Type-Tart Cards

  • News
News | Yves Peters | September 30, 2008

Type announces the Type-Tart Card contest

St Bride Library and Plus International design festival invite you to participate in a design contest that promises to be loads of fun. And even better – at the same time you help support the St Bride Library, London – one of the world’s most important resources for the graphics industry.

St Bride is the world’s foremost graphic arts library and a rendezvous for all those involved in contemporary graphic communication—designers, printers, publishers, journalists, academics and students. Located in Fleet Street, the traditional heart of the UK’s printing and publishing industry, it is a place where anyone from Britain or abroad with either a professional or passing interest in design can meet and where all aspects of the practical, cultural and technical achievements of the industry can be studied. It is also a place of inspiration that has encouraged many designers, motivated generations of students and stimulated numerous authors.

Please help to maintain this vital and invaluable resource by participating in the type-tart project.

Tart cards in a London telephone box © Ritchie Sieradzki (Unexploded)

The Brief

Design a tart card either for a typeface or a letter of the alphabet. If you are unfamiliar with these things, tart cards are the means by which London prostitutes advertise their services. Step in to any Central London call box and you can contemplate up to eighty cards inviting you to be tied, teased, spanked or massaged either in luxury apartments, fully-equipped chambers or the privacy of your own hotel room. So pervasive are these things, and so curious is their typography, images and copy writing they are now regarded as bona fide items of accidental art and have something of a cult following. Once on the periphery of design, the cards have influenced the work of many mainstream artists including Royal Academician Tom Philips and Sex Pistols designers, Ray and Nils Stevenson. Perhaps they can inspire you too? Maybe Sabon would invite you to caress its counters, or Palatino would advertise its ‘Mega Serifs’. Bodoni boasts some magnificent finials, Baskerville’s swash can really inflict some pain, and Century Schoolbook would undoubtedly keep you in after class. Perhaps you see something seductive in the curves of the ‘S’ or the ‘A’ exhibits dominatrix tendancies. However you see the alphabet there is a type-tart in every letter.

Tart cards in telephone box on Baker Street, North London
© Stef Zucconi (Famous for 15 Megapixels)


  • A6 (105 x 148 mm) landscape or portrait
  • Typographic, illustrative, photographic, or a combination of techniques of your choosing
  • Hand or machine made
  • Single- or full-colour
  • Side 1 – image and text Side 2 – sign and date
  • Supply hard copy only, electronic versions will not be accepted

The Results

All entries will be exhibited at the Plus International Design Festival, Birmingham 5-8 November 2008 and the St Bride Institute, London in early 2009; after which the collection will be auctioned and proceeds donated to the St Bride Library. Prizes will be awarded for the top 3 entries, which will be assessed by a panel of judges from St Bride Library and Plus Expo Ltd.

Closing Date

  • 30 October 2008
  • All entries to be sent to
    Type LLP, 1st Floor The Toll House, The Bond 180-82 Fazeley Street, Birmingham B5 5SE

Header image: New tart cards in telephone box in Victoria, London
© Stef Zucconi (Famous for 15 Megapixels)

Tags: , , ,


  1. I’ve only been to London once and I have never heard about (nor seen) tart cards before but I really dig the idea behind this contest.

    Posted by Piotr on Oct. 1, 2008
  2. thats because its illegal for tartcards to be placed in phone booths these days


    Posted by Simsy on Dec. 4, 2008

Post a comment:


The FontFeed

The FontFeed is a daily dispatch of recommended fonts, typography techniques, and inspirational examples of digital type at work in the real world. Eat up.

  • Meow
  • Biwa™
  • Zin Slab
  • Melts Script
  • Diploma Script
  • Jasan™
  • Beaga
  • Core Gothic E
  • Merry Christmas Color
  • Atlantica
  • Dracula™
  • Juno
  • Zing Sans Rust™
  • Macella
  • Civic Sans
  • Zing Script Rust™
  • Zing Rust™
  • YWFT Victoria
  • YWFT Valley
  • Trix
  • Thang™

Popular Fonts

  • Morl
  • Merlod
  • TT Backwards
  • TT Travels
  • Proxima Nova
  • Nexa Rust™
  • Rosella™
  • Brandon Grotesque
  • Heading Pro
  • Bourton
  • Cenzo Flare
  • Helvetica Neue®
  • Nexa
  • TT Norms
  • Aromatica
  • Selfie
  • Gilroy™
  • Avenir®
  • Moments
  • Viva Beautiful
  • Good Karma