Designers Type Dirty: 450 Typographical Tart Cards

Typographical Tart Cards

A different form of ‘sexting’, if you will, is this fabulous project between Wallpaper magazine, St. Bride Library and Type in the “Sex Issue” of Wallpaper magazine.

Typographical Tart Cards

They asked over 400 designers to create their version of Tart Cards (the biz cards that London prostitutes use to advertise their wares) by finding the ‘sex’ in typefaces. The 450 cards designed vary in cleverness, style and of course, fonts. Some use the font as a graphic or a sexual image, others use the name of the font as a double entendre or a pun. In any case, they are fun to look at, but will be NSFW in some industries and definitely not for those under 18 years of age.

Here are a few of my personal favorites:


and although I’m not a fan of the design, I had to include this one for obvious reasons:

type design project wallpaper mag

Along with a selection in Wallpaper Magazine’s Sex Issue, all 450 cards can be viewed on their site here.

typography design
Wallpaper Magazine’s Sex Issue: Type Tart Cards

About the project:
Tart cards are the means by which many London prostitutes advertise their services. Step into almost any central London phone box and you can contemplate up to 80 cards inviting you to be tied, teased, spanked or massaged. Even if a police crackdown, the internet and the increasing use of mobile phones suggest their days are numbered, tart cards are still so pervasive they are now regarded as items of accidental art and have something of a cult following. Once on the periphery of design, tart cards have influenced the work of many mainstream artists such as Royal Academician Tom Phillips and Sex Pistols designer Ray and Nils Stevenson. In conjunction with St Bride Library and Type, Wallpaper asked designers – from students to superstars – to find the tart hiding in every type and create their own graphic numbers. The cards will also be on show at KK Outlet*, London, from 22 June. The over 400 cards will include designs by Erik Kessels, Anthony Burrill, Neville Brody, NB:Studio, Spin, Value and Service, Fernando Gutiérrez, Ian Wright and Noma Bar.

Below is the invite to the show:

In among this plethora of brilliant, witty graphic designs we would like to highlight the serious issue that lies at the heart of the world of tart cards – the plight of trafficked women in the sex industry. It is a subject touched eloquently on by Mike Dempsey of Studio Dempsey, who is a volunteer at the Helen Bamber Foundation which helps rebuild lives broken by human rights violations. While our exhibition is an ode to the graphic qualities of the tart card phenomena, Dempsey’s design is a pertinent reminder of the sinister world that lies beneath every card.
–Wallpaper Magazine

*KKOutlet is a shop, gallery and communications agency. It specializes in making, presenting and selling innovative communication solutions. It is the London office of Amsterdam communications agency, KesselsKramer. The exhibition runs from 22- 29 June 2009

See all 450 cards here.