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Encryption for Dummies

Simplifying the complex subject of encryption through the use of illustrations and storytelling.

Photo of Roberto Elizondo
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Written by

Sketch 1 (1,500 characters)

In our sketch, we want to try and explain the idea of encryption in a silly comic style. We want to transform “encryption” into a fun concept. When we first started thinking of how encryption works, we got the puzzle idea. Once a sender (A) wants to send a message or an image to the receiver (B), and once the message or image goes in transit, it gets deconstructed, it breaks down, just like a puzzle waiting to be put back together. Once it receives B, B gets the puzzle and using the manual, or the key, B is the only person who can decipher it, who can build the puzzle and receive the message or idea! This is why we thought a comic strip would be a fun way to explain the idea using the metaphor of the puzzle. We plan on creating different comic strips using the same style to transmit different ideas regarding encryption and other cyber related intangibles. Comics are powerful because they can tell a complex story with just a few images.

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

When we started reading rhe brief, we struggled with trying not to think of the hooded man or the 1s and 0s. We never really thought about how much the stereotypes and misconceptions have been engraved in our minds. We learned that we needed to do extensive research and “unlearn” whatever we thought we know. Then, once we got our idea and we first started, we thought three comic windows would be enough. We then put ourselves in the audience’s point if view and realized that encryption is a very complex concept that is not easily understood. That led us to creating more windows and trying to be as detailed as possible (if we get selected, we plan on detailing the strip further!).

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

We are two multi-disciplinary professionals (Rob & Ely) with extensive knowledge in the field of storytelling, graphic design, marketing & communications, finance and art. We also love pizza.

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

We really like to test our creative capabilities through stimulating challenges that test our problem solving skills, specially when it comes to communicating ideas to specific audiences. Naturally, the openIDEO serves as a great jump off point for collaboration and problem solving.


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 affiliated with an organization.

How did you hear about this OpenIDEO Challenge?

  • OpenIDEO email / social media

Location: City


Location: State / District


Location: Country

  • Spain

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Phil O'Farrell

It could be a great little comic. I think you may need to add a step or two though:

Before the message (puzzle) is sent, the sender needs to send their public key across so that the receiver knows it's them and can send them their own public key to help encrypt it.

To follow your metaphor we could use special shaped scissors as public keys. The card writer sends their personal scissors across with a message saying they want to make them a puzzle. The receiver sends their own special scissors back by return. Then the sender creates the puzzle in the special pattern needed by the receiver, who can decode it using their own private manual.

Importantly, the private keys (puzzle manuals) are never sent across so can't be intercepted.