Image analysis post – Ikea

It's the image: An advertisement for Ikea in Austria.

It’s the image: An advertisement for Ikea in Austria.


Take a look – it’s time for image analysis.

This image – clearly an advertisement – may appear simple at first. But there’s a lot going on beneath the surface. Why did the advertiser (Ikea) choose to incorporate these visual elements, and what is their significance?

To begin, there is the linguistic message – in other words, purely text. It doesn’t take long to notice that there isn’t much text to analyze. There’s simply the product logo (the word IKEA in blue text on a yellow background, surrounded by a blue oval) and the company’s website. Note, however, that the website includes the top-level domain .at (Austria).

Now, examine the denoted elements of the advertisement – here, the obvious visual elements. Those are fairly basic – a piece of wooden furniture without paint on a red background. It appears that the floor is a slightly lighter shade of red than the walls, but in any case, the room has a unified visual appearance without any ornate adornments. The sharp contrast between the background color and the pale wooden furniture immediately directs the eyes to the furniture.

Finally, consider the connotations of the advertisement. The wood lacks a visual stain or paint. There are no patterns on the walls or outside physical elements to attract the viewer’s attention. The various elements all seem to suggest a common theme, a sense of understated simplicity. In combination, the parts of the advertisement work in harmony to implant this concept in the mind of the reader and – it is hoped – encourage the reader to connect that concept with the brand and its products.



  1. Good breakdown of this ad. However, did you notice that the table seems to be assembled incorrectly? (Technically, it is assembled in an impossible configuration – very Escheresque, no?) Ikea is notorious for their overly simplified, no-word assembly instructions – could you say then that this ad is poking fun at themselves while simultaneously informing the viewer that they offer assembly services?

    1. That’s interesting – of course, I noticed that the table looked really unusual, but it didn’t occur to me that the construction wasn’t physically possible. That certainly reinforces the connection to Ikea’s assembly department.

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