful engagement. The pragmatic significance of graphic design elements prevails over text ones. All graphic elements, ornaments, lines, linings, vignettes, frames, etc., serve to create a respectful image of the person placing the advertisement, the person on whose behalf the advertisement is placed, and the potential bride/groom. Respect and traditions are key elements of Indian culture and are reflected in the space of newspaper communication. Understanding the requirements for the publication of matrimonial advertisements reflects the social structure and the specifics of interpersonal relations between men and women, parents and children. The interpretation of both visual and verbal signs by outsiders is largely dependent on his/her experience of Indian culture.

Keywords: communication design, matrimonial advertisements, Indian culture, graphic and verbal design elements

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