One of the most appreciated and recognizable vehicle brands in the world, BMW has had a long and complicated history. With a revenue of more than 80 billion euros in 2014, the company is one of the most successful luxury automakers on the planet. Thus, it is hard to believe that most people do not know the true story of the BMW logo.
Despite its long history, the true origin of the BMW logo has yet to reach the ears of its fans. So, what does the BMW logo mean after all? We’ll take a look at Bayerische Motoren Werke AG and see where they got the inspiration, and what is the BMW logo meaning. Many consider that the BMW logo is actually one of main reasons for the automotive company’s resounding success.
BMW Logo Design Elements
The main design elements of the BMW logo are the circles, the blue and white triangles, and the BMW name inside the logo. However, those are only the tangible elements of the logo. There is also a number of meta or self-referential design elements, which we are going to approach. These refer to how the logo was designed, not to how it actually looks. The three most important are the shape of the logo, its color, and the font used for the text in the BMW emblem.
Changes and Evolution
The BMW logo history begins in 1916, more than one hundred years ago. The logo was pretty much identical to the one we know today, with only a few minor exceptions. The colors were less chrome-y than they are today, and the font was slightly different. Plus, the BMW logo colors were joined by an extra one – gold.
The gold color lasted through two of the logo’s incarnations, from 1916 until 1936. In 1936, the gold was removed and replaced with white. The font would be the next to change, losing its serifs in 1954. Ever since, the logo has gone through only minor changes, adapting to the age’s design criteria.
Inspired by the many rhombuses of the Bavarian flag, the shape of the BMW logo is meant to represent what would be visible of the flag if it were inside a circle. The rest of the logo features a black circle with the company’s name written in white letters.
We will talk about the colors of the BMW emblem starting with the gold. It was meant to be associated with prosperity, wealth, glamour, and grandeur. However, as the company started making their vehicles available to the masses, the gold disappeared from the logo.
The three remaining colors of the BMW logo are black, white, and blue. The white in the logo stands for the charm and purity of the brand. The black stands for the excellence and elegance of the company. Meanwhile, the blue color in the logo is meant to stand for the reliability and strength of BMW’s products.
There really isn’t all that much to say about the BMW logo font. The one currently in use has drawn a great deal of inspiration from the Helvetica typeface. However, despite the obvious inspiration, there are big differences between the font designed by Eduard Hoffman and Max Miedinger in 1957 and the current BMW font.
Interestingly, the font is the part of the BMW logo to go through the largest amount of changes over the years. Discarding the font’s serif elements was meant to be viewed as a new direction for the company. And indeed, the sans serif font has become associated with the professionalism and quality of the BMW brand.
Influences / Inspiration
For a very long time, the BMW logo meaning was thought to be related to an airplane propeller in motion. And, to be fair, that made perfect sense. The picture of an airplane with its propeller forming the BMW logo has been considered to be the source of the design.
That was until BMW released a video explaining the true origins of the logo. According to the video, the blue and white of the BMW logo are taken from the Bavarian flag. As the company is headquartered there, it makes perfect sense.
As for the general shape of the BMW logos, it was inspired by the logo of Rapp Motorenwerke, a German aircraft manufacturer which would eventually become BMW. The logo of the now-defunct company featured a black circle with a black horse inside of it. The company’s name was written in black serif letters above the logo. It is undoubtedly the inspiration for the BMW logo as we know it today.
First of all, we would probably never have BMW automobiles had World War I not ended in 1918. BMW started producing motorcycles, and eventually cars, since they were forced to stop producing aircraft engines by the terms of the Armistice Treaty of Versailles. The first BMW automobiles were produced sometime around 1928 and 1929.
Second of all, BMW is not only the parent company of Rolls Royce, but also the company which owns and produces the Mini series of cars. Part of the Euro Stoxx 50, the company is one of the most successful automakers in the world.
The company’s slogan seems to be equally successful regardless of its form, be it Sheer Driving Pleasure, The Ultimate Driving Machine, The Ultimate Driving Experience, or Freude am Fahren. As for the BMW logo, the origin story was completely wrong until 2011, when the company released a video explaining mistake.
BMW is one of the most successful automobile makers in the world, and so is the BMW logo. So, the market is full of products such as a custom T shirt, key ring, sticker, floor mats, steering wheel, plate, and many other items featuring the BMW logo. This includes plenty of replacement parts, as well as many 3D printed items.
The BMW logo and brand belong to one of the most profitable and renowned automaker groups in the world. Whether involved with motorcycles, cars, or simply with making high-quality, and even luxury products, BMW has certainly become a staple of the automotive industry. What do you think of the evolution and history of the BMW logo? Share your thoughts below!