The SCAN-Unit is an internationally-renowned research team embedded within the University of Vienna’s Faculty of Psychology, aiming to discover the neural underpinnings of empathy, a domain in which they have made pionieering contributions to the scientific landscape.


Learning the institute required a brand image to better represent digitally, I took the initiative to conceptualize a visual identity as well as marketing material after contacting its head researcher.

One of their known pain points was the successful conduct of psychological and medical studies to help further research efforts. Potential participants would often have aversions to taking part in experiments. My proposition to counter this intrinsic problem revolves around building a more approachable and contemporary public image. Insights I had gathered from past promotional work for one of the faculty’s affiliates suggested that, by utilizing such an approach, measurable improvements in participation numbers can be achieved.

The biggest challenge, and ultimately why this concept was not selected for further development and adaptation after review by the SCAN-Unit’s staff researchers, was staying within the formal constraints of the university’s brand guide while also being engaging enough to draw attention from a young target audience. This first “visiontype” encapsulated a brand- and wordmark, stationery, a 3D-animated promotional video, sound design, and a promotion poster. The following is a brief showcase of some of the renders.

The PV featured both procedural animation and keyframing to visualize neuroimaging. Sound production was inspired by the works of Steve Reich. Sparse and undeveloped, the harmony only suggests its mode of D-Dorian, known for its humane-sounding qualities, centrally layering the subdominant and dominant scale degrees expressed as Fmaj7-Gmaj7 to the beat of a heart-rate monitor.

The mark, as main identifier of the brand and its image, was made to be a visual portmanteau of the brain and heart. Its lepidopteran-esque shape presented a link to the Ancient Greek symbol and etymological root of today’s psyche. Effortlessly friendly and lending itself to all possible printing applications, it nevertheless remained distinct in reflecting the institute’s body of work as well as their field’s history and rigour.

acqua alta

acqua alta is an homage to the city of Venice disguised as wet advertising material.


© Kenneth Itamah

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