The tree example is fairly straightforward, but semiotics can actually get very complicated. Racial stereotypes, for example, rely heavily on semiotics in order to have any meaning. Consider the classic portraits of Native Americans that have been used frequently in advertising. You recognize this image because of semantics , which is the relationship between the symbol and its social or cultural meaning. In this case, you would see a darker complexion, possibly a headdress, war paint or some other stereotypical costume, which you have likely been taught to associate with Native Americans.