New York City's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is inviting New Yorkers to design the wrapper for a “special edition” city-branded free condom that will be unveiled in the fall, The New York Times reports. The deadline for contest entries is January 22, and a panel will announce the finalists in February, at which point residents can vote for a winner online.

While the health department has provided free condoms at clinics since the 1970s, the city expanded distribution in 2005 through an Internet-based bulk ordering system. The program now distributes 41 million free Lifestyle condoms each year through more than 2,000 organizations. The city began making these condom wrappers distinctive—initially bearing the text “NYC CONDOM” in the style of subway-line logos—on Valentine's Day 2007. Designer Yves Béhar revamped the condom wrapper one year later.

According to the article, the design contest is open to all New York City residents ages 17 and older (younger applicants require written consent from a parent or guardian). The artwork must be original and cannot include copyrighted, trademarked or sexually explicit images. Proposals can be submitted online at or by mail to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Bureau of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control, Attention: Director of Condoms and Materials Distribution, 40 Worth Street, CN-A/2, Room 1602, New York, N.Y. 10013.