Inspirations and history of the BMW roundel logo
1. ca 1200
Traditional flag of Bavaria; white and blue lozenges. There were always several versions of this flag – some of them had just two wide vertical or horizontal white and blue stripes (as on official Bavarian Republic 1919 flag) .
2. after 1900
Logo of the Bayern Football Club established in 1900. Despised by the Nazis as the Jewish club – FC Bayern Munich had from the beginning Bavarian lozenges in its logo.
0n October 5, 1917 Franz-Josef Popp files for the registration of the BMW logo in the Germany’s Imperial Trademark Roll; it has been registered on December 10, 1917 under the number: 221388
On the left a letter from BMW to the German Imperial Ministry of War dated October 1, 1917 – the first known printed usage of the logo.
Bayerische Flugzeug-Werke (Bavarian Arircraft Works) was created on March 7, 1916. The company uses the letters BFW as a short form of its name. First roundels are in use, still without the letters at the top.
Bayerische Motoren Werke G.m.b.H. was created in 1917 and transformed in March of 1918 into the public company BMW AG. Originally the aircraft engine company, while as a result of the Treaty of Versaille (June of 1919) Germany was not allowed to produce the airplanes, BMW stepped into the production of engines for boats and agriculture and later producing motorycles and cars.
One of the first uses of the BMW logo in a BMW engines advert from 1919.
Another advert from 1919. Please notice the BMW logo at top left.
Originally BMW was an aircraft engine company, however as a result of the Treaty of Versaille (June of 1919) Germany was not allowed to produce the airplanes, BMW stepped initially into the production of engines for boats and agriculture, returning to the production of aircraft and car engines in the mid-1920-ties.
The legend: An artistic vision of an inspiration behind the BMW roundel. A drawing executed for the BMW advert from 1929, explains the idea behind the logo: a silver propeler blades turning with high speed create an illusion. A publication in 1942 by Wilhelm Fahrenkopf confirms the airplane propeller as an inspiration for the logo, but this information might have been infulenced by the fact, that because of the war BMW had to concentrate on the production of the aircraft engines while car production has been brought to a a halt. In 2010 a BMW historian Kai Jacobsen calls an airplane propeller explanation “the myth”.
An evolution of the BMW logo roundel
BMW logo in a 1918 BMW engines advert, Different ornaments were often used in publications, the original logo did not have them.
One of the first authentic BMW emblem’s in use on the R32 motorcycle – 1923.
First emblems were 6,1 cm big, casted by Plafa Factory in Jena, with emaille colors, white, blue, black and metal gold. They were fixed on the motorcycles with two screws.
A restored BMW roundel on a R42 motorcycle. This one is from 1926.
More decorative, with ornamental letter BMW emblem on the first BMW car – model Dixi from 1928.
Roundel place above three leaves on the top of the radiator of the BMW 3/15PS from 1929.
An illustration with the BMW logo from a brochure of the BMW model 3/20: the letters are simplified and presented without serifs.
7. from 1933
Simple thin yellow letters without serifs, blue and white fields equal, the logo is surrounded by a decorative rim.
BMW badge on the 309 model from 1934.
BMW roundel on a motorcycle from 1939. The letters stay close together. Yellow color comes from brass layer on the emblem’s front. Letter ‘B’ got slightly modernized.
BMW emblem on the BMW 327 from 1938, not much change from 1933: letters slightly bolder and blue lozengues got limiting them lines which made them bigger than the blue fields
The letter types similar to the ones on the motorcycle emblems, enamel emblem from BMW 327 cabrio.
11. ca 1940
Letter move apart and obtain serifs again. BMW roundel on the fuel cap of the BMW 328 from 1940.
letters further apart with serifs in yellow brass color: BMW motorcycle roundel from 1940.
The letters remain apart, they grow bigger. Golden color of the letters has been for the foirst time replaced by silver.
A roundel on a BMW car during the WWII, at the end of the civil cars production.
Again the letters in gold, but this is a motorcycle roundel.
A roundel on the BMW motorcycle just after the WWII. BMW as one of the companies working for the Nazi Germany war effort, was not allowed to produce cars at the time. Only in Eisenach in East Germany, in the Soviet Occupation Zone the cars were produced, initially under the BMW badge and from 1952 under the EMW brand (Eisenacher Motorenwerk) and with the red white lozenges logo. The total of 30 400 cars were produced at Eisenach up to the end of 1955, stemming out of BMW constructions.
An aged BMW emblem on the BMW 501.
The BMW logo on a motorcycle R 51/3 tank emblem. Letters became smaller and they are placed more to the top of the roundel.
BMW logo on Isetta car.
