Great media coverage last week of Sans Forgetica, the new font developed by RMIT staff in typography (Stephen Banham from the School of Design) and the Behavioural Business Lab (Jo Peryman and Janneke Blijlevens).
The font is the first typeface specifically designed to help people retain more information and remember more of typed study notes. 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. Sans Forgetica has varying degrees of ‘distinctiveness’ (the gaps and left slant) built in that subvert many of the design principles normally associated with conventional typography. 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.
Laboratory and online experiments with 400 students tested a range of fonts to determine which led to the best memory retention. Sans Forgetica broke just enough design principles without becoming too illegible and aided memory retention.
It’s available for free.
Richard Johnson, whose own research is on memory and learning with our partner schools, was first out of the blocks to connect with the Sans Forgetica designers!
Hear Stephen talk about the development of Sans Forgetica here.