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The Era of Over-sharing

Edited photography illustrating the dangers of over-sharing in the digital world.

Photo of Bronney Hui

Written by

Sketch 1 (1,500 characters)

Approach: The core idea is to bring out the absurdity of over-sharing of personal data, or other people’s data in our daily lives with outrageous visual examples of extreme sharing. Normal daily scenes or objects that’d make you stop and look because “nobody” would share things like this. Hopefully, the viewers will be engaged in seeing the direction we would be heading if we continue to over-share.

Style: Photography style can go multiple ways depending on audience demographics. From high-end luxury goods advertisement to next-door instagram by-the-pool amateurish shots. Also depending on the message, the subject of the shot can usually dictate the style. This should produce more than 2 visual directions as required in the brief.

Preferred Medium: Photography + Post-processing (photoshopping)

Opportunity Areas: Reaches multiple demographics without familiarity of cyber-security as it uses exaggeration of everyday objects and scenery.

Inspiration: IDEO inspired me as I also agree that the hoodie back-lit cool-tone lighting is overused and many viewers might not be aware of what it’s trying to say in the first 5 seconds.

Next steps: Rough photo-shoot some relevant real photos to photoshop with, along with proofed copy-writing of key messages.

What have you learned through this sketching process? (1,000 characters)

I’ve learned that there are indeed many facets of cyber-security and it’s all due to reading about this challenge. We’ve all been brain-washed especially visually into thinking there’s only one guy in hoodie, or a padlock in front of green numbers that are so vague and loses their meaning over time. I am surprised that there’s someone who actually cared enough to remedy this in the world and tries to make things better. I respect that.

Tell us more about you. (1,000 characters)

Before I became a professional photographer in 2012, I was the senior graphic designer for 2 international PR firms for a 10-year period. I’ve seen and regrettably used countless cyber-security cliché stock photos in telling stories for my clients. I had never think twice and thought that was “the way” to go. Now I realize why I was slowly dying inside every time I had to plaster yet another vague padlock onto something. So this challenge really hits home for me as I possess both photography and graphic design expertise and can therefore lead most of what I proposed above.

Why are you participating in this Challenge? (750 characters)

I found out about this challenge through a Slashdot post. Not sure if I will have the opportunity to go further but whatever happens I will keep an eye on this and hopefully see everyone’s work elevating the visual landscape of not just cyber-security but anything “digital” in general in the coming years.


What is your experience with the field of cybersecurity?

  • I have never worked in cybersecurity before but am excited to learn more and get involved.

What best describes you?

  • I’m a professional visual creator freelancer.

How did you hear about this OpenIDEO Challenge?

  • In the news

Location: City

Richmond Hill

Location: State / District


Location: Country

  • Canada

What opportunity areas are you covering with this final portfolio? (250 characters)

Over-sharing. Unlimited scenes drawn from daily lives to ensure expandability. The “absurdity” theme adapted to comic strips or actual branded merchandise to draw attention. i.e. stress balls, actual oversharing t-shirts, name cards, etc.

Final Portfolio (1,500 characters)

My idea is based on taking the theme of over-sharing to the extreme to hopefully achieve a comedic or controversial effect and in-turn influence thought, action or inquiry.

1. Visuals of everyday scene to reach a broad / multicultural audience.
2. Easy to implement, brain-storm and communicate.
3. Draw attention in the first few seconds.

Idea #1, not necessarily over-sharing but raising awareness of what many people do - sticking sensitive post-its notes all around their monitor and cubicles in public space.

Idea #2, real estate for sale sign giving out too much.

Idea #3, tinder t-shits sharing too much.

Idea #4, "Smoking Kills" :) Parents over-sharing their kids childhood.

My favourite is Idea #5, however it will involve resources that I don't have at this moment. A "set", an operating theatre, talents in scrubs, a bloody baby, a phone taking that baby's picture with a photoshopped umbilical cord attached. Visually, this gory scene of a new mom sharing her newborn on instagram fits my brief the most.

How would you summarize your final portfolio in 100 words or less? (650 characters)

In the era of social media, everyone is sharing everything. Sometimes even sharing it on live streams where there’s no edit or content gateway. Although we all try our best to filter what we share, it’s inevitable that we will sometimes share things we regret later. Companies who host these platforms are constantly under scrutiny but I think the users have to be educated and take responsibilities too.

Briefly describe your imagined use case for the work in your portfolio. (250 characters)

The graphics can be used in magazines, articles supporting. Presentations to stake-holders. Insert into b-rolls. Adapted to video clips. Bus-top ads, billboards. Audience can be general public, parents, students, to decision / policy makers.

What was the most useful feedback that you received? (1,000 characters)

Initially, the encouragement from the IDEO team helped so much. I got quite intimidated seeing all these fantastic ideas from everyone but the team made me push on. The mentorship call was so useful. The theme of parents oversharing kids pics from Joanne O'Connor made me do a week of research into the matter can came up with the last ideas.

How have your concepts evolved since the Ideas Phase? (1,000 characters)

In the idea phase I was all visual but didn't have any grounding basis to form a more accurate depiction of cyber-security. After doing this for a while and receiving help from everyone involved, it made me respect the field and mold the concepts into a more usable and accurate concept.

How have you been able to incorporate technical accuracy into your concepts? (1000 characters)

Not necessarily "accurate" but my concepts are more on exaggerations. However, I think the concepts are now more relevant and grounded that tackles real life issues compared to the ideas phase.

How do your concepts expand the conversation on cybersecurity? (1000 characters)

I hope these images will push the boundaries on how we can represent cyber-security. It's important to appeal to policy makers but I think the mass public needs to be educated and excited for the policies to work. My goal is to show everyone how cyber-security affects them on a personal level, starts conversation, and hopefully changes can be made from the ground up. It's like Inception.

If you were provided with additional time and resources, are there additional ways that you’d wish to reimagine the visual language of cybersecurity? (1,000 characters)

Take Idea #5 as an example, there are things I can't do at this stage as it'll involve a bigger budget. But I can see this theme hitting home if well spent. There are many illustration submissions and I would like to incorporate photography into them. Perhaps showing reactions of the viewers who views the artwork. Action shots. How are they implemented in the real world, etc. Would be awesome!

What resources did you find most helpful? (optional, 1,000 characters)

I actually watched a ton of youtube videos on the subject because of this. Besides familiarizing yourself with the subject, it also promotes lateral thinking and suddenly things click. Joanne also suggested Disney's Emoji movie. Although it doesn't directly relate to my theme, it got me in the mood to think about cyber-security. It's also helpful to observe and talk to your friends and family on what they think about this, especially if you're a geek like me. Sometimes we get out of touch being so tech and it's nice to see how others struggle with problems you thought was trivial and therefore ignored.

Commitment to Creative Commons License (CC BY 4.0)

  • Yes, I ensure that my portfolio is in compliance with CC BY 4.0.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Dima Boulad

I'm so glad to see the progress of this idea and the sketches into your final portfolio Bronney Hui .As the review team is going through all submissions, I would like to take this chance to thank you for your participation in this Challenge and your dedication to this important and complex topic. Watch this space as we announce the top picks!

Photo of Bronney Hui

Thanks Dima. I am glad to see all the submissions. All very well done! I must thank Chelsea here too for the fantastic coordination with the emails. Made this so pleasant!

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