16/52: Team Luther

The Reformation started 500 years ago this month with the posting of the 95 Theses.


Each week for a year, I’m going to be designing a shirt and releasing it on my Threadless store. This is the design for week 16.


500 years ago, on All Hallows’ Eve, Martin Luther hammered a list of 95 theses on the door of the cathedral in Wittenberg. He aimed to discuss reforming the church, but instead, started the Reformation and fragmented the Christian church.

I’m a big fan of Luther, and not just because I’m Lutheran. 

Luther was a passionate communicator and he used the latest technology to share his message. The newly-invented printing press made it possible for his ideas to spread across Europe.

Luther was a passionate communicator and he used the latest technology to share his message.

Luther focused on grace. The idea that we are all sinful and imperfect people and that we can do nothing to earn salvation. Salvation, instead, was given to us when Christ died on the cross for our sins. Today I look at the state of Christianity and I can’t help but think it’s time for another Reformation. One that focuses on love and reflects on what it means to be Christian — and to act like a Christian — in today’s world.

This week's shirt is Team Luther and features a “95” in blackletter-inspired* lettering. This is the perfect shirt for Lutherans who want to celebrate the Reformation in a really subtle way. Lutherans never want to talk about their faith, so with this shirt, if someone asks you what it means, you can then tell them about the Reformation and about being Lutheran. After all, they asked.

You can buy Team Luther from my Threadless store. I recommend you buy it in red.**

Blackletter is a type style commonly associated with medieval Germany. When I had this shirt idea, I thought I knew what blackletter numerals looked like. When I did my research, I discovered that I was completely wrong. So I drew what was in my head, and didn’t base it on a historical model like I had planned. Hence, “blackletter-inspired.”

** Red is the color of the Reformation, and the traditional color of doors in a Lutheran church.

Bob Wertz writes about design, technology and pop culture at Sketchbook B. Bob is a Columbia, South Carolina-based designer, creative director, college instructor, husband and dad. He’s particularly obsessed with typography, the creative process and the tools we use to create. He's currently in the middle of a project to design a new shirt a week for an entire year. Follow Bob on TwitterInstagram and Micro.Blog.