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BMW, let's have a serious talk about this typeface

BMW, let's have a serious talk about this typeface

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These days, Helvetica is an uninspired choice for much of anything; its perfected simplicity has been torpedoed by overexposure and overuse. You can probably find a typeface for your logo or missive that conveys a little more creativity.

I'll make an exception for the text of this post. BMW is also an exception. Helvetica is so deeply ingrained in the branding of BMW that the company quite literally has its own version of it, aptly named "BMW Helvetica."

Picture a BMW logo, or ad. Try to picture it in anything but Helvetica. You can't! (Actually, you can — they've used what appears to be Futura in some old ad campaigns, among other typefaces here and there — but Helvetica is the elephant in the room.)


So what in the world is going on with this engine cover on the new M760i (pictured up at the top of the page)?

The italic "PERFORMANCE" — with those high-tech, laser-look cutouts through the letters — looks like it belongs on the engine cover of an ’86 Corvette, not a BMW. Actually, the official Corvette logo isn't that far off!


So while most M760i owners may never even lift their hoods, you should know that a little piece of the marque's lovely, iconic, and stubbornly consistent branding is on life support underneath.

What's next, the death of the Hofmeister kink? A front-wheel-drive model, heaven forbid? Ah, wait.