This is a feature that I’ve been waiting for the right moment to finish. With the winter season upon us, we (on the east coast) have been forced to wait until nicer weather arrives for any new photoshoots. So this is as good a time as any to finally present it.
First, I’ll explain the reasoning behind the name Ultimate Klasse pronounced: /ˈʌltɪmət /klæs/ "Ultimate Class" (or with the proper German pronunciation: 'klasa). "Ultimate" is defined as the best achievable or imaginable of its kind. "Class" is a collection of people or things sharing a common characteristic, attribute, quality, or property; informal: showing stylish excellence. To recap, it essentially means the "best collection" (of BMW's/the BMW community). Ultimate was obviously also selected to tie in with BMW’s slogan “The Ultimate Driving Machine”. Shortly after the name was resolved, I decided to change the original spelling of "Class" to the German spelling "Klasse". It was simply more unique and it added some authenticity to the German theme.
The next step was to create the identity, starting with the type. I went through numerous typefaces, tried each of those with different case styles, different layouts, etc. I eventually came back to one of the first typefaces that I had tried, which just happened to be one of my all-time favorites as well. This typeface was defined in 1931 by the Deutsches Institut für Normung (German Institute for Standardization). A realist sans-serif typeface that was widely used on road signage in Germany. It was also used on German car number plates from 1956 until being replaced in November 2000. Being that it was related to German cars and transportation, it was a perfect fit. It is a neutral but very precise typeface, an attribute which I think also reflects our standards in cars.
Even though the typeface was excellent as is, I just wasn’t completely satisfied with it in the “stock” form. A lot like modifying a car, I saw a couple of parts on it that I thought could still be improved upon. If you look at some of the characters (i.e. the L, T, and E) – I altered the edge from a right angle to an angle matching the degree of the “A”.
After finishing the logotype, I still felt that we needed an icon that people could identify us with. I wanted to continue with the German theme and pursued some sort of family crest. The sketching and development stage took a couple of months to get it right. I was constantly bouncing ideas back and forth with Ryan Lee and the rest of the team. Much of our inspiration was taken from other logos and things pertaining to BMW and Germany.
One of those things was a vintage Munich car grill badge. It was exactly the vibe we were after.
The idea for the olive leaves actually came from the AC Schnitzer roundels, which are also a commonly found element on family crests. The Bundesadler “Federal Eagle” is displayed on Germany's coat of arms, it's an icon that is well known by many around the world. Ours was designed to fit the top “triangle” nicely and to compliment the shape of the shield which sits beneath it. The shield contains the same checkered pattern as the flag of Bavaria. These specific characteristics, although small in detail, associate us easily with our roots, which after all was the main goal.
Lastly, one of the coolest little features about our marque is something that most people would never notice until it was pointed out. The circles and lines of the BMW roundel were carefully measured, scaled, and subliminally incorporated into our logo. We want to present you, our friends and fellow enthusiasts with more than just a window to great cars by making the entire experience something more special. In order to truly have an appreciation for the details and hard work that goes into the cars we feature, we too have to make sure that we have done our part in creating something new from what has been known and recognized for generations. I think that our marque will stand the test of time, despite new trends and ever growing fads, to continue to be a badge of excellence in the BMW community.