Also known as VAG Rundschrift (Rundschrift is German for round writing). This font or typeface was designed in 1979 for the automotive manufacturers Volkswagen AG. A distinguishing feature of this typeface is the rounded end-stroke.1
VAG Rounded is based on earlier grotesque sans-serif typeface designs 2 which became influential in the 1920’s largely due to developments with the German Bauhaus movement, where it was adapted to express simplicity of form.
Sans serif is French for ‘without serifs’, serifs being the small features at the end of strokes. The term grotesque came about from the controversy surrounding these early sans serif typefaces.3
The demand for the new font arose in the early 1970’s when Volkswagen required a new brand identity to encompass all of their commercial activities, which by then also included Audi, the related car dealerships and financial services.
The design agency GGK Duesseldorf was awarded the design contract. Part of the brief was to develop a typeface which would replace the Futura typeface being used by Volkswagen and the Times typeface used by Audi.
The idea for a rounded typeface is accredited to Wolf Rogosky (Creative Director) and Gerd Hieplar (Art Director). The original font was drawn by hand and refined on a PDP-8 minicomputer. The font was widely in use for desktop publishing by the mid 1980’s.4
The font is believed to have influenced many typeface designs including the General Electric ‘GE Inspira’. Although Volkswagen phased out the use of VAG Rounded during the 1990's it is still widely used today and is under license from Adobe Systems.5
VAG Rounded is also arguably influencing a current style of logos in modern Web Design with a soft and friendly appearance.6 The font has been in use as a keyboard typeface by the Apple Inc. company since 1999 for their range of notebook computers. 7
An example of VAG Rounded8
1. VAG Rounded Black, itcfonts.com , 04/11/2008
2. VAG Rounded Std., Adobe.com , 04/11/2008
3. Kirsanov, [02/1998], sans serif history, webreference , 04/11/2008
4. [17/08/2008], VAG Rounded, en.wikipedia.org , 04/11/2008
5. VAG Rounded, absoluteastronomy.com , 04/11/2008
6. Coles [07/03/2006], The Logos of Web 2.0, fontfeed.com, 04/11/2008
7. [17/08/2008], VAG Rounded, en.wikipedia.org , 04/11/208
8. [17/08/2008], Image: VAG Sample.gif en.wikipedia.org, 04/11/208
9. GE Inspira, absoluteastronomy.com, 04/11/2008