Playboy Magazine

playboy-logotype

Entirely coincidentally, I get to post about another archive of a long-running and well-known magazine; this time, Playboy. John of I Love Typography tweeted a link to this, just over 50 issues of Playboy from 1954 to 2006. The site will require you to install Silverlight, but is fairly well put together and easy to use, with a nice contents feature that also lists the ads and a search function that works well. To be clear, Playboy is a pornographic magazine that used to use good journalism and good design as a fig-leaf (as it were) to try to get some respectability. It's still a magazine for pornography, objectifying women. Of course, the images and type I’ve included below are not pornographic.

I’ve never looked at Playboy magazine before — its reputation preceded it and there are many better ways to read good journalism. There are some interesting-sounding articles in the earlier editions though; just a quick look through reveals interviews with Fidel Castro, Miles Davis, Sterling Moss, loads of fiction, journalism, pages and pages of dense, dense text. Then, so randomly you almost ask “What’s that doing there?” a picture of a young woman with not much on. I must admit I didn’t really look at the newer issues, as after the logotype changes in 1972 the whole thing looks a whole lot less appealing, and makes me think perhaps the magazine becomes a bit more straightforwardly pornographic from this point. The bits of type and spreads below are mostly from the late ’50s and early ’60s, and are just an example of some of the lovely bits of type and layouts in the magazine. So yes, go and have a look at the Playboy magazine archive, but keep in mind the attitudes and harms it represents.

playboy-text
The ‘$4.32’ bit is from an advert, all the rest is from editorial content. I haven’t verified these forensically, but the editorial text looks like a mix of Clarendon, Nimbus Sans, Caslon, Caslon Italic and Cheltenham.
playboy-spread-stirling-moss
I love the use of the rabbit device to end an article, and that it’s still in use today. Note also that the Playboy wordmark at the top left of the page has a serif on the A, which is missing on all other uses of it. I’ve reproduced it larger at the top of this article.
playboy-spreads