Playboy X National Youth Theatre (2022)

  • Alexandra Town Field

This creative brief was written in response to my final year dissertation for my term 2 project. PLAYBOY The iconic Playboy bunny branding was designed by Arthur Paul. Since it’s conception in 1953, the bunny iconography has had a measurable cultural impact. Playboy has formed a strong brand identity and has achieved design icon status, with the bunny iconography staying the same since its conception. This has shown the longevity of the Playboy branding. Previously the connotations of the Playboy bunny branding has helped Playboy establish a clear audience, predominantly men. However, by repositioning the bunny iconography and re branding, Playboy aims to engage a younger, more diverse audience in their mission to be more inclusive. This creative project was inspired by my final year dissertation, ‘The Playboy Bunny branding: is it facing extinction?’, investigating the cultural impact of the Playboy bunny branding. NATIONAL YOUTH THEATRE The National Youth Theatre was established in 1956 and since it has nurtured the talent of many young people and has developed exceptional performers aged 14-25. They have a more inclusive practice and their ambition is to achieve greater diversity in areas of gender, race, disability, sexuality, socio-economic background, faith and age. Playboy is sponsoring the National Youth Theatre in their mission to be more diverse and inclusive. Playboy hopes to collaborate with the NYT to celebrate and empower young and talented actors and actresses. The objective of this creative project was to produce illustrations to be used as promotional material for three theatre productions that can be seen across printed touch points. The intentions behind this project was to reposition the Playboy branding in an industry that shares their values of inclusivity and challenge messages of misogyny that were previously engrained into theatre and Playboy history. The posters for each production are set in different eras, showing the progression of domestic relationships and how attitudes towards misogynistic behaviour has changed.

The Taming of the Shrew, By William Shakespeare,1500's (above)

The Taming of the Shrew was written by William Shakespeare in the late 1500’s. The play follows two of the main characters Petruchio and Katherina. Petruchio accepts the challenge of ‘taming’ his wife Katherina, who is described as ‘shrewish’. He forces her into the traditionally submissive role of a wife.
A predominant theme in this play is gas lighting and the gender divide between both characters.

One way in which Petruchio ‘tames’ Katherina is through gas lighting her into thinking that the sun is the moon and warping her perception of time.

This particular theme in the play inspired my illustration for The taming of the Shrew. I wanted to visually communicate that the sun was the moon in an effective way. I did this through the colour ways of the sun and moon, using a cool grey tone for the sun and a warm cadmium yellow tone for the moon.
The artwork is also inspired by 1500’s style illustrations of the sun and moon.

The Playboy bunny iconography subtly appears in the illustration, where I used the crescent of the moon to align with the ear.
Look Back in Anger, By John Osborne, 1956 (above)

Look Back in Anger was written by John Osborne in 1956. The play follows a married couple, Jimmy Porter and his wife Alison, in a dysfunctional relationship. Jimmy is from a working-class background and believes that Alison should experience the same suffering he has in life due to her being from an upper-class background. Therefore, he has misogynistic attitudes towards Alison.

The iron iconography is important to this illustration as it demonstrates the harshness of domestic relationships and the empowerment in which Alison feels by striking back.

The iron is weaponized in this piece, this is important as I wanted to visually communicate impact and harshness and I have achieved this with the use of these bold, sharp shapes and contrast between the black and white.
Bitter Wheat, By David Mamet, 2019 (above)

Bitter Wheat was written by David Mamet in 2019. This play follows a Hollywood Mogul and his fall from power to shame. This production by David Mamet was in response to the Harvey Weinstein allegations.

This piece encapsulates the empowerment that people feel when acting as judge, jury and executioner. The Playboy rabbit iconography resembles this empowerment and action against the people that abuse their power. And the Oscar iconography resembles the Hollywood institution.

The blueprint artwork resembles bringing the guillotine, an outdated mechanism, into the current social-climate of today and into a more contemporary setting.

This particular piece has the strongest link to my dissertation and the topic of the ‘Me Too Movement’.