BMW has unveiled a new logo, ditching its very 90s, 3D version with a black ring and silver type, for a flat version with a white and transparent ring and slimmed down initials. The car company says its new brand look and feel “radiates openness and clarity” and has been adapted with digital use in mind.
A senior representative from the brand team, Jens Thiemer, says in an article on its website exploring the brand’s history, that the new logo stands for “the mobility of the future.” He goes on to say the new transparent logo is a metaphor for the company becoming a “relationship brand” – implying a less lofty and more personal approach to its marketing – and BMW’s new ethos for being more closely connected with customers, as well as gearing the brand “to the challenges and opportunities for digitisation”.
“With visual restraint,” he continues, “we are equipping ourselves flexibly for the wide variety of contact points in communication at which BMW will show its presence online and offline in the future.”
The circular logo retains its blue and white coloured quadrants, which have featured at the centre since its first-ever registered logo in 1917. These were based on the state colours of its home of Bavaria, but inverse to the state’s coat of arms as it was illegal at the time to replicate the symbol of sovereignty on commercial marks. Many believe the logo to be based on an aeroplane propellor, but that theory is based on an advert that came years after the logo’s initial launch.
As part of the launch, BMW has shared archival imagery from throughout the brand’s evolution, from its first registration of the logo in 1917 – the blue and white quarters ringed in black and gold – to its move to a black and white ring in 1953, then a sans serif typeface in 1963, and its 3D version in 1997, before transforming to the new flat version with a white and transparent ring and type. It shows this latest iteration to be the biggest change to the branding in over a century.
Last year, BMW worked with composer Hans Zimmer to develop sound design for the future of electric vehicles.