Balanced and sexy: Superior Type’s Restart Hard and Soft add new flavour to the neo-grotesque genre
“We wanted the font to look balanced and sexy at the same time,” reveals Founder & Type Designer Vojtech Ríha about Superior Type’s sans serif release, Restart. For quite some time, Ríha, who founded the Prague-based foundry in 2013, wanted to create a neo-grotesque typeface to add to both add to the arsenal of eclectic typefaces that live in his foundry, and also explore the possibilities of its drawing and construction.
“We have a large range of typefaces that work great as display or headline fonts, and now we want to focus more on fonts for more versatile use,” he notes. The result of this creative exploration is Restart – and its two variants, simply named Hard and Soft – that holds all the potential of a flexible, dynamic workhorse.
“Restart has evenly distributed shading, so it feels more balanced than the original grotesques,” notes Ríha, quickly adding, “what this means is that some older grotesques, such as Helvetica, have a fairly significant difference in thickness between horizontal and vertical strokes, especially in bolder styles. With Restart, we tried to eliminate this ratio as much as possible.”
The two variants were developed “purely for practical reasons, so that the designer can choose a sharper, unusual version or a more classic smooth one,” he adds. The difference between Hard and Soft is seen in the way the strokes connect to the stems. Restart Hard has a sharp connection and is more reminiscent of classic patterns, while Soft eliminates sharp edges, in favour of a smoother, more rounded drawing. Both have stylistic sets for square or circular diacritics, which lends them the desired sense of flexibility.
The typeface is also kitted out with several stylistic sets – with an alternative character for ‘a,’ as well as versions of ‘f, t, 4’ with a shortened vertical stroke and ‘&’ in a classic and modern style, amongst others – which provide a palette of options for a designer. “The main advantage is the alternative dots – in the base they are square, but in the stylistic set (ss10) they are round, both for accents and punctuation,” explains Ríha.
So now that the freshly-crafted typeface is out in the world, where would Superior Type most enjoy seeing it pop up? “Certainly in any new identity or rebranding where they no longer want Helvetica, Akzidenz Grotesk, or the crazier new neo-grotesques,” Ríha admits. It’s safe to say then, that for anyone looking for fresh new possibilities, Restart Hard and Soft has their back.