The white seven-pointed star on a blue background has represented Maersk since its very formation in 1904. Along with our distinctive blue colour, vessels, offices and containers showcase our name and logo across the entire world.
The Maersk star has a long heritage dating back to 1886, when Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller’s grandfather bought his first steamer LAURA and decorated the funnel of the ship with a white seven-pointed star ringed with a light blue background.
Peter Mærsk Møller’s first steamer LAURA pictured at the quay in Svendborg. The seven-pointed star can be seen on the funnel of the vessel.
Not only does the star have a long heritage, the story it represents is also unique. Captain Peter Mærsk Møller had, while working for a British shipowner and prior to acquiring his first steamer, been accompanied by his wife Anna on one of his voyages. She had fallen ill on this occasion and Peter Mærsk Møller, who felt responsible for the situation, had most anxiously prayed for her imminent wellbeing. Anna recovered and he later wrote to her of the experience and the reason for putting a star on the funnel of his newly acquired steamer:
“The little star on the funnel is a reminder of the evening I prayed for you so dejectedly and anxiously, asking for the sign that I might see in the grey, overcast sky, a reminder that the Lord hears our prayers.”
The star was adopted as the house flag in 1904, when A.P. Møller, supported by his father, founded the Steamship Company Svendborg, the forerunner to today’s A.P. Moller - Maersk.
Seven-pointed star funnel emblem and house flag.
When Maersk Line was founded in 1928, the star also featured significantly in the newly adopted logo of a circle encompassing our signature funnel emblem.
The original Maersk Line logo from 1928.
Further steps to differentiate and promote our transportation services were taken in 1955, when the Director of Odense Steel Shipyard, Erik Ringsted, suggested that the Maersk vessels be painted in the same light blue colour used on the funnel emblem. The idea was approved by A.P. Møller and then tested on the new-build REGINA MÆRSK to great success. Within a few years the entire fleet was painted and soon became known as the 'Blue Fleet'.
The new-build REGINA MÆRSK delivered from Odense Steel Shipyard in 1955, became the first Maersk vessel to have the light blue colour painted on the hull. The distinctive 'Maersk blue' colour provides a vivid contrast to the surface of the sea, making the vessel stand out and very easily recognizable.
Today’s logo is the Maersk blue square with rounded corners, enclosing a white seven-pointed star. Along with the MAERSK letter font on vessels and containers, the design was created by the Danish architect Acton Bjørn in 1972. The new logo was originally developed for Maersk Line in preparation for the containerisation of the Panama Line in 1975, but was soon introduced in most business units to provide the company with the same unique visual identity.
“It is imperative” the Communication Manual of 1973 states, “that the client sees the same Maersk Line image wherever in the world he may be, because a uniform company appearance bears a strong association with such qualities as efficiency, accuracy and professional ability.”
The logo is a modern design which have stayed contemporary despite its age.
“You know that the logo is well designed” says Senior Design Manager at A.P. Moller – Maersk, Erickson Enriquez:
“The seven-pointed star was there all the time, so he (Acton Bjørn) didn’t do anything with the star, he respected it, but he designed and prepared it for the brand to be ready for commercialization. To be more consistent. it was all about creating consistency and functionality.”
The Maersk star is at the centre of our corporate identity. The use of the logo, colours and font is well described in guidelines to ensure continued consistency.