What do BMW, Bentley and Bitcoin have in common? They use the second letter in the English alphabetical order – B.
Every letter of the English alphabetical series stands for something unique. When these letters are combined a certain way with various symbols, colors and fonts, they gain the ability to communicate various messages with their audiences. Designers and brands understand the power of letters, colors and symbols, which is why they use them effectively for branding and marketing.
Associated with bravery, beauty, strategic planning, material gains and power, the letter B has been widely used by iconic brands as a part of their visual identities to communicate an array of messages.
Apart from its usage in logos, the letter B is used in various fields of study to represent many different things. Let’s look at some of its usages:
In Chemistry, B stands for a chemical element known as boron. The lightest element in the boron group is used to form compounds such as boric acid, boron carbide and the mineral borax.
In music, B denotes the last note of the chromatic scale. The same note is also referred to as Ti and Si. In certain European countries, B is used to denote the B-flat note.
Songs such as Jumping Jack Flash by The Rolling Stones and I’m Yours by Jason Marz were composed using the B major chords.
Here is the famous song by The Rolling Stones:
The letter B was part of the Phoenician alphabet and was called beth. The Greeks borrowed the letter and called it beta. With it being used in science, mathematics and finance, the Greek beta has found its way into the modern world.Popularly known as Plan B, the letter is used to signify an alternative plan or strategy. Plan B or a backup plan is seen as an essential part of any marketing strategy. Having a plan B ensures that there is an alternative available at all times.
B-roll is a term used for alternative or supplementary footage used along with the main story in a film or a documentary series. Often, these footage are used without sound or interwoven with the main footage.
Other symbolic uses:
From there he went on toward the hill east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord.
The word Bethel means the house of El in Hebrew. The word Bet denotes a house in Hebrew and was derived from the Phoenician alphabet Beth which also meant a house.
The Letter B was known as Beth in Phoenician.
According to various schools of philosophy and esoteric teachings, B symbolizes “birthplace.” It also represents duality—the reason for the birth of the third. What do these mean?
In spirituality, one has to be born twice to find the true nature of existence. The physical birth must be followed by a second birth which only happens after one traverses on the path of wisdom.
According to various ancient civilizations, such as the Mayan, the Egyptian and the Indus, the vast emptiness at the beginning is the “oneness” that one seeks. The one first became the two, giving birth to duality, which in turn brought forth everything known today—the third.
The letter B represents things that may be useful for brands. Let’s look at what the letter represents:
- Billion (Money): Beta is used in finance to mean systematic risk. The letter B is associated with economics and building wealth which is why companies like Bitcoin use the letter B in their logos.
- Bravery: The letter symbolizes courage to start something new. Many startups use the letter to portray bravery.
- Beta Centauri(Brightness): The second brightest star in the constellation Centaurus and the tenth brightest in the night sky, Beta Centauri is used by many companies to depict light and progress.
- Teamwork: Letter B symbolizes teamwork, management and working in a group.
The letter B can also symbolize the following:
Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, popularly known as BMW, was founded in 1916. Initially, the company focused only on manufacturing aircraft engines. After World War Ⅰ, BMW started manufacturing motorcycle engines, railway brakes and household items to remain in business. Today, BMW is one of the leading manufacturers of luxury motor vehicles. The carmaker’s slogan sums it all up—‘The Ultimate Driving Machine.’
Keeping the brand’s rich legacy alive is the BMW logo. The logo resembles an airplane propeller which links the brand to its early days when it manufactured aircraft engines.
Redesigned in 2020, the minimalist new logo appears fresh and professional. The BMW insignia symbolizes an airplane rotating against the sky.
According to Wikipedia, “Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency, without a central bank or single administrator, which can be sent from user to user on the peer-to-peer bitcoin network without the need for intermediaries.”
The wordmark in grey with the bitcoin symbol next to it has been the visual identity to the present day since its inception in 2009. The orange circle with the letter B which has two vertical strokes symbolizes the US dollar. Orange symbolizes gold. The bitcoin crest portrays a fully digital future.
Founded by W. O. Bentley in 1919 in North London, Bentley Motors Limited has been a subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group since 1998.
Held annually since 1923, the 24 Hours Le Mans is the oldest car racing event on the planet today. Bentley Motors has the distinction of winning the popular racing event five times. It was after this winning streak that Bentley became widely known. The carmaker is also known for replacing cast iron with aluminum to design lighter pistons.
The letter B decorated with wings has been in existence since 1919. Bentley never changed their visual identity in their 100-year-old history. Letter B is the central piece of the logo, while the wings describe its unearthly attributes.
The British Broadcasting Corporation or the BBC is the world’s oldest national broadcaster. Founded almost a century ago, BBC has played an important role in British culture. Popularly known as Auntie Beeb, the broadcasting giant has covered some of the most sensitive news in the last century. However, the world’s oldest national broadcaster is faced with a ‘soft power’ battle with other emerging international broadcasters.
An article published on The Guardian mentions, “In a world of proliferating media and information saturation, trust may be the best weapon available to broadcasters without the means to buy access to the airwaves. But the BBC will have to work hard to retain and increase its audience.”
Budweiser, one of the largest-selling beers in the US, was introduced in 1876 by Carl Conrad and Co. Budweiser and Bud Light are marketed as vegan brands since neither ingredients nor conditioning involves any animal by-products.
Fun fact: Another unrelated beer brand of the same name originated from the Czech Republic. The two brands have been involved in several trademark disputes.
The iconic and instantly recognizable Budweiser logo has been redesigned over a dozen times. The minimalist and unique shape selection makes the logo stand apart from the crowd. The Budweiser emblem can fit into any background.
According to various schools of thought, letters, syllables, symbols and colors not only portray various emotions, but a combination of these has the power to invoke subtle energies. From signifying birth to beauty to benevolence, letter B can assist you with your branding efforts.
Head of Design at DesignBro and is responsible for UI/UX Design, managing the global designer community, and ensuring quality levels of both designers and designs remain high.