Mercedes, Meet Benz: A Brief History of The Mercedes-Benz Logo The Fight For World Domination The universally recognisable Mercedes-Benz logo, with its compass-like three-pointed star and the Romanesque laurel wreath that surrounds it, grew out of a surprisingly aggressive company philosophy — one centred on…
Mercedes, Meet Benz: A Brief History of The Mercedes-Benz Logo
The Fight For World Domination
The universally recognisable Mercedes-Benz logo, with its compass-like three-pointed star and the Romanesque laurel wreath that surrounds it, grew out of a surprisingly aggressive company philosophy — one centred on total world domination.
Ironically, it wasn’t just ONE company bent on world domination, but two. But before either could ever fight for it properly — the two had to stop fighting each other. More on this in a minute.
The symbol itself stretches back to 1872, as a random star-shaped doodle scrawled onto a family member’s travel photograph was taken and adapted to be an early version of the Mercedes symbol, with each prong of the star representing a different method of transportation — air, land, and sea. The company, Daimler‑Motoren‑Gesellschaft, sought outright to build a manufacturing empire that spanned all three modes.
Sizable ambitions from the jump, but ones that could only be realized once DMG joined forces with its rival company Benz & Cie to wield itself to the fullest. When DMG and Benz & Cie merged in 1926, they enclosed the star in the circle containing the laurel wreath — a trademark inherited from Benz.
On 18 February 1925, both brands registered their new shared logo – Daimler’s Mercedes star within Benz’s laurel wreath. The ceremonial symbolism of this merger marked the beginnings of the bold and potent Mercedes-Benz trademark still used to this day and cemented the unified company as one of the most powerfully ambitious and enduring automobile manufacturers on the planet.
Bizarrely, seventeen years earlier, long before this historic merger took place, back when each company was pettily striving to outpace the other, both Benz and DMG had registered their trademarks during the exact same summer.
The Explosive Eureka Moment In 1886
In an episode of similarly compelling synchronicity between the two young companies years earlier, a Eureka moment in 1886 helped each company level up when they simultaneously developed cars powered by a fast-running internal combustion engine – an innovation they came to discover and implement secretly and separately with neither having knowledge of the other.
So just where does “Mercedes” come into play? The brand name actually emerged when Emil Jellinek wanted to name a car for his young daughter, Mercedes, and Daimler-Benz thereafter extended the Mercedes-Benz name to all its car models. She must have been a likeable kid.
As the company continued to grow and transmogrify into the twentieth century, that logo that stood as its sleek little ambassador to the world continued to transform in sublet ways. Notably, the trademark’s indelible polished silver gives a nod to the Nürburgring Grand Prix of 1934, and the car the Silver Arrow.
But as a shape and symbol, it’s a logo design that’s been adapted and appropriated across products from jewellery to accessories to trophies and everything in between. This only underscores the company’s ceaseless outward-reaching reign and ascent, moving between continents, products, art forms, and industries. So even if today’s Mercedes Benz is less interested in moving customers across the water or air, isn’t the sheer sense of their own widespread ubiquity, something like world dominance?
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I love this story. It is basically about a graphic design student who created one of the most iconic logos in the world. However, that was not how it was initially conceived. The story revolves around two main people, the student and an assistant professor who had both met at Portland State University in 1969.
Some logos make their instant debut, take hold, spreads in recognition, and goes on to outlive and immortalize even itself. Take Edward Johnston’s 1919 rendering of the logo for the London Underground which has been adapted or appropriated across the world and has even been dubbed as a symbol of London itself.