Alias Vertical is a sans serif typeface with a vertical cut-off point for letter endings.
The vertical cut-offs bend round characters (b, c, o, etc) into a squarish, high-shouldered shape, suggesting Roger Excoffon’s Antique Olive. In mid-weights, the typeface mixes Antique Olive with typefaces such as Gill or Johnston, for example the shape of the t, the l borrowing Johnston’s flick. Vertical has the same minimal difference in weight between verticals and horizontals as Gill and Johnston, and the same sharp connection point where curves meet straight lines. Like Antique Olive, Vertical has a narrow connection point here, adding contrast and definition. The overall effect feels austere at lighter weights and strident and graphic at bolder weights, and sharp and incised throughout.
In the Bold and Black weights, the squarish and top heavy shape of Antique Olive is most noticeable. For example the wide uppercase, with the B having almost-even width between top and bottom curves, and the almost-overhang of the top curve of the G. But Vertical does not have as extreme an aesthetic or square shape as Antique Olive.
As well as its wide design, the upper case is given extra authority by being a slightly heavier weight than the lower case. This is a device borrowed from Gill, and other ‘old’ typefaces, where the upper case is presented as a titling design. Modern sensibilities are more focussed on an even colour between upper and lower case.
Vertical was originally intended as a sister typeface to Ano, like AnoAngular or AnoStencil. Vertical developed into a similar but separate design. Ano was designed for use in Another Man — in its modular, circle-base design, and the way there aren’t the amendments usually made in bolder weights to ensure letter clarity. This is for layouts where different weights are used together in different sizes so that the overall letter weight is the same, a feature of the magazine. Where Ano is simple and graphic, Vertical has nuance and texture. It is a pragmatic, utility design. In the balance between graphic and typographic, its focus is the latter.