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The myth of the BMW logo

1927: the Bayerische Motorenwerke logo has bronze-soloured serif font surrounding the familiar Bavarian flag motif

1927: the Bayerische Motorenwerke logo has bronze-soloured serif font surrounding the familiar Bavarian flag motif

The original BMW logo was designed in-house at Bayerische Motoren Werke AG in 1927. Whilst many think its checkered design is representative of a spinning aircraft propeller, it is in fact a combination of the logo of the Rapp Motorenwerke, from which the BMW company grew, and the colours of the Bavarian flag.

2000: The current version of the logo is heavily bevelled but is the definition of slow evolution

2000: The current version of the logo is heavily bevelled but is the definition of slow evolution

The myth undoubtedly came from a BMW aircraft magazine cover illustration, released in 1929. You can see just how subtle the evolution of the logo has been over the years with slight colour and form refinements, a shift from serif to sans-serif typefaces, and the addition of lighting and bevelling on the most recent version, released in 2000.

Words: Rob Carney

The 50 Best Logos Ever

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This is an edited version of a chapter from The 50 Best Logos Ever (opens in new tab), the definitive guide to the greatest identity work ever created. Over 180 premium pages, the book dissects the world's greatest logos, showing their origins, their evolutions and interviewing the designers behind them.

So where did the BMW logo come in the top 50? The only way to find out is to pick up the book at all good newsagents today or order it online (opens in new tab). Or you can download a digital edition directly to your iPad from the Computer Arts app on iTunes (opens in new tab).

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