Advertisement

Art Paul, creator of Playboy's bunny logo, dies at 93

Art Paul, creator of Playboy's bunny logo, dies at 93
Art Paul, shown in 2014, said he created the bunny logo for Playboy in about an hour. (Chandler West / Associated Press)

Magazine designer Art Paul, who created Playboy's famous tuxedoed bunny head logo, has died. He was 93.

Paul died of pneumonia Saturday at a Chicago-area hospital, his wife, Suzanne Seed, said. Paul was a freelance illustrator when he started working with Playboy founder Hugh Hefner as the magazine's first employee in the 1950s. He has said he came up with the bunny logo in about an hour. Paul also hired other artists to create illustrations for Playboy, including Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol and Shel Silverstein.

Advertisement

Paul was the magazine's art director until he retired in 1982.

"We didn't think it would be such a success right from the beginning, just Hefner and I putting it together," Paul told the Chicago Sun-Times. "Hef was kind to me. I think I gave him a lot. He gave me a lot."

Advertisement

Paul was born in Chicago on Jan. 18, 1925, and studied on scholarship at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago before serving in World War II with the Army Air Corps. He returned to Chicago after the war and picked up studies at the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

The American Institute of Graphic Arts says it's a "testament to Paul's design acumen" that the Playboy bunny logo is universally recognized even without the Playboy name.

"Art deserves the credit for the illustrator's liberation," Christie Hefner, daughter of Hugh Hefner and former chairman and chief executive of Playboy, has said. "He helped redefine the whole notion of commercial art as being able to be as well-regarded and legitimate as high art."

After his retirement he continued working, including teaching and designing for magazines, advertising, television and film. He spent the last decade drawing and painting. He was a member of the Art Directors Hall of Fame and won many awards.

Advertisement

Seed said Paul was drawing until about a month ago, despite unsteady hands and vision problems.

"He would say to me, 'You should see what I see,' " Seed told the Chicago Tribune.

Jennifer Hou Kwong, who is completing a documentary about the artist called "Art of Playboy," said Paul "changed the landscape of magazine design and layout and illustration."

Advertisement
Advertisement