20/52: Angry Moderate

It’s tough being in the middle.


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 20.


When I was in high school, a friend asked whether I considered myself conservative or liberal. I told him that I was more of a moderate.

“You can’t be a moderate,” he said, “That means you don’t stand for anything.”

It’s tough being moderate in today’s hyper partisan world. But I think now, more than ever, moderates are the key to stabilizing our country. 

Moderates are not the same thing as independents. Independent voters don’t claim one party or the other, but they’re views aren’t necessarily in the middle. For example, some independents think the Republican Party is too liberal. 

Moderates on the other hand tend to be pragmatic. They look for ways to solve problems for their state or country. They work with people from other parties to craft solutions, not division. Moderates can be Republicans or Democrats (or independents), but they believe you can achieve more by working together than constantly demonizing each other. For many of our problems (but not all*), compromise is a solution to the issues that challenge America.

Today, with highly gerrymandered districts and campaigns financed increasingly by SuperPACs and the influential donors, it’s tough for a moderate to make it through the primaries, let alone win a general election.

On Facebook, my political beliefs are listed simply as “Angry Moderate.” It frustrates me that people can’t work together. I’m baffled by political parties that put their needs above the needs of the nation. And I’m completely pissed off by politicians who want everything to be about them, instead of realizing that they were elected to serve this nation, not rule it.

But the problem with moderates is that they typically don’t get angry. There is no moderate equivalent of the Tea Party. There isn’t a group of radical moderates that will band together to defeat a hyper partisan candidate in a primary. People don’t build moderate Super PACs. I can’t think of any billionaires wanting to fund moderate candidates.

When I decided to make an Angry Moderate shirt, the design approach was straightforward. Pick a sans serif designed by an American** and select a medium weight. Set the type in white and make it available on red, blue, grey and purple shirts. The result is appropriately the most subtle “angry” shirt you can make, perfect for a moderate.

You can purchase Angry Moderate at my Threadless store.

* There are many things that you can’t compromise on. Basic human rights, for example.

** Proxima Nova Medium, designed by Wisconsin native Mark Simonson.

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.