The son of a protestant pastor, Krampen was born on March 9, 1928 in Siegen and was raised in Wuppertal. In 1953 Krampen began studying graphic design and visual communication at the Hochschule für Gestaltung. He went on to obtain his PhD in 1962 from Michigan State University where he studied design and psychology.
Krampen worked in the field of visual semiotics and environmental perception, also as a professional artist, but he became well known as the one who established the field of phytosemiotics (study of vegetative semiosis), later becoming an important branch of semiotic biology or biosemiotics. He was a co-editor of Zeitschrift für Semiotik.:132
- "Handedness as a Variable of Importance in Determining Apparent Movement Direction". The Journal of Psychology. 56 (1): 61–67. 1 July 1963. ISSN 0022-3980. doi:10.1080/00223980.1963.9923698. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
- "Signs and Symbols in Graphic Communication". Design Quarterly (62): 1. 1965. JSTOR 4047303. doi:10.2307/4047303.
- Classics of Semiotics. New York: Springer Science & Business Media. 1987. ISBN 9780306423215. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
- "Martin Krampen 87jährig gestorben" (in German). schwaebische. 22 June 2015. Archived from the original on 26 June 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
- Espe, Hartmut (12 January 2016). "An Obituary for Martin Krampen". Empirical Studies of the Arts. 34 (1): 140–141. doi:10.1177/0276237415621213.
- "Martin Krampen". zkm.de. ZKM. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
- Nöth, Winfried 1990. Handbuch der Semiotik. Stuttgart: J.B.Metzler, pp. 258-259.
- Rauch, Irmengard (1999). Semiotic insights : the data do the talking. Toronto [u.a.]: Univ. of Toronto Press. ISBN 9780802047052. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
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