Typeface Review


Reviewed by Marina Chaccur on July 5, 2017

In Portuguese, Mala means suitcase, and although this Mala has nothing to do with suitcases, I find the name very appropriate for Barbara Bigosińska’s lovely typeface inspired by cartography. What began as her final Type and Media project in 2013 blossomed into thirty-two styles that ultimately found a home at Bold Monday.

The beautiful combination of widths and weights in this family is striking. When juxtaposed in a layout, they work in perfect harmony. Just the right amount of contrast exists between regular, condensed, and extended. They are incredibly versatile, yet they retain a strong personality.

In all sizes, the letterforms feel extremely comfortable. The counterforms are as generous as they can be. Details are even more charming in larger point sizes. The sets of decorative swash capitals are dazzling. Curves and movements are generally fluid and ample. I prefer the lighter weights, because even though the curves are still smooth, in the darker weights, the capitals seem a bit less elegant than their lighter counterparts.

A map set in Mala looks very contemporary, yet remains clearly rooted in tradition — a modern traveler with an eye for history. I would say it is the perfect invitation to embark on a journey. And how enjoyable this one is!

Currently based in The Hague, Marina Chaccur holds an MA in Graphic Design from the London College of Communication (LCC), and an MA in Type and Media from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague (KABK). She works for Type Network, teaches at KABK, and runs her studio, Marina Chaccur Designs.

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  1. […] Barbara Bigosińska’s second published text family (her first, also from 2016, is the impressive Mala), and clearly cements her as a type designer to watch. Thanks to Fontstand, Abelard and I hung out […]

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