It’s the oldest metaphor in the book: the train in the tunnel. Hitchcock used it, and so did New York City’s Department of Health, wrapping their free condoms in a subtle play on the NYC subway system. The first wrapper design was released in 2007, and famously redesigned–without a subway metaphor–by Yves Béhar in 2008.
Now, euphemisms are back. The city held a contest for a limited-edition condom to be distributed along with Béhar’s, and they’ve just now released the finalists. (The New York Times, which held its own parallel condom contest, just announced its finalists too.) Metaphors abound.
A literal train-in-a-tunnel graces Gene Lambert’s design, which is a finalist in both contests. There’s the slightly raunchier manhole cover, used in the same way by two different designers, Virgil Alderson and Andrea Ross Boyle. Russell Greenberg’s top hat is supposed to “symbolize chivalry” and Luis Acosta’s power button “the power to take control.” Then there’s Michael Buitrón humorless, all text buzz-kill: “I am worried about sex.” Maybe metaphor isn’t such a bad thing.