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VAG Rundschrift or VAG Rounded (Rundschrift is German for round writing) is a geometric sans-serif typeface designed in 1979 by Sedley Place as a corporate typographic voice for the Volkswagen AG motor manufacturer. It features rounded termini on all strokes. Volkswagen ended its use of the VAG Rundschrift family in the early 1990s.
As of 2007, VAG can be seen on T-Mobile USA literature. Apple Inc. has been utilizing the typeface on the keyboards of their line of notebook computers since 1999, with the release of the first-generation iBook, and on their desktop keyboards since August 2007. Australian retailer Big W has changed their logo (previously in Helvetica Neue) to light blue VAG Rounded.
The typeface was used for the Volkswagen and Audi Dealer Organization, and for all non-car related activities of Volkswagen, such as the V.A.G Bank and V.A.G Leasing. The typeface was conceived in a general overhaul of Volkswagen's corporate identity.
In 1964, Volkswagen AG bought Auto Union GmbH from Daimler Benz. The main brand of Auto Union was Audi. In the early 1970's, the dealer organizations of Volkswagen and Audi merged. In the following years, Volkswagen AG re-thought their future strategy. They envisioned buying several car companies to round out their offerings. They also envisioned selling a multitude of brands under giant dealer roofs. The new dealer organization, financial services, and all other non-car related activities were to come under one branded umbrella. Eventually, Volkswagen intended to use this umbrella as the name of their holding company: General Motors in reverse.
GGK Düsseldorf, was tasked with the branding concept. Finding a distinct typeface was an integral part. Volkswagen at the time had Futura as their typeface. Audi at the time used Times. The new typeface should not be sans serif as the Futura, and it should not be serif as the Times. A rounded typeface did not exist at the time, it had to be developed. The original idea was conceived by Wolf Rogosky (creative director) and Gerd Hiepler (art director). Over several years, the identity concept was refined by Bertel Schmitt (creative director) and Manfred Schwarzer (art director). The original typeface was rendered by hand. It was then perfected on a PDP-8 minicomputer.
The meaning of V.A.G was never officially disclosed. Theories ranged from "Volkswagen AG" (although the official name of the company during this time was "Volkswagenwerk AG") to "Volkswagen Audi Group." At Volkswagen, insiders joked that V.A.G means Von Adolf Gegründet ("Founded by Adolf"). Bertel Schmitt revealed that the V.A.G name was intentionally ambiguous to avoid rewriting dealer contracts as a legal consequence of the holding company's name change.
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