Visual Rhetorical Analysis of Food Packaging

shared by nanda on December 3, 2017

Activity Summary:

In this class activity, students apply their knowledge of visual rhetorical analysis by analyzing food packaging from different brands.


Team Members: Ananda Muhammad, Brittany Eide, Jack Friend, Jon Galletley, Zara Chowdhary

Concept Practiced: Visual Rhetorical Analysis, Oral Communication

Assignment Type: Group Activity

Download Full Lesson Plan

Materials Needed: Food packaging (depending on the size of the class, each group should have one food packaging).

Examples of food packaging

Directions (Designed for M/W/F class, 50 minutes. Adjust to your own class time frame):

1) Analysis of a food package (10 minutes)

Each group (3-4 students) takes one piece of packaging. Then in their groups, they analyze it to answer the following questions:

  1. What is the emotional appeal/argument it is trying to make?
  2. What is the logical appeal/argument it is trying to make?
  3. What information do you have about the product outside of the physical package (i.e., its cultural significance, nostalgia, associations)?

During the discussion, one group member notes down the group’s analysis.

2) Preparing slides for presentation (15 minutes)

Still in their groups, students prepare their slides for classroom presentation. A different group member takes multiple pictures of the product. Another group member sets up a Google Slides file and creates the slides using the group’s input. The slides need to have the pictures demonstrating Logos, Pathos, and Ethos.

3) Classroom Presentation and Discussion (20 minutes)

Each group takes 3 minutes to present their visual rhetorical analysis of their food packaging. Have some time at the end of the presentations for whole class discussion. In the whole class discussion, the instructor asks the following questions:

  1. Can you mention some other visual text that uses the strategies employed in the packaging that we analyzed?
  2. From all of the strategies that we talked about, what are the more efficient ones?


Reflection Writing – Write a 100-word reflection that talks about your team’s observations on the existing packaging in terms of effective argument strategies and how the designer was using existing notions, norms, and associations in their design.