Angry Birds: A visual analysis



I was challenged to evaluate and deconstruct the visual rhetorical elements of a common object or interaction within a student environment. 


I wrote a multipage analysis on the popular mobile game Angry Birds in which I deconstruct the visual elements and their influence on audiences/users.

Client: Course project

Project: 2014, Visual analysis

Duration: 5 weeks

Team: Josh LeFevre

My role: Design researcher, critic, author, rhetorical analysis






The brief

I was challenged to evaluate and deconstruct the visual rhetorical elements of the popular mobile game Angry Birds. I focused on the rhetorical tools of amplification through simplification, representation, condensation, and displacement. The purpose of the project was to encourage me to uncover underlying visual messages or themes at play throughout the work, specifically using color, design and layout.




Phase 0: Research

Before evaluating Angry Birds I read visual and design theory from visual rhetoric experts as well as academic research regarding the psychological effects of color, images, and design on the human mind. Readings included works by Bang, Schill, Struken and Cartwright.  I was looking for the social and individual impact the Angry Birds visual design had on those who played the game.

Next, I listed all the archetypal visual attributes found within the game’s images. I did this to gain a grasp of what archetypes were present and to understand how they worked together to influence a player’s self-identification and ideologies. After listing the archetypes and these found throughout the game, I compared my list to the breadth of research to see how my analysis aligned with known and proven theories. 


Phase 1: User Testing and Evaluation

After making my observations I engaged a small test group and asked them to play the game and recorded their reaction as they viewed or interacted with the Angry Bird images and various stylistic designs such as color, geometry, gameplay, and layout.

As I evaluated these design elements I discovered how the game’s design (color, style, archetypes) reinforce how most Americans identify themselves: strong, forceful, and able to beat an evil enemy. The analytical thinking required for the visual analysis of the Angry Birds helped me discover patterns in which we, as Americans, relate to the world.




The process of deconstructing the visual elements of the Angry Birds game made me more aware of my surroundings and how subtly or blatantly design can influence thought, ideas, perceptions, and attitudes.

Feel free to read the paper I wrote about this project, by following this link. A selected bibliography of my readings is included in the paper.

**Images included on this page were screenshots from the game while I played. All Copyrights belong to Rovio Entertainment.