Playboy founder Hugh M. Hefner passed away on Wednesday night due to natural causes. The 91-year-old was at his home, the Playboy Mansion, surrounded by family during time of passing.

 

While the silk-robed Casanova was essential in creating Playboy, he was not actually the one who created the iconic logo. That distinction goes to designer Art Paul. Mr. Paul sketched out the logo in half an hour for use in the second issue of Playboy. Since that, the logo has not once been changed from the original design. This in itself is a remarkable fact considering how often companies change logos these days and is a testament to the effectiveness of the original logo’s design. Clean, simple, and yet entirely unique, the Playboy logos widespread reorganizability has no doubt played a role in the international success of the magazine.

 

Hugh Hefner tribute (via playboy's twitter account)
Hugh Hefner tribute (via Playboy’s twitter account)

 

In designing a logo for Playboy Art Paul’s original vision was something that had a “humorous sexual connotation” as well as something that was “frisky and playful.” Speaking on why a rabbit was chosen as the magazine’s logo, Hugh Hefner said that, “The rabbit, the bunny, in America has a sexual meaning; and I chose it 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 [playboy] girl resembles a bunny.”

 

Hugh Hefner with Playboy bunnies in front of his private jet
Hugh Hefner with Playboy bunnies in front of his private jet

 

As for the colors used in the Playboy logo, a solid black tone conveys luxury, professionalism and class. Much like a good suit, there was never a need to dress up the Playboy logo in elaborate colors when solid black so effectively conveys the magazine’s image.

 

Throughout the history of the Playboy logo, the iconic rabbit has enjoyed a large degree of popularity. For one, the image has been featured on every cover of the Playboy magazines that have been published. While you might not notice the logo on the first glance at any given Playboy magazine, it is indeed there. An ongoing joke for the Playboy staff was to hide the logo somewhere on the cover of each magazine, and it was a tradition that stuck.

 

The Playboy logo
The Playboy logo

 

Along with appearing on every cover of one of the world’s best-selling magazines, the Playboy logo has made appearances on a variety of other merchandise as well. In fact, selling products that featured the Playboy logo has and continues to be a major source of income for the company. The unmistakable black rabbit could be found on everything from lighters to T-shirts, serving as a testament to just how much good a great logo can do for a business. In the 1950ies the Playboy logo was even adopted as the military aircraft insignia for the Navy VX-4 fighter-evaluation squadron.

 

Playboy cover September 1969
Playboy cover September 1969

 

After 91 years we say goodbye to Hugh Hefner. The silk-robed Casanova may be gone but his legacy and the Playboy bunny will live on.

 

The New York Times

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