Friday, November 4, 2011
On symbol signs, the adversary, and announcing a contest
Update 11/26/2011: I've had two excellent responses to my challenge. You can see them all on this page.
A couple of people have asked me about the symbols that I use to illustrate protocol diagrams. Let me first say that I claim no particular credit or blame for this style; all of that goes to Thomas Ptacek.
These symbols are part of the AIGA Symbol Signs package, a collection of freely downloadable stencils for the standard international symbols. They're wonderful for someone as graphically challenged as I am. You can download a stencil set for Omnigraffle, or get the EPS templates from the AIGA site.
As Thomas points out, there's all kinds of useful security stuff in them: the international symbols for Alice and Bob, the passport agent and keys, and some less-useful things like pictures of ships and planes. (Though even these turned out to be useful once, when I reviewed a security system for a cruise ship.)
However you feel about my choices, I think we can all agree that there's a tremendous need for better design style in scientific presentations. It's 2011, and Comic Sans + Microsoft clip art no longer cuts the mustard.
Announcing a contest. In order to do my small part to improve the appearance of security presentations, and to resolve this baby-as-adversary issue, I have decided to offer a whopping $200 (plus fame and glory) to any artist, or person of artistic bent, who can come up with a better AIGA-style symbol for the adversary, and/or other security-related symbols if they're exceptional. This is a one-time prize, and will be offered to a single winner of my choice. I realize this isn't a whole ton of money, but if I like the result I promise I'll do my level best to praise your talents far and wide.