As part of his redesign of Fast Company, Florian Bachleda needed a condensed sans to complement the new general-purpose sans and slab families. Together, Florian and Christian Schwartz found a stripped down, flat-sided condensed sans in a German specimen book, with a distinctive ‘crotchless’ treatment for where the stems met the bowls in the lowercase. This family, called Vertikal and likely cut in the late 1920s, seemed to have some potential, but a quick digitization of a handful of characters showed that it was a little too dry and boring in layouts.
Florian and his design staff had come across the condensed styles of Paul Renner’s Plak, and asked if Christian and his design staff at Commercial Type might be able to synthesize a new condensed sans that had the distinctive traits of Vertikal, with no contrast and flat connections on the arches and bowls in characters like h m n r and a b d p q g; synthesized with the roundness and wandering uppercase crossbar heights of Plak. The Commercial Type designers figured out how to make this marriage of styles work, then expanded the family out to a full range of weights in three progressively narrower widths. In the heaviest weights, the family ended up with a taste of the future as predicted in the 1970s.
V1.0—Initial release version; 2014.05