Sunday, July 21, 2024

BMW Logo History

Graphic DesignBMW Logo History

BMW is one of the world’s trusted car manufacturer brands because it offers its customers an exclusive and unforgettable driving experience. 

With its perfect combination of speed, safety, and aesthetic look, it’s no wonder why many adventure-seeking clients love the brand. 

Aside from their cars that can take from 0 to 100kph in just a matter of seconds, BMW is well-known for its iconic logo design.

But just like any other car logo, this famous brand has its own story. Join us as we take a trip and discover how the BMW logo has changed.

Brief History of BMW

How many times have you seen the BMW logo? You’ve probably seen the symbol a few times on the road, in a showroom, or at the back of another vehicle. However, while many people are familiar with the BMW logo, they don’t know where it originated or what it means.

The BMW brand, also known as Bayerische Motoren Werke, is a German automobile company and is one of the most popular and best-selling luxury automobiles worldwide.

As one of the brands with the most famous logos in the world, it’s only natural for people to get curious about what its iconic logo means.

Let’s look at the color palettes used by the brand: white and blue. These two are the colors of the State of Bavaria in Germany, the home of BMW. A 1929 BMW advertisement showed the BMW logo, complete with four-colored quadrants in a spinning airplane propeller. Since then, the interpretation that the BMW logo represents a propeller has started.

Fun fact: Did you know that this famous car logo first appeared on the streets in 1923? The logo is placed on the fuel tank of BMW’s first motorcycle, the BMW R 32. 

Even today, many people believe that the BMW logo represents a rotating propeller. When the global economic crisis happened, the ad was trying to promote a new aircraft engine that BMW was building, which fits very well into the business advertising image of the company.

The legendary story about the brand’s propeller logo still lives on today. BMW made little effort to correct the myth because it’s not entirely wrong – the logo underlined the company’s roots and expertise in aircraft construction. 

BMW Logo Evolution

Like other famous logos, the BMW logo has also changed over the years. Read on to learn about its versions and discover hidden things you didn’t know about the BMW logo.


Known as The Rapp Logo, the first logo of BMW represented the company as an aircraft engine maker. It featured a silhouette horse in the center of a circular frame, which depicts speed. A thick black frame also houses the name, two stars, and eight curved lines in white colors. 

Instead of the business name BMW, you can see the wordmark Rapp Motor in bold letters. 


The company introduced its first colored logo design. The new logo featured four quadrants that looked like an aircraft propeller in two white and two blue colors in the middle of a thick black frame. Retaining the wordmark design, it changed from Rapp Motor to a golden BMW and two thin gold outlines. 

Tip: If you want your brand to come off as vibrant, friendly, and fun, use colorful logos.


BMW had its first redesign in 1933, but it’s just a minor update. The colors of the four quadrants stayed the same. However, the inner and outer golden circle frames became thicker than the previous ones. Also, the wordmark BMW is now bolder, sharper, and sleeker.


In 1953, the major update focused on the color palette. From thick golden circular frames, you’ll now see thin silver outlines. The golden BMW lettermark is now gray, and the iconic blue and white colors inside the circular shape frame are now lighter. The update in the colors made the black ring more visible.


The 1963 update uses contrasting color effects – black, white, and blue. Can you spot the difference between this version and the previous one?

The circular frames and the BMW wordmark are now in color white font on a black circular ring. The blue and white quarters are enhanced to look intense. 

Among the previous updates, this version is clean, attractive, and represents authority. If you want your brand to give off that vibe, use black and white logos. 


Looking powerful, distinct, and modernized, the 1997 BMW logo perfectly reflects the beginning of the tech era! With its 3D appearance, the logo featured a white wordmark on a broad circular background with silver-gray outlines. Due to the black lines dividing the quadrants from both ends, the inner blue and white colors became apparent.


After three years, the brand bid goodbye to the iconic 3D logo design for 2D. The designer replaced the dominant black frame with a thick white frame. The brand’s name and the outlines shifted to gray. Plus, the dividing lines between the quadrants are now invisible.

This logo version looks clean, calm, and assertive and follows a minimalist design.

BMW Design Elements

Shape: Throughout its logo versions, a thick black ring bordered by a sleek silver lining elegantly highlights the BMW logo. The circle shape also reflects the spinning propeller of the aircraft, which has always been associated with the brand. Check out the psychology of shapes if you’re looking for the perfect shape for your brand.

Colors: The company uses four colors throughout its logo updates: black, white, blue, and gold. These four colors complement each other well and perfectly define the company’s chic character. 

According to color psychology, blue represents trust, security, calmness, and loyalty; white gives off simplicity, minimalism, and perfection; black exudes power and prestige while denoting compassion, energy, and divinity.

Font: The letters BMW at the top half of the black ring in the logo are inscribed in non-serif font – Helvetica, to be particular. The simplicity of the font represents the company well while adding a touch of elegance and eloquent attributes.

Typography impacts your brand, so choose your font correctly. If you want a cleaner and sleeker wordmark, you should check out sans-serif font. 

Design Your Car Logo Today!

Contrary to the big motorcycle brand, Harley Davidson, the primary components of the BMW logo have remained mainly unchanged over time. The simple yet attractive design of the BMW logo makes it a memorable and famous brand.

And there you have it – the story of how the renowned car manufacturer started. We hope you got inspired by the evolution of the BMW logo! Which huge brand would you want us to discuss in our next blog? Feel free to comment down below.

If you’re interested in creating your car logo, check out our logo maker to start browsing through thousands of customizable templates. For your other design needs, you can check out our different templates, such as Etsy Banners, Posters, Flyers, and more.

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Written by DesignCrowd on Tuesday, January 24, 2023

DesignCrowd is an online marketplace providing logo, website, print and graphic design services by providing access to freelance graphic designers and design studios around the world.

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