Martin Krampen

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Martin Krampen
Born(1928-03-09)March 9, 1928
Siegen, Germany
DiedJune 18, 2015(2015-06-18) (aged 87)
Academic work

Martin Krampen (March 9, 1928 in Siegen – June 18, 2015 in Ulm) was a leading German semiotician, semiotics Professor in Göttingen.[1]


The son of a Protestant pastor, Krampen was born on March 9, 1928 in Siegen and was raised in Wuppertal. He took courses in psychology, philosophy, and theology the University of University of Tübingen and the University of Heidelberg, and studied design with a focus on painting at Accademia delle Belle Arti di Firenze.[2]: 257  In 1953 Krampen began studying graphic design and visual communication at the Hochschule für Gestaltung.[3] After graduating from the school with a diploma in, he went on to obtain his PhD in Visual Communications from Michigan State University in 1962.[2]: 257  While there his studies were focused design and psychology.[4]

Krampen worked in the field of visual semiotics and environmental perception, as well as a professional artist. Over the course of his career Krampen held position at universities across North America and Europe teaching courses in social psychology, semiotics, and the psychology of design.[2]: 259  He was the University of Waterloo's first full-time research associate, where he worked alongside professor George Soulis to study the influence of design on industry.[5] Krampen taught Visual Communication at Hochschule der Künste from 1977 until his retirement in 1993.

Krampen is credited with establishing the field phytosemiotics, the study of vegetative semiosis.[6] His work would go on to become an important branch of semiotic biology or biosemiotics.[7]: 132  Donald Favareau notes that Krampen's 1981 publication "Phytosemiotics" in Semiotica is referenced in nearly every introductory overview of the field and that his work is responsible for expanding the scope of Thomas Sebeok's zoosemiotics info the broader study of signs in relation to living organisms.[2]: 257  In a similar acknowledgement of Krampen's influence, Kalevi Kull credits Krampen's work as "an important step in incorporating biology into semiotics."[8]: 525 

He was a co-editor of Zeitschrift für Semiotik.[7]: 132 

Select publications[edit]

  • Krampen, Martin (1 July 1963). "Handedness as a Variable of Importance in Determining Apparent Movement Direction". The Journal of Psychology. 56 (1): 61–67. doi:10.1080/00223980.1963.9923698. ISSN 0022-3980.
  • Krampen, Martin (1965). "Signs and Symbols in Graphic Communication". Design Quarterly (62): 1–31. doi:10.2307/4047303. JSTOR 4047303.
  • Classics of Semiotics. New York: Springer Science & Business Media. 1987. ISBN 9780306423215. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
  • "Meaning in the urban environment". Routledge; 2013 May 13.
  • "A semiotic perspective on the sciences: Steps toward a new paradigm".Anderson, M., Deely, J., Krampen, M., Ransdell, J., Sebeok, T.A. and von Uexküll, T., 1984. Essential Readings in Biosemiotics, p. 377.
  • "Phytosemiotics". Semiotica, 1981, 36(3-4), pp. 187–210.


  1. ^ "Martin Krampen 87jährig gestorben" (in German). schwaebische. 22 June 2015. Archived from the original on 26 June 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d Favareau, Donald (2010). "Chapter 8: Phytosemiotics". Essential Readings in Biosemiotics: Anthology and Commentary. Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 257–277. ISBN 9781402096501. Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  3. ^ Espe, Hartmut (12 January 2016). "An Obituary for Martin Krampen". Empirical Studies of the Arts. 34 (1): 140–141. doi:10.1177/0276237415621213. S2CID 147787634.
  4. ^ "Martin Krampen". ZKM. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
  5. ^ "Researchers Explore Role of Designer". University of Waterloo Quarterly Report: 2. February 1963. Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  6. ^ Nöth, Winfried 1990. Handbuch der Semiotik. Stuttgart: J.B.Metzler, pp. 258-259.
  7. ^ a b Rauch, Irmengard (1999). Semiotic insights : the data do the talking. Toronto [u.a.]: Univ. of Toronto Press. ISBN 9780802047052. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
  8. ^ Kull, Kalevi (2015). "Introduction to Biosemiotics". In Trifonas, Peter Pericles (ed.). International Handbook of Semiotics. Springer. pp. 521–534. ISBN 9789401794046. Retrieved 30 March 2018.

External links[edit]