A research team at Australia's Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) has designed a new font to help people remember what they have read. Sans Forgetica was created by a multidisciplinary team of behavioural scientists and graphic designers to deliver a typeface that improves knowledge retention yet is pleasing to the eye. RMIT has made a website dedicated to its new font where it is free to download.
After a glance at the character set above you might well conclude that the font isn’t that easy to read. However, that quality is by design and essential to how it ‘works’. As the RMIT researchers explain, Sans Forgetica was “designed using the principles of cognitive psychology to help you to better remember your study notes”.
Sans Forgetica presents an optimised level of difficulty in reading that “prompts your brain to engage in deeper processing.” This is called “desirable difficulty”. In testing with a group of 400 students, and various difficult-to-quickly-read typefaces, Sans Forgetica was born as the sweet spot between speed of comprehension and retention. Conversely “when a piece of information is too easily and cleanly read, it can fail to engage our brains in the kind of deeper cognitive processing necessary for effective retention and recall.”
RMIT is generously providing Sans Forgetica as a free download which is compatible with PC and Mac, or any other platform that can use OpenType fonts. There is also a Chrome extension available so that you can convert any on-screen text to Sans Forgetica so web content is better to study and remember. Finally, the team ask you to sign up for updates. They promise to keep you updated on other study hacks, and perhaps they will continue to refine Sans Forgetica for better results.