New BMW logo: Absolutely successful, but inconsistent and full of contradictions

Introduced on the BMW i4: the new logo

It seems to be a natural law: as soon as a new marketing boss comes into a company, the corporate identity is first revised - at least the “modernization” of the logo is commissioned by an agency. And as always, the new trend-setting design object is not only praised for its polarizing power, but sometimes criticized and asked whether this is necessary at all. Answer: yes, this is necessary because the world of perception and viewing habits also change. We don't just want to see new cars, we also want to see new shapes. In every detail.

New logos are always controversial at first. BMW Marketing Director Jens Thiemer is no different with the new BMW logo than his colleague Jochen Sengpiehl from Volkswagen, who presented the new VW logo with a "floating" W at the last IAA. One can rightly ask whether the customer is even aware of the creative hustle and bustle of optical changes. Nevertheless, I am convinced that these changes are required to signal that we are developing, we are not stopping. The customer may not consciously perceive these nuances of necessary change, but a logo also subtly radiates the orientation power of a brand in our subconscious.

BMW logo old and new

The trends of the past few years have been seen everywhere. It went from two-dimensionality to three-dimensionality. Now it's back in the two-dimensional direction. At Mercedes-Benz, the star used to be two-dimensional, then three-dimensional logos came into fashion and Mercedes also followed the trend towards plastic representation. Jochen Sengpiehl also argued for the new two-dimensional VW logo (developed in-house by the way) that the old logo did not work on all colors and that the digital of our communication world also appears two-dimensional. The new VW logo can simply be better integrated into this digital world.

Volkswagen levitates the W here on the high-rise

Old VW logo

Logos are not only graphic elements, they are also highly political. When we received the order 15 years ago to further develop the logo of the gas manufacturer Linde, we made the mistake of radically eliminating the old lettering and presenting something completely new. It was only later that I realized what nonsense that would have been. Another agency, which is more sensitive to traditional values, then simply elegantly streamlined and reduced the once-ornate lettering, doing just the right thing. It was absolutely right to keep the old logo. Completely unspectacular, but with an incredible impact. I still get goose bumps today when I see the Linde lettering somewhere, which combines the tradition of the past with the modern orientation towards the future. It is the same with the new BMW logo, which - actually incomprehensible - should not be used everywhere. VW also only correctly varied the old logo; customers will hardly notice that.

What every marketing department needs to know: Don't let criticism irritate or unsettle you. Anyone who is unsure about the logo design is unsure. It is also better if 50 percent of the viewers criticize the new development and 50 percent are enthusiastic than if 90 percent find the new logo design just ok. A new development without polarizing impulses can only be a boring event. What is interesting is what designers at have to say about it. You can read that here:

It is quite certain that a new logo will only take effect after a year or two. And only if it is used consistently. And here you can admire VW, but criticize BMW. The new VW logo was introduced and is already emblazoned on the new Golf, on all brochures and even on the administration tower in Wolfsburg. It takes a long time for the VW dealer in Uzbekistan to work with the new logo worldwide, but VW is acting here with admirable consequence.

The new BMW logo should not be visible on vehicles - why?

At BMW, the new logo is to be communicated alongside the old one from 1997. Completely incomprehensible. Although the new CI is immediately implanted worldwide, the two-dimensional logo cannot (yet) be seen on the vehicles. At BMW, the best marketing phrase says: “The new logo is a new media branding and will be used in addition to the existing logo. It is not used on the vehicle and is not used for exterior and interior labeling in retail stores. ”This is unusual and confusing for brand experts. Because the head of brand communication, Jens Thiemer, also says: “The new communication logo exudes openness and clarity. With this new transparent variant, we want to invite our customers more than ever to become part of the world of BMW. Our new brand design is also geared towards the challenges and opportunities of digitalization for brands. With visual restraint and graphic flexibility, we are preparing for the wide variety of points of contact in communication at which BMW will be present online and offline in the future. The additional communication logo symbolizes the importance and relevance of the brand for mobility and the joy of driving in the future. "

Two different logos create confusion, not orientation

The fact that BMW wants to use this new "communication logo" in addition to the previous one is extremely inconsistent. The perception of two different logos should confuse rather than provide orientation. And isn't it a blatant contradiction to say that the logo will not be used on the cars, but at the same time to present it on a car? Something went wrong.

1 comment to "New BMW logo: Absolutely successful, but inconsistent and full of contradictions"

  1. Last but not least, with a logo, drivers of a wide variety of car brands confess their preferred car brand in a particularly pleasant way.

    The UTR eV - Alliance against Hate, Violence and Terror uses its logo with a car sticker as one of the most effective ways to get a message across quickly and credibly.

    In the 80s, the colorful stickers were part of the street scene. No one could hide behind anonymous Internet contributions at the time. That was the extra-parliamentary voice of the citizens and practiced democracy. You stood by your message personally, because you were at the wheel and driving your sticker.

    Open to the world - non-violent - tolerant

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