Sans Forgetica - A font that helps you better recall what you read


Researchers have created a new type font, called Sans Forgetica, to help people remember more of what they read.

Sans Forgetica is believed to be the world's first typeface specifically designed to help people retain more information and remember more of typed notes, said researchers from RMIT University in Australia. "This cross pollination of thinking has led to the creation of a new font that is fundamentally different from all other fonts," said Stephen Banham, a lecturer at RMIT.

"We believe this is the first time that specific principles of design theory have been combined with specific principles of psychology theory in order to create a font," said Jo Peryman from RMIT. The font was developed using a learning principle called 'desirable difficulty', where an obstruction is added to the learning process that requires us to put in just enough effort, leading to better memory retention to promote deeper cognitive processing.

Researchers said typical fonts were very familiar and readers often glance over them and no memory trace is created. However, if a font is too different, the brain cannot process it and the information is not retained, they said.

"Sans Forgetica lies at a sweet spot where just enough obstruction has been added to create that memory retention," said Janneke Blijlevens from RMIT. Sans Forgetica has varying degrees of 'distinctiveness' built in that subvert many of the design principles normally associated with conventional typography, researchers said.

These degrees of distinctiveness cause readers to dwell longer on each word, giving the brain more time to engage in deeper cognitive processing, to enhance information retention, they said. About 400 university students participated in a laboratory and an online experiment, where fonts with a range of obstructions were tested to determine which led to the best memory retention. Sans Forgetica broke just enough design principles without becoming too illegible and aided memory retention, researchers said.

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