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Trust Tokens

Visual language designed to establish a lexicon of trust in an evolving landscape encompassing devices, locations, and our bodies.

Photo of Terrell Shaw
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Sketch 2 (1,500 characters)

"Cybersecurity" is a harsh word - like money or politics, being the person to bring it to mention can reward you with some harsh looks. Often times worst than the looks granted for speaking of modern politics or the changing environment of the planet. I've had friends and family alike joke about the secure nature of their internet connected security systems and virtual assistants, quoting their infallibility. Such as the aforementioned subjects, we have no context to discuss these subjects outright - for a lack of language and any effort toward a universal understanding. Which begs the question: What if we had some type of societally relevant lexicon readily available to discuss the intricacies of cybersecurity - not technically, but societally, even personally. I've started to develop a working lexicon of graphical symbols and concepts toward this goal - to introduce technical concepts to the general public the same way that industries precursor to cyber, specifically modeled after energy, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, automotive safety, and the entertainment rating systems of movies and video games. As any one of us knows to avoid anything marked with a biohazard symbol, and to embrace the promise of healing followed by a red or green cross. Can we bring the same level of understanding, accountability, and emotion to cybersecurity? I would like to believe that anyone armed with even an elementary understanding can better approach their personal cybersecurity choices.

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

Cyber is far more pervasive than it initially seems. From how we move around the world, to how we shop, receive healthcare, even the things we eat, watch, and enjoy with others - there's always someone watching. This doesn't mean we don't have choices. I believe that if we are informed about how we interact with the modern security landscape, we can not only make more informed choices as individuals, but provide a platform for legislators to hold manufacturers and businesses accountable for gathering data from their customers. In the unfortunate event of a breach, consumers and law makers can hold organizations accountable, and resolve issues more quickly as the capabilities of everyday devices become increasingly personalized. In short: If people know what they're getting into, they know what to expect.

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

I'm a communications designer originating from Detroit, MI. I'm fortunate to have been traditionally trained, back when any graphic design studio used fewer computers and more chemicals and mechanical machines to perform their everyday duties. In the words of Michael Beirut - "Wet and dry things". These days, I'm a freelancer for small businesses, startups, and some of their biggest corporate counterparts. I have a passion for figuring things out and looking at the "bigger picture", as cliche as it sounds - I enjoy the mystery of it all.

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

I'm interested in moving our language of technology and related concepts forward. I've always felt like there are a lot of people who are missing out on a conversation that includes their personal privacy and safety - cybersecurity. Personally, I've been laughed at for being "that person" who's face deep in a Wired article about the evolution of the technologies that make up our everyday. Remarks like "Well, our alarm system is connected to the internet. *haha*" and "I love my Ring doorbell, nobody can see it besides, me it says it on the box" are met with reactions similar to cognitive dissonance. I'm here to equalize the playing field in cybersecurity, it involves us all, so everyone needs the tools to be an active player.


Visit me at my website: LinkedIn:

What is your experience with the field of cybersecurity?

  • I have minimal experience and/or knowledge in the cybersecurity field.

What best describes you?

  • I’m a professional visual creator freelancer.

How did you hear about this OpenIDEO Challenge?

  • OpenIDEO email / social media

Location: City

Washington, DC

Location: State / District

Washington, DC

Location: Country

  • United States of America


Join the conversation:

Photo of Rebecca Wang

The language of icons is such a difficult yet important topic to be tackling! If the concepts behind cybersecurity could be summed up with a visual that communicates the core idea to the public more effectively I think it would definitely improve public understanding of the topic.

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