The PLAYBOY logo, created in 1953 for the PLAYBOY magazine, a magazine for men, was first designed as a combination of logotypes and logomarks ( a rabbit and the name Playboy). It Was hidden in the first couple of numbers of the magazine as a game from the editor.
The visual language and the concept of the logo are firmly connected. The main idea of the bunny was …“a sexual meaning, and (was chosen) because it’s a fresh animal, shy, vivacious, jumping, sexy… First it smells you, then it escapes, then it comes back, and you feel like caressing it, playing with it…A girl resembles a bunny. Joyful, joking.” 1 The bunny had a sexual connotation, main purpose of the magazine, where woman were shown semi naked, or insinuating sexual positions. The end of the World War II it came with a feminist movement against this magazine, the business and the idea behind the bunny logo had a big barrier to cross over from all those against using woman as an object for pleasure but Hefner stood firm in his convictions that his magazine was empowering woman, in their nudity, sexuality, sex a peal and feminism. It starts showing this when woman took participation in the writing and edition of Playboy magazine, the quality of writing was good and the nude pictures were often seen as liberating to the post-war generation.
The design of the elegant bunny, dressed with a bow tie, and the black colour of the logo shows strength, authority, sophistication, elegance, security, everything a man would need to attract his bunny girl. (Playboy won hundreds of awards for illustration and graphic design and influenced the visual appearance of scores of other magazines and newspapers. Paul was credited with creating a rhythmic flow to Playboy’s pages. He came up with the magazine’s simple but effective layout for its monthly interviews, with three contrasting photos of the subject at the top of the page. He used cropped images from stories in the table of contents and experimented with “participatory graphics”, such as pop-up pages, collages and die-cut patterns revealing images from other pages)2
Even when the brand has expanded from been just a magazine to become now a Company: Playboy Enterprises, the logo is everything a corporate image should be: eye-catching, recognizable, and completely unique. The logo has remained the same (in a very favorable way). These days, the logo has become more a logomark, well known worldwide without the need of the PLAYBOY name under it. Wherever we go and see a black bunny in a bow tie we know is PLAYBOY there. The fact that still remains the same after 67 years make it a synonymous of future design vision from his creator Art Paul.
Art Paul was the first employee PLAYBOY magazine had, research say it only took him 30min to 1 hour to design the logo: “I drew the new logo in a few minutes,” Mr. Paul said in 1994 to the The Washington Post. “If I had known how famous that trademark was to become, I would have taken more time with it — and it probably wouldn’t have turned out as well as it did.” Paul said he took the job at Playboy only because Hefner offered him complete freedom and the chance to create the magazine’s visual identity.
Paul studied at the school of the Art Institute of Chicago before serving in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II. He graduated in 1950. His studies were strongly influenced by the German Bauhaus aesthetic, which emphasized clean lines and simplicity.
After retiring from Playboy in 1982, Mr. Paul worked as an independent designer in advertising, television, magazines and film. He also created thousands of paintings, which he occasionally exhibited in galleries in Chicago.
The logo has become iconic and classist, has crossed the borders of Puritanism and merchandising finding it in clothes, lingerie, Clubs, TV programs. Playboy Enterprises still turns over hundreds of millions of dollars but it makes money from soft porn, TV channels and online content and licensing the famous bunny logo to all manner of companies.
While researching about PLAYBOY logo for this activity I realized how a very simple drawing made in less than an hour, can have such a huge impact over the years (visual and social impact and distinction) and it comes to me the thought of how from a great vision and idea and having in mind that less is more, we can create a successful logo, a logo that will last decades and generations and still will have its meaning intact, a logo that time doesn’t have any effect on it. This logo inspire me in my desire of learning, as it taught me to go beyond of what my nose can see, to go a little further in investigation of a nature of a drawing, of a meaning, of an idea (like the rabbit as an animal itself and it sexual connotations). To be honest, I have never like the bunny business, I have seen it many times as one of my closest friends is a big fan of it, but I think I always saw it from the side of woman been used and shown as a sexual objects only for man´s entertainment, but now looking at it with different glasses, analyzing the vision of two people in 1950, researching about the story behind this logo and been able to see how far a simple and fast ideas has came and will still keep going, I can say I’m still not sure if all the vision and main ideology behind the bunny logo has my appreciation, but I quite like the logo itself, I find fascinating the strategy that put it in motion, I enjoyed going through some of the magazine´s pages and articles as woman have became more involved in the magazine topics trading. In the last decade, we woman, have been able to also enjoy a cup of coffee and a Playboy magazine.