Relative Pressure field

In 2016 National centre for contemporary arts “Arsenal” started “Graphic Practices” — a course curated by Eugene Strelkov. It was about a history, main technics and mediums of the contemporary art. For a final exhibition, every student made a project on graphics or visual arts. 

“Flow” is a research of typefaces through the lens of the aerodynamics. The main hypothesis is: there are some other resistance forces, besides obstacles of the perception. So, i supposed, that a good typeface readability can be achieved with aerodynamics laws and shape analysis.

For this experiment, I introduced a term the reading flow. An eye movement through the letters, words and symbols across the visual resistance forces — this is the reading flow.
“I got it. A car with a splitter, a wing, canards and diffusers — is a serif font. Now I can design car parts proceeding from typefaces” — a translation of the top quote on the spread. The colour of words shows the relative pressure of the relevant parts
I chose eight fonts and nineteen [Cyrillic] letters for the analysis. By comparing these control letters, I figured out the “drag” of the whole font. There are 8 × 19 = 152 computations to discover all of the data to compare.
I picked the most feature letters, which designate a font the best. These letters have a very dynamic and unsettled shape:​​​​​​​ А, Б, Г, Д, Ж, Ф, Я, а, б, у, ф.

Also, I added Ё, ё, Й — to see the confuser and diffuser sections.

The last letters are the “control group”: Г, г; Н, н and О, о — are typical bodies for aerodynamic computations.
Analysis procedure

1. Choose an initial solid body.
2. Put it into a computational domain.
3. Mesh the solid body and the domain into cells.
4. Set the physical conditions.
5. Set the goals of the research.
6. Start the computation.
7. Obtain results
Almost the whole book is a result of computations.

I screwed up with a physics model, so absolute numbers are incorrect. But they could work as relative.

So, i’m looking for a fluid dynamicist to update results. And for the next project also.
The right picture:

Top header
Coefficient of drag for ё in this and other fonts. Dimensionless
Bottom header
Frontal area, mm²
I invite you to find the fonts with the most and the least coefficient of drag:
Top header
An averaged coefficient of drag for each font. Dimensionless

Bottom header
An averaged frontal area for each font, mm²
Calculated aerodynamic properties: the coefficient of drag and the frontal area:
A cover shows the relative pressure field of the reading flow. The speed of the flow is 5.3 cm/s — this is my reading speed. Values are in millipascals [mPa]
You can read it in Russian via PDF (30 mb)

192 × 250 mm
Bio Top 3 Next, 120 g/m²

Wremena by Roman Gornitsky     Montserrat by Julieta Ulanovsky

Printed in “ATEM” in Nizhny Novgorod
Traced over NDF photo
user's avatar
Maxim Gryaznov


Flow is a research of typefaces through the lens of the aerodynamics. The main hypothesis is: there are some other resistance forces, besides ob Read More