A version of the BMW logo in a company publication, at the time of Isetta car.
Please note that the letters lost its serifs and that the letter B has a distinctive design while other letters were simplified.
An emblem on BMW 503: letter B uniformed with other letters. thin letters, standing apart but with serifs. Blue lozenges are a bit bigger than white.
All letters become bolder. A wide silver chrome ring was added on the outside.
BMW roundel logo with an additional chrome ring around.
Motorcycle emblem with two screws and a small silver ring around,
23. after 1970
Simple, bold letters are used. The inside white and blue lozenges are bigger in proportion to the letters. The outside ring becomes thin.
Since ca.1995 BMW begins to use three-dimensional logo on all publications.
The actual BMW badge on a BMW 628 CSi E24 car. Blue and white lozenges become equal.
BMW badge today. Since 1971 changes if there are any, are almost not noticeable. The black ring became slightly thinner and as a result letters became smaller and more separated while equal in size blue and white lozenges are more prominent.
BMW badge with a blue circle added to the roundel for the BME emblem on BMW i cars.
BMW logo – changed by law
1. 1934 – 1939
Frazer-Nash has been an official BMW importer in England befor the WW2. The firm imported BMW cars in elements and assembled giving them its name. With the beginning of the WW2 by Germany, England defending Poland declared war on Hitler’s Germany and Frazer-Nash BMW logo has not been used anymore. After the war Bristol and Frazer-Nash continued building BMW cars, sometimes only with minor changes, but the roundel has not been used.
2. 1946 – 1953
While BMW has not been allowed after WWII to build cars, a small German firm Veritas established in Meßkirch in Baden, used BMW 328 chassis and its driving train with new bodies to participate in car races. These beautiful cars were largely inspired by the 1940 BMW Mille Miglia Roadster. The logo they bared had some elements of the roundel, but not quite. A reversed Mercedes-like driving wheel served as a roundel. And while BMW was reborn in Munich, because of the strict atmosphere in the American Occupation Zone, Veritas chose as its base the city in the French zone.
3. 1952 – 1955
BMW factory in Eisenach as a result of WW2 happened to be in the Soviet Occupation Zone of the Post-Nazi Germany and kept producing cars, at first, since 1945 the pre-war types badged as BMW, later – from 1952 as a result of the court order as EMW (Eisenacher Motorenwerk).
East German EMW logo with added letters in the middle.
Chinese car maker BYD has been inspired not only by the BMW cars styling, but also by the BMW roundel. Not only BYD F6 car looks very similar to the BMW 7 series, BYD’s roundel reminds us the emblem of BMW, but technically BMW and BYD cars are worlds apart.. Things change fast in China and today the BYD is at the forefront of the electric car research, it has Warren Buffet with $232 million as an investor and a new logo, which this time looks more like the one of the Korean car maker KIA. Amazingly thousands of cars BYD produces today still bear the old white and blue flattened roundel. We understand why.
BMW logo – looking for a change
An attempt to create a separate emblem for the BMW Motorsport division cars. A similar design version, but in grey and black, has been already used by BMW on a steering wheel of M1 (E25; 1978-1981), and on E12 M535i (1980-1981), but never on a body nor wheels of the cars. This idea was forsaken on M635 CSi (E24; 1984-1989).
Now a private initiative tries to introduce a color version of this roundel.
2. after 1971
Emblem of the Hartge car tuning company from Merzig , Germany, specializing in BMW, MINI and Range Rover vehicles.
BMW roundel generated through the laser light show.
Several firms propose today a BMW roundel with a carbon inlay. Pity for the blue…
Global economic crisis is also a crisis of values: here is the BMW badge inlaid with Swarovski white and blue crystals.
A project of the so called Dynamic Car Identity, presented on the new BMW Z4 – a proposal published on You Tube by Orazio Iaci for Zafira Consulting & Trading (London, UK, Stefano Carobene – owner) for a dynamic BMW logo, which has a small turning LED screen
Islamization coming? A proposed Islamic calligraphic BMW logo BMW logo by Amman based Jordanian artist Ibrahim Abu Touq (born 1958) Please note BMW characters.
BMW emblem in art
‘The Beautiful Girl’ – a collage by a Berlin Dada artist Hannah Höch (*1898, Gotha, Germany – †1978, Berlin), according to some sources created as early as 1919
BMW emblem plaque – the back side:
The reverse side of the pre-war BMW badge with the name of the Plafa Factory in Jena which did the casting.
Motorcycle modern enamel emblem with two holes. A rubber ring would go under the roundel.
BMW badge today: the back side. The part number: 51 14 8 132 375 is marked on the plaque.
The old part number: 51 14 1 872 324