Playboy managed to succeed where several other erotic magazines failed because they cultivated a high class aura with their exclusive clubs and literary articles. This brilliant marketing has turned their bunny logo into an instantly recognizable symbol. The magazine was founded in 1953, and their iconic logo has been with them since the second issue of the magazine. Keep reading to find out more about how the Playboy logo was designed and learn how it changed the entire company.
Playboy Logo Design Elements
The most recognizable part of Playboy’s logo is the head of a rabbit. It is a simple silhouette that shows the side profile of a rabbit with two, pointed ears. The Rabbit’s eye is drawn with a circle of negative space. Beneath the rabbit’s head is a simple bowtie drawn from a line and two triangles. This emblem manages to be extremely simple to reproduce, yet it is also unique enough to represent Playboy.
Most people just think about the bunny when they are imagining the Playboy logo, but the logo also contains the brand name. Beneath the rabbit head, “Playboy” is written in thick, all-capital lettering. The custom font designed by Jackson Cavanaugh uses short, wide letters with large slab serifs. Both the rabbit and brand name are typically shown in black on either a white or a transparent background.
Changes and Evolution
Playboy has technically only had one logo, but it took a bit of work for the company to come up with their signature silhouette. The logo got its start as a humorous little sketch by Arv Miller that showed a stag wearing Hefner’s signature smoking jacket and cravat while holding a drink and standing in front of a fireplace. When the magazine decided to change its name from “Stag Party” to “Playboy,” Miller redrew this sketch with a rabbit for the head.
This cartoon was originally going to be the Playboy logo, but then Playboy Art Director Arthur Paul created a simplified version of this sketch. The rabbit silhouette was just going to be used as an endnote after each article, but Hefner liked it so much that it was adopted as the official logo.
The Playboy bunny logo is almost always drawn as a simple black silhouette on a white background. However, the company does draw it in pink occasionally when it is associated with more feminine marketing campaigns.
Since the beginning, the magazine has simply used the font from their title as the logo font. This font has gradually become bolder and thicker, but it still retains all the original characteristics. It is essentially a classic slab font with thick, blocky serifs.
The Playboy logo was originally created because Hefner wanted to do some sort of friendly, non-threatening animal as the magazine’s mascot. Though the magazine was originally going to do a stag, it decided that this was too similar to many other mens’ magazines at the time. Hefner ended up picking a bunny because it had some sexual connotations while still being frisky and playful.
According to Hefner, he “chose it because it’s a fresh animal, shy, vivacious, jumping – sexy. First it smells you then it escapes, then it comes back.” The bowtie was then added to the rabbit to make it look more human and upper class. This clever addition helped to further Playboy’s brand as a magazine for classy gentlemen.
- The Playboy logo is so popular among the military that it was used as the aircraft insignia for the Navy’s VX-4 squadron.
- Hefner’s choice of a bunny for the logo later inspired the bunny costume worn by waitresses at the company’s nightclubs.
- Playboy’s logo is now so iconic that the company makes more money licensing out its logo for products instead of from selling centerfolds.
- It took Art Paul only half an hour to draw this famous logo.
In modern times, Playboy’s bunny logo is almost more popular than the magazine itself. The simplicity and humor of the logo has helped to make it an iconic image that is raunchy without being offensive. Despite its humble origins as a simple magazine endnote, the Playboy logo has gone on to become an excellent brand ambassador for the company.