Who we are
Dan Evans Semiotician
Having lived in the diverse cultural landscapes of Serbia, Brazil and Warwickshire, Dan has found creative fulfilment in the workplace. With an academic background including an EU-funded Masters’ in International Performance Research from the University of Warwick and University of Arts in Belgrade, Dan says his life-long love of how performative practices can tell a story aligns perfectly with the Sign Salad way of seeing the world.
Dan’s Masters’ dissertation is on the role of semiotics and interpellation in British working class identity politics, and he’s continued to build on his research, presenting at the international conference “Mode d’emploi: Un Festival des Idées” in Lyon in 2015. Dan studied Brazilian Portuguese at the University of Santa Catarina, which went some way to helping him feel less like a gringo during his year in Brazil. His hobbies include football (both the American variety as fan, player and coach, and the beloved UK variety as a long suffering fan of Arsenal) and finding new trinkets of historical insight.
Michelle was born in China and raised in the American Midwest. As a kid, she developed a passion for foreign cinema and snuck into R-rated films to review them on her Xanga blog. Since joining Sign Salad, she has worked across a wide variety of sectors, including food & drink, auto, and pharmaceutical for the American, Chinese, and European markets.
She did both of her Masters in global media and communications in London and Shanghai, and wrote her second dissertation on what Jeremy Lin can tell us about how Chinese young people are redefining nationalism and ethnicity.
After studying international cinema at university in New York and spending a year abroad in Paris, she made short films in rural India and worked in marketing at the Cinémathèque de Tanger in Morocco. When not theorising, Michelle can be found museum-hopping through London, slowly learning to code, or trying not to fall over in yoga.
Alex is the founder of Sign Salad and has conducted semiotic analyses across four continents for a range of global FMCG, alcohol, telecoms, luxury, technology, automotive, travel, pharmaceutical, sports, leisure, and public sector brands.
He was previously Head of Semiotics at Flamingo International and has a PhD in Semiotics and Identity Politics. Alex is a Fellow of NIECI (National Institute for Excellence in the Creative Industries), writes a regular column for canvas8.com, and is part of the Courvoisier Observer Future 500 Network.
In a former life he played in the Miles Davis quintet, scored a century against Australia at Lord’s, and solved crimes alongside Philip Marlowe. In his future life he scores the goal that wins the world cup for Scotland. In his present life, however, his wife and three kids just roll their eyes at him, and join him on the trampoline.
Growing up in the West Country the seeds of Mark’s semiotic adventure were planted as a teen, when, while employed as a lifeguard, the customers generously made him aware of their varied interpretations of pool rules signage. Diving in from here Mark took a BA in English and Media at the University of Plymouth, which through an unexpected encounter with Saussure, ultimately led him to completing an MA in Semiotics, at the University of Tartu in Estonia.
Mark joined Sign Salad after working in leisure, warehousing, and conducting discourse analysis for social advocacy projects in Ireland. He has completed semiotic analyses across a variety of categories, including investigations of the cultural meaning of coffee in Europe, drinking culture in the UK, and supermarket brands in America.
His fondness for adventure (and snowy outposts) has led to a misguided passion for monoskiing. Along with swimming and Ultimate Frisbee, Mark juggles an interest in sports, music, typography, and world travel.
Half Malaysian Chinese and half Brummie, Emily has always liked to keep her options open. She first studied English Language and Literature before swapping sides and moving over to Art History, all while keeping up her sideline as a professional portrait painter. Along the way she wrote a PhD thesis looking at textual cues in the works of David Hockney, and painted his portrait, too. She remains fascinated by words and pictures, whether in the context of an art gallery or the world of brands. She is delighted to have found a niche at Sign Salad where a tendency to become analytical about all manner of cultural phenomena is actually a good thing. Since joining Sign Salad, she has worked on projects ranging from wellness in the US to the meaning of performance and the future of digital media.
On the side, Emily juggles an eclectic and occasionally embarrassing array of hobbies, from taking over the world in strategy computer games to making scale miniatures. When she’s not pursuing these, you might find her pretending to write her novel.
Raised in the serene Kentish countryside, on coming to London to study Art History Katrina was delighted to discover a consumerist metropolis prime for cultural decoding. Her recent Masters in Art History focused on commercial architecture and cinema studies, igniting an avid interest in semiotics and the stories underpinning consumer behaviour. She’s previously worked at a high profile art gallery and as a freelance editorial assistant for an international art magazine.
Sartorial and culinary branding particularly fascinate Katrina. Her hobbies include planned spontaneity, contemporary dance classes, and putting the finishing touches on a novel never to be published. Though finding it difficult to separate work and pleasure in the world of semiotics, in her spare time she’s liable to be hiding behind her sketchbook in museums and life drawing classes, or cultivating her much-desiring cooking skills.
Over 17 years, Rachel has worked in a variety of marketing roles for companies like United Biscuits, News International, Shell and GSK. At long last, she’s crossed over to the agency side! Rachel is known for making things happen, and is passionate about understanding our client’s challenges and helping to solve them. In her spare time she likes to keep fit by running and playing netball, though her 2 young sons and husband keep her busy enough.
A Singaporean living abroad, Shze Hui has always been curious about how codes of meaning fluctuate across cultural borders. With Sign Salad, she has worked on projects that ranged from decoding visual cues in beauty and cleaning sectors, to contrasting practices of luxury in China and the UK. She worked and studied in Jerusalem, Beijing, and Oxford, before doing a Masters in Criticism and Culture at Cambridge. There, she wrote her dissertation on how standards of aesthetic and literary beauty differ across peripheral parts of the Anglophone world.
Shze Hui has previously worked in journalism, and as a non-fiction writer for the National Arts Council of Singapore. In her spare time, she attempts aerial hoop classes, and runs a pastel-coloured digital zine about the latest and weirdest in East Asian pop culture.
An allergy to neckties cut short Simon’s legal career just in time and thrust him into the world of commerce, first as a supply chain manager for a large UK manufacturer, followed by spells in furniture then fashion retail. He then delved for 10 years into the advertising industry, helping to build an independent agency with offices across 5 continents, producing content for the likes of Dove and Nectar, further developing his passion for business and brands. A problem-solver and technophile by nature, his experience of both client and agency-side issues helps both our clients and Sign Salad reach commercial, effective solutions.
Simon’s love for wilderness travel and canoeing was tempered somewhat by the arrival of a family, but he gets on the river when he can and plans one day to canoe with them down the Yukon. At weekends, he is most likely to be found around Twickenham, supporting (chauffeuring) his children in various activities, trying to convince himself that watching sport can also burn calories.