Human production has so far been based on the transformation of the elements that, at its turn, has both remodeled and/or maintained our life’s frameworks, ways and styles. All this according to many approaches and to the parts of the world according to their particular constraints, backgrounds, needs, desires and beliefs. This together with our perpetual attempt to optimize our administration models in order to create possibilities.

Today, we seem to be at the crossroad of many challenges, such as technology, nature conservation, citizen participation to the public arena, companies’ well-being and continuity. We also need to admit that world fair exchanges and trade cannot be considered otherwise than one of our major preoccupation. We are indeed in a delicate moment where institutions, traditional industries or even most recent businesses seem to encounter difficulties to renew or maintain themselves in a reliable and profitable way for all the stake-holders of our society. Among many factors to be considered:

  • Extremely crumbled and shrinking segments, as well as markets,
  • People or entities’ needs, cultures and language misreading in their multiple spheres of involvement,
  • Impossibility of long-termism in some cases or of flexible adjustments in other ones. This in a hyper-connected environment that imposes velocity, volume and hyper-exposure. But also in front of the need to be leading, for some entities, both organic and complementary external growths, this together with having to often drive not aligned business and digital KPIs.
  • Super efficient new businesses that does not seem to ensure the transfer of the workforce, while the services they provide can be considered, for some of them, as unprecedented.
  • A digital economy tending to appear more as a discount economy than a value creator: this is particularly true for traditional businesses where platform’s business models are focusing on stocks liquidation and based on more recurrent short cycles. A hole dynamic that goes against not only value creation (and its creators), but have proven to destroy real value in many ways.

Within an overall ‘struggle for life‘*, constantly and erroneously assumed as the only mean of development: where excesses, defaults and opposites might wrongly be considered as inescapable absolutes at the expense of temperance, joy, trust, the birth of shared possibilities and earnings at all levels of our society. All this assuming erroneously again that synergies are out of reality.

New popping initiatives seem however to show a more responsible way fostered by partnerships or higher social engagement.

 *Here are not pointed out territories
suffering of extreme poverty caused
and maintained by political decisions
© Sophya Mantilla 2015


PRE-TEXTUALITY is an ensemble shaped by what comes before the TEXT:

pre-textuality I    pre-textuality I2b

The TEXT is to be understood as the dynamic TRAJECTORY* designed and followed by an entity in whatever it engages itself. PRE-TEXTUALITY can then be considered as everything known or unknown that is bringing this text to be written.

1. PRE-TEXTUALITY tends then to define methodologies and features that will be chosen to act.
pre-textuality I2a

2. If PRE-TEXTUALITY can be intuitively felt during the work in its very progress, it often cannot be qualified; as in need of time to come out of a sound diagnostic.

* in terms of research, business, brand, marketing, design or editorial needs

*SORBONNE / CELSA 2009/2010

© Sophya Mantilla 2015

PRE-TEXTUALITY is literally to be understood as what comes before the text,

  • that has been already written,
  • that is being written,
  • that can or has to be written.

1. This embraces not only concepts such as programmatic, in/determination, purpose or accident and demands to gather a wide range of knowledge and to understand an entity’s ‘RAPPORT AU MONDE’:

  • how it has been built or constituted,
  • how it has evolved and upon what necessities and conditions,
  • how it has been appropriated by others,
  • how it expresses and conjugates itself with external phenomenon,
  • what possibilities it allows,
  • and many other relevant aspects.

2. Mastering its own PRE-TEXTUALITY will allow:

  • to request particular DATAS and research,
  • an appropriate understanding by providing a comprehensive set of knowledge to interpret DATAS,
  • an accurate or, at least, a more qualified diagnostic and perception,
  • together with the emergence of a desirable contextualization or re-contextualization.

Working on pre-textualities makes often appear larger or additional PLAYGROUNDS as complements, as well as UNEXPECTED NEEDS and POSSIBILITIES, hardly perceivable otherwise. It may consequently impact and modify a previous ‘RAPPORT AU MONDE’. Together with fostering needed areas of assumed responsibility.

© Sophya Mantilla 2015

Premature or unfounded assumptions or judgements need to be avoided as much as possible,

pre-textuality - respect

Respect and rigor are needed to gather knowledge through a MULTIDISCIPLINARY manner. The virtues of this methodology is to reveal not only nurturing consonances and dissonances, but also to make regularly emerge archetypical derivatives, extensions or true innovation possibilities with qualities to be defined. In other words, RESPECT allows to have access to what is not known.


 *Business must embrace all the activities it calls for it to work.
Thus any art, tech, editorial or media, design are business.

© Sophya Mantilla 2015

Businesses and brands have PRE-TEXTUALITIES that define their ‘RAPPORT AU MONDE’, and this needs to be taken into account in real and pragmatic terms. This for different reasons:

toward virtuosity

When businesses or brands need to evolve in order to get in touch with new segments or broaden their possibilities, they tend most of the time to look for the answer outside of themselves which is both understandable and sometimes necessary. PRE-TEXTUALITIES should be considered as much as important in 2 main occasions gathered under the approach of BRAND SYMBIOTICS* (research 2009-20010 / CELSA).


