After an award-winning redesign of France Football, the country’s most popular and treasured football publication, Paris-based studio République attracted the attention of another magazine with a rich, though in this case controversial, history: Playboy. Impressed by the elegant new branding that République created for one of Europe’s most revered sports weeklies, the French edition of the infamous men’s lifestyle magazine encouraged the studio’s founder, Tom Uferas, to enter the competition for its own redesign.
An entirely separate entity to its American counterpart, Playboy France bears little resemblance to the US version. It takes a different perspective in terms of its content and coverage – though it occasionally shares editorials – it’s a little less sordid and, judging by its decision to give the contract to République in 2018, it’s way ahead of the curve.
Previously art directed for six issues by Bordeaux-based studio, Bureau Parade, the publication has now been completely reimagined by Tom and his colleague Amelie Vancoppenolle, who joined République shortly after it took over. With complete control of the design, the duo wanted to rework the identity and give it a more premium, en vogue feel. It was a decision that was suitably aligned with Playboy France’s positioning as a magazine more akin to titles such as GQ, and a far cry from the often distasteful version found stateside.
Given carte blanche with everything aside from the paper stock, Tom and Amelie bring an entirely different formula to each issue. Published quarterly, each release sees different typefaces and grids utilised to ensure that it’s constantly evolving. “Designing the first issue was really exciting,” says Tom. “We wanted to take the magazine to a higher level of elegance but also keep it ‘dans l’air du temps’ (on trend). To do this we used some freshly baked typefaces and combined them with some old school classics.”
Reaching out to completely new collaborators for every issue too, the pair place great importance on working with illustrators, designers, developers and photographers who share their vision. The latter including names such as Alice Moitié, Paul Rousteau, Boris Camaca and AB/CB, who shot much of the portrait, still life and fashion photography, and artworks by in-demand artists such as Leonard Butler and Brest Brest Brest. “For each issue, we want to work with somebody new to experiment and discover different ways of collaborating,” explains Tom.
Speaking on the future of the publication under their direction, he muses that they will continue to “surprise the audience and have fun with it”. Nudity no longer being at the forefront of its content, République says it wants to create a universal magazine which is aimed at anybody and everybody. “_Playboy_ used to be a magazine created by men for men, but today it should also talk to women, hence we want to continue collaborating with a lot of female talent to be able to offer more diverse points of view and keep up with the times.”
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