Inside white and blue. Bordered in black. On it the letters BMW. For more than 90 years this is the icon symbol for sheer driving pleasure. But how was this logo developed? The team at BMW set out on a search for clues in the video above.
The true meaning of the ‘sky blue and white quartered’ BMW logo is the most controversial issue of the company. According to Dr. Florian Triebel, Executive Board Member of BMW AG, “There are two traditions concerning the significance of the BMW logo and trademark, offering two different interpretations of its sky blue and white fields. One interpretation points to a rotating propeller. The other relates the BMW logo to Bavaria as the place where the products are manufactured”.
The current BMW logo is said to be inspired from the circular design of a rotating aircraft propeller. The white and blue checker boxes are supposed to be a stylized representation of a white/silver propeller blade spinning against a clear blue sky.
For BMW, it was ‘a happy coincidence’ that the BMW logo symbolized the Bavarian flag colors and represented the company’s origin. When the BMW logo was first created, it was prohibited by the Trademark Act to feature ‘national coats of arms or other symbols of national sovereignty’ in a trademark. This led the BMW marketers to come up with a solution of ‘incorrectly configuring the color elements in the BMW logo from a heraldic perspective’, while also keeping its relationship with Bavaria evident.
This had been confirmed by BMW, courtesy of the NY Times: “In last Sunday’s Automobiles section, I wrote about visiting a quartet of German car museums. At the BMW Museum in Munich, my affable tour guide, Anne Schmidt-Possiwal, explained that the blue-and-white company logo did not represent a spinning propeller, but was meant to show the colors of the Free State of Bavaria.”