By Prarthana Mitra
Scientists have recently designed and developed a font that makes remembering notes easier, for times when memorising exam notes, grocery lists or presentation cues test even the best of us. Sans Forgetica can reportedly help students and professionals remember things that they should not forget.
Developed by a multi-disciplinary team of designers and behavioural scientists at RMIT University, Australia, the font deploys the principles of cognitive psychology, which students use while studying.
How exactly does a font help you remember things?
Unlike most fonts, Sans Forgetica uses the philosophy of desirable difficulty to coax the reader into spending more time on each word, which gives the brain greater time to register and process the written text on a deeper level.
In terms of design, the font consists of a back slant, which is harder to read than vertical or italics. Additionally, there are gaps within the actual letterform itself. As readers try to fill in the gaps in their mind while reading, it actually slows reading down, explained typographer Stephen Banham.
Text formatted in Sans Forgetica, which works on both Windows and iOS interface, is not easy to skim through or make sense. This deterred readability demands you to spend a little more time on the typeface, which is an important aspect of memorising things.
The memory-recall aspects of the font were tested on about 400 university students, which returned a 57% success rate, while only 50% of the those who read the same text in common Arial font retained it.
Meet the minds behind this discovery
Talking about the first testing of Sans Forgetica, RMIT lecturer and lead researcher Banham said the most effective typefaces were those that offered “retention and uniqueness while still being very legible.”
According to media reports, he developed the typeface at RMIT’s Behavioural Business Lab where he tested and refined a number of typeface designs until he was able to optimise it with desirable difficulty to improve retention.
“Sans Forgetica is the result of deep collaboration between the principles of design and psychology. This project illustrates some very interesting things among which is the direct application of theory into everyday practice. It is a rare fusion of research from different fields and is not just a typeface,” he said in a press statement.
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius.
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