We personify the things we cannot control.
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 12.
As I write this, Hurricane Irma is about to tear through Florida after devastating the Caribbean. I live in South Carolina, and earlier this week, we were in the path of this beast of a hurricane. Gas stations ran out of fuel. Grocery stores rushed to stock enough bread and bottled water. Irma turned west and now, we’ll likely avoid a direct hit.
My 5-year-old son wanted to know why hurricanes have names. I explained that every storm has a letter. And every year, there is a list of names that corresponds to each letter. The names alternate between male and female names. After a particularly damaging storm, that name is retired.*
But I also think that we personify these storms because it’s somewhat comforting to give a friendly, familiar name to something so incredibly terrifying. Irma, Harvey, Katrina, Andrew, Hugo… These were monstrous, deadly destructive storms, but each of them with a friendly, approachable name. We talk about them as though they are our next door neighbor. And it seems to me that the friendlier the name, the more dangerous and unpredictable the storm is.
So this week's shirt is a reminder that no matter how friendly a storm name sounds, it’s still a dangerous force of nature. You can order “Never trust a storm with a friendly name” from my Threadless store. And stay safe out there.
* Bob was retired after the 1991 storm wrecked havoc in New England.
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 Twitter, Instagram and Micro.Blog.