“Reliable! BMW”

Herbert Schlenzig

Herbert Schlenzig shaped the visual language of BMW internal communication like no other in his field of activity, not so much as a commercial artist but rather as a brilliant draftsman. Over several decades, he produced detailed technical drawings of engines, transmissions and components. His educational boards designed for trainee instruction almost attained the character of perspective, magnificently elaborated architectural drawings: Schlenzig lets us discover the beauty of technical illustration. To him, information and decoration were not a contradiction. His isometrics permitted a fascinating glance into the inner works of the vehicle. However, with the poster design “Reliable” from 1935, the ingenious draftsman Schlenzig demonstrates that he is also a master of “the grand gesture”. The German term “Verlässig”, which translates as reliable/dependable, is nowadays slightly outdated – today, one would use “Zuverlässig” or “Verlässlich” – however, this does not apply to the pictorial language: an indicated hand making a symbolic gesture and the emblem on the palm on a yellow background. With this minimised graphic design, the poster points the way far into the future, and that is probably the main reason why it did not fit with the advertising language of the period in which it originated. It was never published. 

Historische Werbeplakate


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