Type Sex With Durex

  • Fonts in Use
Fonts in Use | Yves Peters | February 26, 2010

Aw, what the heck. It’s Friday, the weekend is upon us, and I’m feeling a bit mischievous. So I guess we’re up for a naughty post! It’s funny how Twitter has totally replaced my RSS feeds (which I didn’t check systematically enough anyway). I use a system that puts a notification bar at the side of my browser window. As I almost exclusively work online – The FontFeed is a WordPress blog, and Unzipped uses a custom Flash content management system developed and designed by group94 – I always catch what’s going on from the corner of my eye. And this particular tweet sure did. Please bear in mind that in some work environments this post may be considered not safe for work, so proceed at your own discretion. Don’t click through if you were offended by the Type-Tart Cards project. There’s no nudity involved, but we start with suggestive typographic compositions, and continue with … squeaky noises in the videos. ; )

German brand and advertising designer Andrej Krahne created Type sex with Durex, a fun series of three typographic posters for the condom brand. With this self-initiated project he wanted to convey the pleasure one can experience with Durex, without telling anything but simply by demonstrating it. His solution was to quite literally visualise the inner feelings during the act, like a linguistic X-ray image. Using only words he created human figures, one male and one female, engaged in three different sexual activities. The Durex logo fills in – no pun intended – as the penis.

This could have been of dubious taste, but Andrej’s designs are in fact quite witty. He plays as much with the meaning of the words themselves as he does with the human shapes they create. Once you are over the surprise of seeing the suggestive images and you start examining those words, hilarity ensues. Judging from the reactions on his Behance portfolio page, his posters are appreciated by men and women alike.

Type sex with Durex

The first poster is rather straight-forward, with the male form composed of the word “overload” exclusively. The female one is primarily rendered with synonyms for “heaven” and “paradise”, with a prominent “peace” on her face, and the obligatory “boobs” on her … well, you know, boobs.

Type sex with Durex

The male form in this second poster is hilarious, and very recognisable. I know how it feels when you realise in the middle of the act that the position you foolishly chose is actually straining and hard to sustain. Yet – as the limits of your endurance are tested and your muscles start to burn and sting – you refuse to give in and hope you make it till the end. Classic.

Type sex with Durex

The last poster makes fun of the common quip that men think with their genitals. Everything relating to the intelligence of the male figure is concentrated in his pelvis, while the rest of his body spells “fatal error”. Forgive me the male-centric analysis of these posters; I can’t read women’s minds, so I don’t know inhowfar the translations of the emotions and sensations are accurate.

If you allow me one minor touch of criticism: the human bodies look a bit stilted, and lack the fluidity and radiance found for example in the typographic portraits for the 51st Annual Grammy Awards. But that’s just nitpicking, because this really is a fun project. The choice of Hobo may seem odd. I don’t like it very much, and Durex uses FF Cocon quite intensively in their packaging and advertising. Its shapes are equally soft and round, so I don’t see why Hobo was used. Morris Fuller Benton‘s typeface is often derided by “serious” designers and typographers for its popularity with amateur typographers and often inappropriate applications. Fun bit of trivia: it celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, and is the subject of an amusing Flickr Group. Hobo’s curvaceous shapes made me include it in the Psychedelia FontList.

Durex has a history of humorous ads, and I still consider the viral campaign Get It On one of the very best. It’s clever, beautifully produced, deliciously silly, and riotously funny. What I most appreciate about it though is that it incorporates homosexuality and bisexuality in a casual, matter-of-fact manner, as it should be.


Durex from Xeon on Vimeo.

The 30-second viral video and TV spot was produced by the New York-based Süperfad team, for Fitzgerald+CO in Atlanta. It aims to encourage the use of Durex products in the US. To date, Get It On has been watched an estimated 12 million times. The multi-awarded piece is now part of The Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection.

The best part however is that the original video comes with three outtakes, Pixar end credits-style.

Still, possibly the best condom ad ever is Boy, the epic video for Zazoo by Belgian agency Duval Guillaume.


Zazoo, Little Boy from David Simpson on Vimeo.

Voted the most popular spot ever on YouTube (nearly 20 million hits) and one of the world’s most recognised TV spots, “Boy” was a “Free Willy”, a spot developed without a home. The big ones (Trojan, Durex, etc.) turned it down, but Belgian brand Zazoo signed on and the rest is history.

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3 Comments:

  1. Absolutely delightful! May I criticize your criticism that “the human bodies
    look a bit stilted”? Isn’t that one of the desired functions of the printed word
    – to set down ideas and to fix them into one position — to keep ideas in the
    form they were originally conceived? I’d say “a bit stilted” is a good thing!
    These “type sex” works are right to the point!

    Posted by Garamondo on Feb. 27, 2010
  2. Isn’t that one of the desired functions of the printed word — to set down ideas and to fix them into one position — to keep ideas in the form they were originally conceived? I’d say “a bit stilted” is a good thing!

    Hah, you’ve got me there! Very clever. : )

    Posted by Yves Peters on Feb. 27, 2010
  3. Great marketing!

    Posted by Durex on Aug. 23, 2011

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