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Hacker is a Mindset

Curiosity drives people to think outside the box; all hackers are like-minded people

Photo of Pinguino Kolb

Written by

Sketch 1 (1,500 characters)

The Hacker Lifecycle explores the life of a hacker- they start by taking apart electronics as a baby. Maybe next they're playing with lockpicks at a hackerspace, perhaps hacking a voting booth at Defcon, building a robot in high school. Maybe they hack the school computer to change their grades. As a college studuent, they move to hacking for a cause, then working in infosec as an adult. That adult goes on to make more hacker babies, fostering a desire to learn more about the world around it. While this is presented as a single screen, it could be expanded to an infograph to show a hacker changing values as they age, but always driven by curiosity as the root of their passion. Alternatively, the graphics in the circles could be expanded out to be sharable images that could stand on their own. Normally where I have rough sketches, I'd have full color polished vector graphics. The hacker would be nonbinary, and the vectors would reflect that a bit better, so that anyone could relate. I'd also balance the graphic out more and add a lot more detail in the interface, and probably simplify and improve the specific concepts and poses inside the circles. Center needs something, too. I was inspired by people around me through time and watching them grow and change in the hacker scene.

Sketch 2 (1,500 characters)

Curiousity Connects: Hacker Personas. I wanted to make a series of personas showing different hackers at work, and how they see themselves. Hackers share the same mindset, but they come in different shapes, sizes, colors, and backgrounds. This is a multiethnic lady who eats salads at her desk, who has kids and a degree, but is fighting to protect electric car users from malware at work (represented by the bugs). She sees herself as a superhero, keeping the users safe from harm. I didn't have time to color this at all. In v2 I'd probably stylize the box a whole lot better, refine the linework, and color it. Possibly redraw the whole battle scene to have her fighting off the bugs while some got to the vehicle. I'd color it in a soft watercolor, similar to a lot of the art at Parallax, with more bold colors in the area with the battle. My inspiration was the iamcalvary motivations chart, and imagining what the human behind "Protect" might be like.

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

I never realized what an impact my visuals had. I do draw a fair amount of hackers in hoodies, though I tend to make them diverse, kind, and approachable. This contest has made me focus on my own artistic contribution to infosec, and an awareness to not push stereotypes.

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

I'm Pinguino, a designer in LA who has been a part of the hacker scene since the 90s. I'm a part of Ninja Networks, and have contributed art to many Defcon projects and groups. These days, I do a lot of art for Toorcon/Toorcamp, an infosec con in San Diego and Washington. I'm the designer and illustrator at The Parallax, an digital privacy magazine. I also used to run, an early bitcoin magazine, and ran the Satoshi Square meetups in LA. The hacker scene is my home, where my friends are, and I love making artwork with those themes.

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

I believe that design can help push better security practices and explain complex technical concepts. I was hired by The Parallax three years ago to design custom hacker art for their articles because they also felt a lack of usable stock art. I'm pretty good at taking a specific concept and illustrating it. I chose this particular category because I want people to understand hackers better.


Portfolio: Insta: Dribbble: Parallax: Twitter:

What is your experience with the field of cybersecurity?

  • I have considerable 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?

  • Someone in my network (word of mouth)

Location: City

Los Angeles

Location: State / District


Location: Country

  • United States of America

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