The surprising secret behind the Mercedes-Benz logo

Car logos are among the most recognisable designs in the world. From the Audi rings to the Mercedes star, we see these logos every day. But did you know that the latter is actually two very different logos blended together?

The star-within-a-circle design has been around for more than 90 years, but it turns out that both elements of the design have different origins – and it wasn't until two brands merged that they were seamlessly joined together. (Looking for logo inspiration? Check out the best logos of all time.)

Mercedes-Benz logo

(Image credit: Mercedes-Benz)

Mercedes-Benz was the result of the merger of companies owned by Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler. According to the Mercedes-Benz website, in 1886, both mechanics "invented the car powered by the fast-running internal combustion engine – without even having any knowledge of one another."

Original Mercedes-Benz logos

The two original logos from 1909 (Image credit: Mercedes-Benz/Future)

Benz & Cie. submitted an application to have the "Benz" lettering surrounded by a laurel wreath registered as a trademark in 1909. The same year, Daimler‑Motoren‑Gesellschaft applied for legal protection for the Mercedes-Benz star.  

The brand carried on as competing companies until 1925, when they merged and adopted a new design: Daimler's Mercedes star in Benz's laurel wreath. And to this day, the Mercedes logo is one of the most recognisable designs around. Indeed, it's surprising to learn that such a sleek design is actually something of a Frankenstein, combining the elements of two previous symbols.

Mercedes-Benz logo

The first Mercedes-Benz logo, created after the merger in 1926 (Image credit: Mercedes-Benz)

As for the history of the star itself, its roots are rather charming. In 1872, Gottlieb Daimler, technical director of petrol engine manufacturer Deutz, drew a star above his house on a postcard of Cologne and sent it to his wife, vowing that the symbol would adorn him one day his own factory.

Interestingly, the Mercedes-Benz logo seems to be one of the few remaining car symbols that has resisted the move toward flat design – this is still a skeuomorphic, shiny 3D affair. Time will tell whether it will soon join the likes of BMW, Nissan, Volvo and more. Want to create your own logo? Check out our guide on how to design a logo.

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Daniel John
Senior News Editor

Daniel John is Senior News Editor at Creative Bloq. He reports on the worlds of art, design, branding and lifestyle tech (which often translates to tech made by Apple). He joined in 2020 after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more.