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Mafra comes in two optical sizes, one primarily for text, and a more tightly-spaced, upped-contrast Display for largers sizes. Having both gives the typographer a lot of flexibility when working in editorial or other settings that require a wide range in personality and in capability to meet size requirements. While its tone calms considerably when reduced to text sizes, up close it’s full of wiry exuberance. The italics depart from more traditional compact models with wider, more generously fit, and (in my estimation) more color-consistent forms. Nitti Grotesk’s strong physique pairs well with Mafra by offering both an obvious contrast, but also a subtle similarity visible in its delightfully playful joins and curves. The face comes in seven weights, complete with italics. Nitti Grotesk has an extensive related family of monospaced variants, which through an odd turn of typographic events, preceded the release of the proportionally-spaced family by five years (it’s usually the other way around). Together, the two bring a fresh, contemporary feel to the designs they help create.
One feature I found while testing the faces was Mafra’s ability to create encapsulated or cameo figures inside circles. The black circles above are made by enclosing a number inside parentheses and activating OpenType contextual alternates. For solid figures within an outlined circle, enclose with square brackets.
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