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Design Company Calls For Better Cybersecurity Pictures

It's time to rethink cybersecurity stock images, says design company IDEO. The company is hosting a contest to inject some more imagination into cybersecurity coverage.

All too often, cybersecurity stories feature similar topics: a shadowy-faced figure in a hoodie typing on a laptop, a digital skull and crossbones, or something involving a padlock and key. They've become clichés in cybersecurity coverage.

IDEO's contest, released under its OpenIDEO community Design for Good initiative, imagines "a more compelling and relatable visual language for cybersecurity," in which a broader range of pictures sparks more interesting conversations in the space.

"Too many visuals in the cybersecurity space represent surface level understandings influenced by sensationalist media," said OpenIDEA on its contest page.

Visual creators from the UK, the US, Australia, Brazil and Canada, among others, are all eligible to participate, according to the company, which says that up to 25 shortlisted contestants will receive mentorship from a cybersecurity expert, along with a $500 payment. A lucky seven winners will proceed to get a $7,000 prize. The money comes from the nonprofit William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

The company will evaluate submissions based on artistic quality, how well they expand cybersecurity conversations and how visually compelling they are, it said. Final selections will be judged on extra criteria, such as their power to translate cybersecurity concepts for newbies and their technical accuracy.

The context explicitly bans overly abstract submissions using stereotypical, fear-inducing cybersecurity images. So the faucet gushing ones and zeros and the bloke with the hoodie are both out.

The submission phase began on July 25 and lasts until August 16. After that, the company's team will review the submissions and invite comments from the community. Then, it will produce a shortlist and ask contestants to refine their ideas based on feedback. It will evaluate the final submissions and announce the winners in October.

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