If you were to do a google image search for cyber security you'd see exactly what I mean. Even the slickest images representing cyber security or cyberspace seem to fall under a style that IMO is very iconic to computer related subjects in the late 90's and early 2000's. Eg. glowing blue streams of light, glowing blue anything, ones and zeroes repeating themselves, and desaturated, or of course, blue, wires or illustrations of circuits fading into each other. I understand that this imagery, the wires, circuits, and binary representation, are on point depictions of the subject we're talking about, but they're still iconic to a certain era of computing.

I need to make a facebook cover photo for an organization involved in networking and cyber security, and could use a basic direction to go in. A facebook cover photo is a lot of space for imagery, and we're not using a group photo, if we even have one.

So how can I represent cyber security, networking, etc, while avoiding this iconically dated look?

  • I don't think you can as the term 'cyber' is inherently tied to a particular time period in pop-culture. I think the best you can do is design under the assumption that they are working with 'internet' security and make visuals around that.
    – DA01
    Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 17:23

1 Answer 1


We don't do brainstorming here but we can help refining what the problem is and looking at the way to approach coming up with ideas for something like this.

We're talking about visual metaphors that evoke the right kind of associations and that set the right mood, tone and associations.

'Cyber' in the late 90's and early 2000's generally evoked the idea of some kind of mysterious new horizon, abstract, overwhelmingly baffling and highly technical: abstract images of a Tron/Matrix-like brave new world, because the reality is something people don't have a comfortable grasp on yet.

enter image description here

Today, it's a day-to-day concrete thing people do casually and comfortably on the sofa, to stay in touch with friends or buy milk. Pretty much the opposite: it's something familiar people just get on with, not something abstract. It's about convenience and simplicity.

enter image description here

Even the most perfectly modern-styled representation of an overwhelming abstract world of high-tech wizardry will look anachronistic because if that's no longer how the topic is thought of, so it's no longer the right thing to evoke, in any style.

The answer of what is the right thing to evoke that works for your company will depend on your exact target audience, but I'd recommend a starting point of not the abstract notion of some cyber network but from the actual day-to-day things that you're making secure.

I'd start by thinking "What's a typical [equivalent of an end user] and what sort of thing would they be doing that we would make secure?". Then think about how to show them in as natural a setting as possible, getting on effortlessly with whatever it is they'll do, looking confident, secure and in control.

Then think about ways of hinting "This has been made safe and secure, this person is even more in control" that keep the mood of it all being simple, straightforward, effortlessly smooth, day-to-day life.

Google-image-searching synonyms for cyber security that don't use the slightly anachronistic word 'cyber' gives a few (uninspired, but illustrative) examples of this very different mood and set of associations:

From Virgin Money:

enter image description here

From Avast (still rather dated, it feels more mid-2000s despite the device shown not having existed then, but it's a stylistic step in the right direction):

enter image description here

Yeah... there aren't many good examples. Hopefully you can come up with some!

  • I could not have asked for a better explanation of what I asked. I'm genuinely feeling impressed, maybe a little enlightened. However, one of the issues that complicates it is that my project is for a government, not commercial, organization. It's also for their facebook family support page, so extreme cutting edge fear mongering wouldn't be appropriate, but neither would imagery of ordinary citizens in total comfort on their tablets.
    – Eric
    Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 14:25
  • 3
    Government family support, eh... The first image that pops into my head is of a family in a brightly lit homely kitchen with a modern chromebook style laptop on the kitchen table, with serious, interested but comfortable expressions, having a video-chat skype-like conversation with an approachable-looking sturdy but friendly professional the other side of the screen, with an "I'm listening" expression on his/her face. That's just off the to of my head - up to you now! Commented Apr 26, 2013 at 14:37

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