The BMW logo is first used in 1917. This year, the Bavarian engine works emerged from the Rapp engine works. In 1922, the company transfers its engine construction, including company and brand names, to BFW, the Bavarian Aircraft Works. This means that March 7, 1916, the BFW's founding date, is also the date that BMW was founded. The company initially produced aircraft engines and later motorcycles. It did not enter the automobile industry until 1928. The letters BMW stand for the name of the company: Bayrische Motorenwerke. The first BMW logo is very similar to today's design. The black circle containing the letters BMW and the blue and white pattern in the middle of the circle have been part of the logo from the start. Only the color and thickness of the lines and letters change again and again over the years. The first draft shows a thin, gold font. In 1933 the golden letters and lines are reinforced. In 1953 the gold color is replaced by white. In 1963 the font changes. In 1997, the 3D version of the BMW logo with silver letters and lines, as we know it today, was finally created. Since 2020 there has also been a sixth draft of the BMW logo, which is only used to communicate the brand: white letters and outline around the transparent circle with the classic blue and white pattern in the middle, without a 3D effect.
But now to the meaning of the BMW logo. The black circle and thus the round shape have been adopted from the Rapp Motorenwerke trademark. Their logo showed the black circle with the words Rapp and Motor printed on it. In the middle was a black horse, a black horse in the form of a knight from chess. The blue and white pattern of the BMW logo is also reminiscent of a chess board. The colors blue and white represent the Bavarian colors. If you read the colors clockwise from left to right, you get the combination blue and white, while the flag of Bavaria shows the colors in reverse order. At that time it was forbidden to use national coats of arms or other national emblems in trademarks. This law was circumvented by reversing the color order. The blue and white pattern in the center of the BMW logo picks up the place where the company was founded. In 1929, an advertising campaign interpreted the blue and white pattern of the BMW logo as a rotating propeller. The blue fields represent the translucent sky. This interpretation appeals to the company, whose roots lie in aircraft engine construction. The design of the BMW logo as a propeller will be used regularly in the following years. BMW itself uses this interpretation instead of denying it. That is why many people today believe that the BMW logo represents a rotating propeller. Although this was not the basic idea behind the design of the logo, the interpretation has its reason to exist after more than 90 years of existence.