The Good Oil: Mercedes-Benz's star power
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Mercedes-Benz’s three-pointed star badge must be one of the most instantly recognisable automotive logos in the world. Certainly the one that most clearly says “I’m posh” to even non-car people.
The genius of the badge is simplicity. It’s a star, simple as that: bright, shiny and so very premium.
Except it’s not quite as simple as that. When the “Mercedes” brand was born from Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschat (DMG) in 1909, the company took inspiration for its new logo from an old postcard sent by Gottlieb Daimler (who had passed away in 1900) to his family: he had drawn a star on a picture on the town of Deutz to mark his house, and symbolise future prosperity.
DMG created graphics based on the symbol with either three or four points. The former became the badge for cars from 1910 and the company decided it should symbolize DMG mobility in land, air and sea. It was thinking big even then.
The star was used in its raw form as a highlight on radiators, but sometimes also multiple times on the same car. It was represented as three dimensions, with light and shade, right from the start. Although it didn’t get the familiar laurel-wreath circular border until 1926, when DMG merged with Benz & Cie, uniting graphics from both companies together.
The branches’ roots start at the “Benz” lettering and grow around the star to reach the “Mercedes” script, bring the together. Which is quite nice really; a bit nicer than imaging total domination of land, air and sea.
Speaking of air, that four-pointed star from 1909 was kept and later popped up again as the logo for Deutsche Aerospace (DASA) from 1989, when it became part of the Daimler-Benz Group.