Ugly Gerry

Politics. It gets ugly.


Ugly Gerry

Every 10 years, America redraws its congressional districts. But instead of redrawing them to be fair, politicians cheat the lines to steal votes and sway elections. This process is known as gerrymandering.

The uglier the corruption gets, the uglier the shapes of the districts get.

RepresentUs, an organization dedicated to fixing broken electoral processes, wanted to push for change while helping the average citizen understand such a complex problem.

What helps people...

Gerrymandering can be difficult to explain and even tougher to visualize.

To show how gerrymandered districts were being twisted into every conceivable shape, we took their outlines and turned them into a typeface called Ugly Gerry. Every letter and punctuation mark in the typeface is drawn from the maps of real congressional districts.

A microsite let people tweet a message in Ugly Gerry to their local government, using geolocation to detect the user’s district and automatically tag the politicians in power.

Making an invisible problem something anyone can put into words.

...helps business

Within 48 hours, Ugly Gerry—and the entire issue of gerrymandering—was written up in more than 100 separate articles, leading to hundreds of millions of views. Thousands of people sent letters to Congress through the site, with sitting representatives responding on Twitter.

But most importantly, a month after launch, North Carolina voted to end gerrymandering, with other states considering similar laws.

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