BMW Logo – Meaning and History of BMW Emblem


BMW (Bayerische Motoren Werke or Bavarian Motor Works) is one of the three largest luxury car manufacturers which include its compatriots Mercedes-Benz and Audi. Like its competitors, BMW logo is among the most-recognized car emblems in the world and has several theories about its meaning.

BMW AG Information

Founded 7 March 1916
Founder Franz Josef Popp
Karl Rapp
Headquarters Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Other brands Rolls-Royce
Official website
Slogan Sheer Driving Pleasure (Worldwide)
The Ultimate Driving Machine (United States, United Kingdom, Australia)
The Ultimate Driving Experience (Canada)

The BMW logo is quite a simple representation of three colors – Blue, Black and White in an interesting way. The logo consists of a thick black circle encapsulated in a silver outline and holding the company’s name in the top most part of the circle. The inner part of the circle is made up of four quadrants represented by blue and white colors.

BMW Logo 640x360

There are two different interpretations for BMW logo meaning and both sound equally logical. The first one says that the blue and white quadrants are a direct reference to national colors of Bavaria – the birthplace of the carmaker. This is not surprising since the automaker was established in an era when it was fashionable to maintain some connection with the city or state of birth, other such examples being Maserati and Ferrari.

BMW Logo Meaning: The aircraft propeller theory

The other school of thought believes the BMW logo takes inspiration from the company’s history as a manufacturer of aircraft propellers. In this sense, the sky blue and white fields are representative of a white or silver rotating aircraft propeller spinning with a clear blue sky in the background.

It is worth noting that the logo was first created in 1917 but wasn’t used extensively in contemporary marketing. It was in 1929 that an advertisement featured an aircraft with the image of the BMW Roundel with the rotating propellers. It was around the same time that the Bavarian automaker acquired the license to build Pratt & Whitney radial aircraft engines and the advertisement simply wanted to promote the company’s expertise in this regard.

Needless to say, these events led to the legend of BMW’s history with spinning propeller and since it went very well with the automaker’s overall messaging, BMW did little to stop this urban myth. An official post by Fred Jakobs, Archive Director of BMW Group Classic sets the record straight in this regard.

BMW 4-Series

An ode to aircraft propellers or not, BMW logo is among the finest automotive logos with usage of powerful colors and a strong visual identity which has remained largely unchanged in these years.


Another twist in BMW logo history came in March 2020 when the German company unveiled a new minimalist, flat logo. The new emblem follows a pared-down and two-dimensional approach and doesn’t include the hallmark black ring. Instead, the logo has a transparent circle that will take on different colors depending on the background. In a similar vein, the 3D shadows in the blue and white colors of Bavaria have been dropped.

BMW Logo 2020

The automaker stated that the transparent logo reflects its openness and clarity apart from underlining the brand’s transition from automotive to technology and connections. Thankfully, the new communication logo doesn’t replace the old one and will be used only for online and offline communication and for international trade fairs and events.


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