Persuasion and Influence

3. Analysing Persuasive Elements in Visual Texts

Suggested Learning Intentions

  • To understand how authors use images and language to persuade the reader

Sample Success Criteria

  • I can identify the author’s intention or point of view
  • I can compare and contrast the visual elements in persuasive texts
  • I can suggest the effectiveness of different approaches
  • A3 paper and coloured markers
  • Access to digital resources
  • Posters on a similar topic promoting a point of view (links provided). These posters could be enlarged digitally or in hard copy, with smaller copies available for students to analyse closely.
  • Double and triple Venn diagrams.
  • Brainstorm: Purpose and features of persuasive texts: docx PDF

This stage of the sequence analyses visual texts and examines the ways artists, designers and writers use images and language to present a point of view and influence their audience.

Select and display artworks that provoke discussion of social issues. For example, Gregg Segal and his photographic series, 7 Days of Garbage, and El Anatsui and his artworks made from recycled materials are intended to draw attention to waste and the environment. Further information about the artists, their approaches and philosophies are available via the above links.

Facilitate a class discussion exploring the possible viewpoint of the artist and the possible motives or intentions of the art works.

Encourage students to turn and talk with a partner. Suggested question prompts include:

  • What do you see in these artworks?
  • Why might El Anatsui have used waste materials to create his artworks?
  • Why might Gregg Segal have wanted to photograph people with their weekly rubbish?
  • What are some of the things these image makes you think about?
  • What are the possible points of view the artists may have been wanting to promote? Explain the evidence to support your thinking.
  • Can you think of other artists that are trying to promote a point of view? For example, Banksy.

Encourage students to record short responses on sticky notes or paper strips. These responses could be displayed with the artworks.

Discuss the student responses. Encourage students to elaborate on the way the artists have used images and materials. Ask them: 'How might the artist be prompting the viewer to think about the issues of waste, recycling and the impact of rubbish on our environment?'

Teacher-led example

Display persuasive posters covering a similar topic and encourage a discussion examining:

  • the purpose of each poster
  • the possible viewpoints promoted
  • how the poster is attempting to influence the viewer
  • the visual and text features of each poster.

Possible visual texts exploring a social issue could include, Plastic Pollution , Stop Sucking! Say NO to Plastic Straws, and Wildlife Lost: eating plastic.

Select two posters on a similar topic and co-construct a Venn diagram with the students. Demonstrate methods to compare and contrast the text and how to record information in dot points. Ask questions to prompt students as they work. For example:

  • What are some of the things these texts have in common?
  • What are some of the differences between them?
  • How might the author or designer be intending to influence the reader or viewer? Are they trying to change the way you think or act?
  • What are some of the techniques they are using to influence the reader?
  • What are some of the techniques you find most persuasive in each image?
  • How might the use of language influence the reader?
  • How might the images influence the reader?

Collaborative investigation

Invite the students to form collaborative pairs. Each pair selects two images and work together to construct a Venn diagram.

Monitor student progress and look for opportunities to discuss the key teaching points offered by each image in small groups or with the whole class. For example: 

  • Discuss the evidence provided in the Plastic Pollution poster and ask students to suggest whether the purpose of this poster is informative or persuasive. Students may suggest that the poster is providing information to support the view that plastic is harmful for the environment and sea life, and that humans are using an enormous amount of plastic. However, it only provides facts, it doesn’t offer any evaluative judgement.
  • Invite students to suggest what the purpose of the Stop Sucking! Say NO to Plastic Straws poster might be, and how it is trying to influence the reader's thinking and/or behaviour. Discuss the use of humour and word play.
  • Ask students what emotions and behaviours the Wildlife Lost postcard might be trying to promote. What information is presented in the image?


Extend students by suggesting they use a triple Venn diagram to compare and contrast three of the images. You could also extend student understanding of persuasive text types and purpose by exploring persuasion in advertising. Possible texts could include the following Coke advertisements, Coke Zero, I’d like to buy the world a Coke, Thanks for recycling and Share some team spirit. These advertisements could be compared to a poster promoting water as a healthy drink.

The Venn diagrams could be collected to provide formative assessment information.

Ask the students to nominate a poster or advertisement that they consider to be the most persuasive and to identify:

  • the persuasive features
  • how the text might influence the way they think, feel and will act in the future.

Provide a strip of paper or a sticky note for students to record a short response to the above question. The responses could be collected and displayed with the posters.

ABC News, 2019. Soft drinks targeted with graphic images of tooth decay in new health campaign. [Online] 
Available at:
[Accessed 15 March 2022].

Anatsui, E., n.d. Artworks. [Online] 
Available at:
[Accessed 15 March 2022].

Anatsui, E., n.d. Biography. [Online] 
Available at:
[Accessed 15 March 2022].

Coca-Cola Australia, 2019. Thanks for recycling. [Online] 
Available at:
[Accessed 15 March 2022].

Coca-Cola, 2019. Share some team spirit. [Online] 
Available at:
[Accessed 15 March 2022].

Dipdrop Branding Solution, 2015. Coca cola creates first ever drinkable advertising campaign. [Online] 
Available at:
[Accessed 15 March 2022].

Global Population Speak out, n.d. Wildlife lost eating plastic. [Online] 
Available at:
[Accessed 15 March 2022].

N.S.W. Ministry of Health, n.d. Choose water as a drink. [Online] 
Available at:
[Accessed 15 March 2022].

Nova: Science for curious minds, n.d. Plastic pollution. [Online] 
Available at:²/₀₄/7be204a9db2b1c9988ae4ce4daef32c5.png
[Accessed 15 March 2022].

Project Aware, n.d. The ugly journey of our trash. [Online] 
Available at:
[Accessed 15 March 2022].

Project ReBrief, 1971. Hilltop – I’d like to buy the world a Coke. [Online] 
Available at:
[Accessed 15 March 2022].

Segal, G., n.d. 7 Days of Garbage. [Online] 
Available at:
[Accessed 15 March 2022].

The Museum of Australian Democracy, n.d. Teacher Guide: Graphic Organisers. [Online] 
Available at:
[Accessed 15 March 2022].

The New York Times, 2014. Banksy Mural Satirizing Racism is Erased After Complaint. [Online] 
Available at:
[Accessed 15 March 2022].

Visual humour, n.d. Stop Sucking, say no to plastic straws. [Online] 
Available at:
[Accessed 15 March 2022].

Back to Stages