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Fall 2020 ︎︎︎ SUNY Purchase ︎︎︎ (DES3510) Word & Image 3

Alternate Universe Branding


This project is inspired by two things: Marvel’s What If? comic books and the television show Sliders. Both examine alternate universes largely based on the fallout from small changes. In Sliders the characters are trying to find their “home” dimension and use the main characters squeaky gate as an indicator that they might be back.

For this assignment, you’ll use research to investigate a brand, organization or individual (anyone that requires or utilizes some form of visual branding) of your choice and determine a change to their organization and examine how it would affect the visual components of their branding. From this, you’ll create a presentation or ad from the “alternate universe” where this change exists.


Create a presentation or animation that takes an existing brand, or organization (anything that has related visual branding) and changes a key element; intrinsic to the brand or organizations policies or beliefs, and proposes related design changes.


    • No need to be negative ︎︎︎Your change does not need to imply a negative qualitative judgment or be negatively critical. For example, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with making a project about a universe where the NYPD defunded itself (or aided in doing so, whatever the actual process is), but your project does not need to imply such a critique (“NYPD must be defunded”). There should however be some editorial component implied whether positive or negative.
    • No templates please! ︎︎︎For presentations, I strongly recommend making your graphics outside of Google Slides, or whatever presentation format you prefer and bringing them in later. Hopefully it is clear this is still a design project, so the quality of your actual design is important.
    • Treat this as a real alternate universe ︎︎︎ If you really want to go into a greater meta-narrative about universe/dimension hopping you can flesh that out, but generally present that as if this reality has always existed. 
    • Your video does not need to be complex︎︎︎Consider many of the COVID-19 related ads that don’t have a film crew involved. While it’s more obvious for a brand like McDonald’s that this is a cheaper/quicker production, it is totally competently and carefully made:

The following fonts are not allowed Gill Sans, Futura, Helvetica, Gotham or system default fonts for any operating system.

Final Submission

Your final submission must be at least 1 of the following:
    • “pitch deck” ︎︎︎A presentation (PowerPoint, Google Slides, or Keynote) that lasts 5 minutes covering your concept. Create the imagery with a 1920px ︎1080px screen in mind. 
      • A .PDF of said presentation.
      • I will record presentations for critique, but if you want to record or edit a better “take” on your own please do so. Those should be 1920px ︎1080px .MP4 videos. 

    • “ad”︎︎︎ A 30 second video covering your concept. 
      • Your video must be rendered as a 1920px ︎1080px .MP4 video.
      • Your video must include sound of some kind (voiceover, background music, sound design)

All submissions must include a folder containing all process work, sketches, etc. The main goal being to document your research.

No Shuriken Mode Challenges

(Please note that, doing these do not guarantee a better grade or extra credit by any fixed or demonstrable amount, but if you’re doing or approaching these things, you’re probably doing well. The point is that, like not using shurikens in Shadow Dancer, it is more difficult, and increases your proximity to the material. All this being said don’t hurt  yourself and consider your other assignments and mental and physical health. Additionally, if you are not feeling challenged by the class or an assignment, and these suggestions are not sufficient for you, please le me know.)
    • Do a 4.5 minute presentation, that ends with a 30 second video. 
    • Make your animation at least 1 minute long with full sound design, voiceover, etc. 
    • Make your “animation” a five minute news story/mini documentary on your idea.

Relevant Dates

10/12/2020 ︎︎︎ Intro
10/26/2020  ︎︎︎ Check-in #1

This will largely be a check-in to review your research and findings therein.

11/02/2020 ︎︎︎ Check-in #2

This will largely be a check-in to review your technical and aesthetic concerns

11/16/2020 ︎︎︎  Presentations / Viewings +  Critique


This project should be editorial, that is to say it should indicate your opinion on the given topic no matter if it is subtle, irreverent, a hot take, etc. To that end here are some possibilities to think about:
  • What if television channel decided to remove ads? How would this change the programming, the bumpers and structure of the schedule? Would it function more like PBS, would there be a paywall?
  • What if Jojo Siwa removed her bow at some point? The subtext being that her audience and content would change significantly as a result. This is based on the James Charles/Jojo makeover vid if you haven’t seen it.
  • What if the NYPD chose to defund itself? The idea being that, the NYPD has way more money than other programs. The other interesting point of this is that, over time, how might this change the branding of the NYPD? The badges, the uniforms, the cars etc.
  • What if a fast food restaurant like McDonald’s or Wendy’s required you to provide health information in order to get food? Check this clip from the show 

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