Back Story: When Le Tripode, publishers for the French cartoonist Boll, needed a typeface for his 2014 novel The Case is in the Paper Bag, they tapped graphic designer Sandrine Nugue to do the job. They describe the humorous thriller as “a book aimed at fans of Eduardo Mendoza and followers of Monty Python, where language overflows and logic borders on the absurd while the absurd becomes logical.” As such, Nugue says she developed the book’s typeface made to withstand the worst, while still saying everything with refinement and eloquence. Injurial is a sharp, elegant font made specifically for expressing the many insults found in the pages of the novel.
Why’s it called Injurial? The name comes from the French word injure, which means insult.
What are its distinguishing characteristics? Injurial is an incise, or glyphic, serif. This all-cap display font’s proportions are based on monumental Roman capitals and feature lightweight characters with very slight contrast. Its tall, slightly condensed letterforms and precise, beautiful numerals combine nearly round counters with varying character widths and sharp angles for an elegant, dignified appearance.
There is also something reminiscent of cuneiform—the earliest written letterforms developed by the Sumerians around 3,500 BC—in Injurial’s weighty, wedge-shaped terminals that transition gracefully into the strokes. Oddly enough, the Sumerians were also big on putting one another down, and many of their insults refer to an individual’s improper activities or bad behavior, such as nibulung (pompous), ninggu (glutton), and lunamtagga (sinner). Other favorite insults in Sumerian are agaashgi (most awkward person) and sangdu nutuku (idiot), the latter of which literally means “not having a head.” So besides providing designers with a subtle way to match letterforms to insults for maximum content/type harmony, Injurial keeps an ancient tradition alive.
What should I use it for? Swearing like the seafaring Sumerians. Or any titling opportunities where you need to subtly disrespect the material. Kidding! It’s far more versatile than that, applicable in any design situation where something elegant and pointed is required (think: “classy, with an edge”).
What other typefaces do you like to pair it with? Injurial’s tall characters pair well with the wide, low contrast serif letterforms of Andersen and Kelvin as text partners. For a sans-serif text option, take a look at Salmanazar, whose jaunty yet restrained letters lend some playfulness to the mix, or the modernist geometric forms of Shape.