Design · Products

The importance of logos – Case study: Playboy Bunny


After looking at our new Playboy stock, I started thinking about the logo and the branding of merchandise. Why is a logo so important?

A logo at first glance should convey what the company is about, and be recognisable as a unique identifier of that company. There are arguments for a logo not being necessary, but put to the test, logos are much more powerful then we sometimes realise.

Has anybody played one of the logo games on their tablet or phone apps? They show a small piece or even a letter from a logo and you have to type the company name it belongs to. I’ve played them, and was surprised by how many I knew, even logos for brands that I have not directly had any association with.

You can have a go here: http://quizzzz.net/en/logo/game

It made me think more about the font and picture associated with each brand and how it can either become iconic or fall into the background against competitors.

At this moment, I can see 12 brand logos on my desk, not including any products we sell. Pens, phones, PCs, calculators – almost everything we use on a daily basis is branded. How many can you see from where you are sitting at the moment?

So what makes a good logo, and why should you get designing now?

  • The most important thing is that your logo should be adaptable. You should be able to use the same one online and in print media. It should be a symbol that represents what your company does, while also separating itself from similar companies. For example, some fast food companies are instantly recognisable just from the picture in their logos. Even though they sell similar products and have similar customers, they have managed to differentiate from each other and stand out from their competitors.
  • Logos need a meaning, and must convey a message to the customer. With Branded Value’s logo, we tried to think about what we were trying to put across about our company. It links big brands with great value, which is not always the case, so the subtle way of showing this was to link the letters B and V within the wording, to subtly create that link. (Edit: The logo has since changed, and now I think it represents shopping and value, with the use of the tag. This was due to a whole re-design of our shop.)
  • Consistency is needed to build a brand. Having a logo is one thing, but people need to see it a lot, attach a memory to it. You can put it on your website, your social media pages, and in print media. It just needs to be out there, waiting to be subconsciously engraved into people’s memories.
  • The colour of your logo, while significant, should not be a major design issue. It should look just as good in black and white as it does in colour. What if it is printed that way? This means simple graphics and a distinctive font.
  • Logos need to be timeless if they are to stick. In a few years time, after putting your logo everywhere, you don’t want to suddenly decide that it has become outdated. Try to stay away from trends and gimmicks when designing your logo, in order to make sure you don’t fall into this.

Here is a post on common mistakes when choosing your logo. Definitely worth a look, some great examples: http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/06/25/10-common-mistakes-in-logo-design/

This all brings me onto the original logo that got me thinking. The Playboy Bunny.

Image
I think you’d struggle to find anyone who doesn’t recognise the iconic Playboy Bunny logo. It depicts a silhouette style image of a rabbit’s head facing sideways, with a tuxedo bow. Since 1953, Playboy has been a recognisable super-brand, beginning with it’s Men’s magazines. The logo was designed in the early stages by Playboy’s art director Art Paul, originally as an end note for articles.
This logo soon became the essence of the magazine. It epitomises the Playboy organisation of sophisticated playfulness. Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy, reportedly said that he decided to keep this image as the logo as it had humorous connotations and was playful.

The black silhouette is a simple design that can be applied to merchandise, in print and online. It stands out, and can have its colour changed, but will remain known as Playboy’s logo. The rabbit appears to be male, due to the wearing of a bow tie, which further displays that the brand is male-orientated. As it is referred to as a bunny and not a rabbit, it suggests a younger audience. The bow tie also represents wealth  and class. So the brand associates itself with sophisticated, young and wealthy men.

This particular logo has remained timeless. Perhaps this is partly due to the merchandise push in recent years, but mostly I believe it is because it is a classic design, simple and repeatable. It is different from other Men’s product logos; not typically male magazine and showy, but instead representing the male himself.

In more recent years, almost ironically, merchandise has been targeted at younger women, even teenagers. The icon is cute and it is now a much broader brand. It is no longer associated with how it began and has evolved to become a typical teenage brand. The bunny originated as a sign of a classier magazine and the branding has remained a sign of that ever since.

Something that Playboy have managed to do is incorporate the logo into their designs, rather than just putting it on as a label.
We have some great examples of new Playboy merchandise in our shop at the moment. Golfing gear is also popular within the brand, with golf sets for men and women, as well as gloves and other sporting equipment. The items for sale are of high quality, such as bedding sets and fleece blankets. However, it seems that the logo affects the sale of items like this, depending on whether the customer is a fan or not.

What do you think? Does a logo change your mind about a product?

BV

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6 thoughts on “The importance of logos – Case study: Playboy Bunny

  1. HI,
    Yours is an important post. I wrote an article about website branding. Thanks for writing about the importance of a logo.
    If you’d ever be interested in guest posting for my readers about the importance of a logo for their site and how to make one, you’d be welcome.
    Thank you for visiting my site just a few minutes ago. I am glad you enjoyed my guest author’s Grammarly tutorial.
    Janice

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Janice! I’m glad you liked it. I would definitely like to take you up on that. I’m always up for sharing what I’ve learned. I have just looked at some of your other posts too – great blog! – Tina.

      Liked by 1 person

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