*SORBONNE / CELSA 2009/2010
© Sophya Mantilla 2015





Human societies have not waited for our era to develop their technology. It is however to point out that placing them as incompatible stands, in many cases, more for generational, cultural or social battles where everybody seems to be losing in the end. Tensions seem mostly to appear with substitution occurence. It is then worth to remind that tech-past-future


1. Let us remember that as a technology can repeat and uphold a past oppression, it can also foster and liberate a recommended freedom or guide towards constructive and cheerful thoughts and actions.

All depends on whether the individual or the collective unconscious which brings it to our world and will drive it has been previously scanned and mastered. We often evoke as a generality a certain asymmetry in this domain. It should be necessary to evaluate its degree depending on cultures and even on situations. It seems indeed that some are capable, without avoiding this perceived unbalance, to reduce it to an acceptable and fruitful situation.

2. ASYMMETRY mainly appears in any relationship with an entity or a person who holds a legal or a professional AUTHORITY.

‘ASYMMETRY MANAGEMENT‘ needs as a consequence auditing each particular situation. This approach allows to overcome binary approaches, to think about and design what would be the qualities of adequate levels of asymmetry capable to provide satisfaction at any side. Self-auditing as an individual or as a group before taking this responsibility is therefore required in order not to erase valuable consistent existing industries, services, social ecosystems, people and well-being. In other world, possibilities.

3. ASYMMETRY MANAGEMENT is required at the very root of any project..

© Sophya Mantilla 2015


 It would be very unfair to affirm design and creative professions are the only activities here concerned. Nonetheless, DESIGN -from thinking to product-, together with CREATIVE PROFESSIONALS also hold responsibilities in what they place into people’s or businesses’ lives and minds.

This is the reason why both need compellingly KNOWLEDGE, CULTURE and a SELF-MASTERED UNCONSCIOUS.

1. In this context, an idea, a concept, a shape and all functions enclosed cannot be assumed since the beginning as universal and adapted to everyone instantaneously. Having to write this strange as this necessity to adapt to body’s specificities but also to social, geographical, generational or even mood differences have already been  assumed for a long time in industries such as fashion or cosmetics, not to mention cultural and media industries. In other words, in lifestyles and, to bring it to a wider spectrum, in cultural styles.

2. DESIGN applied to social media, digital, mobile or even wearable, as well as design applied to hardware, are not as different.

They have undeniably the capacity to gather people from very different cultures, status, views and opinions, but also with very different ways of socializing, of approaching the unknown, of daring to reduce social distances and share, to get advice, to be inspired and sometimes to cut boundaries.

Boundaries that might be imposed from international diplomacy’s matters to more intimate beliefs or more problematic prejudices. Social media, digital, mobile, wearable devices and other tech production are ultimately a disruption par excellence.

© Sophya Mantilla 2015


The Illustrated London News3. As to SOCIAL MEDIA, they have in a way the power to give us back unexpected ancient times such as

  • a welcoming degree of mess within a culture that might have become rigid, overly severe, inhibiting, shy, depressive, or even cannibal; the recovery of part of our history and our manners that have been lost or forgotten; the multiple opportunities to discover, to learn and to be actively part of the blossoming of our individual and multi-collective tomorrows, the freedom as well as the security to be able to create and share.

However, all this that is really at our reach seem to need additional efforts to be made possible. And it would be a major collective achievement for all cultures, as diverse and full of potential as they are, to make it happen for the most shared positive outcome.

Conditions for it are still to be thought in order to reduce as much as possible negative effects (perceived and effective). Hence, if their power to synchronize the world has been so far what has mostly grabbed our attention, it is definitely this incredible power to ‘DIACHRONIZE’ our culture -through archives and knowledge available from numerous institutions and universities all around the world- that might also need our attention in the forthcoming years.

This merely implies that we will need to deal with MULTI-SPACES and MULTI-TIMES dimensions in their plurality as well as in their possible unified forms.

© Sophya Mantilla 2015


Experienced and educated at Visual Semiotics, involved in visual arts of a large kind, I have not been insensitive to their evolution in forms and uses.

As a professional, a professor for a while and a co-maker, their analysis and historicity have appeared being relevant. Moreover, as images have been traveling from a culture to another since they exist, offer a lot of information and can be found repeated throughout a large span of time. Beyond formats, visual communication expresses cultures and styles which will influence its design: domains of activities, geographical cultures, periods of time, technique, etc.

If their interpretation can be rather unsteady when they move from an environment to another or even within a same environment, their meaning after analytics offer an exceptional opportunity of both steadiness, understandings or even discoveries.

© Sophya Mantilla 2015


escher-symmetryGoing beyond esthetics considerations only, VISUAL COMMUNICATION is nevertheless not as easy to separate from proper ART when it comes to understand it, contrary to what some theoreticians can state. Merely because it partly came as a technical continuity. It embraces still images (graphics & photography), motion-design and films, according to purposes, but also UI on certain devices. However, stating that visual communication is ART would be a fallacy. Shades are mostly to be made when business is its main environment.

Today visual communication and production benefit from new technical possibilities opening at their turn, beyond other manners to receive the information, new and valuable understandings. Not to forget the rest of application fields that invites to immersive experiences.


© Sophya Mantilla 2015


The semiotics approach, when having at disposal a wide sensorial library, can be transferred to other types of object. Its interest is not only to optimize a product or an environment experience, but also to truly adapt existing or even to invent new ones. In times we need to gather different segments and tempers under the same roof to reach numbers, this is not to be underestimated at all.

Methodologies often need multi-disciplinary research.


© Sophya Mantilla 2015