Never Forgetica: This font bends over backwards to boost memory
Hard-to-read fonts help with memory, according to research, and this font type builds on that
A font that promises to aid the memory with its unusual design could prove to be a secret weapon for students studying for their exams.
Sans Forgetica, developed by researchers in Australia, uses a backwards slanting design with unusual white spaces to make it more difficult to read.
Adding minor obstructions to learning processes, such as cutouts from the normal letter shapes, slows down the reading pace and can result in “deeper cognitive processing and improved memory retention”. This adds a level of “desirable difficulty” that engages the reader’s brain and encourages deeper learning, the researchers claim
RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, worked with 400 students to develop the new typeface. It found students remembered on average 57% of a section of text written in Sans Forgetica, compared to 50% in Arial.
With regular type fonts “readers often glance over them and no memory trace is created”, said Dr Janneke Blijlevens, senior lecturer in experimental methods at RMIT’s Behavioural Business Lab. “Sans Forgetica lies at a sweet spot where just enough obstruction has been added to create that memory retention.”
The project combined typography design and psychology from the university’s behavioural lab. The font has been made available for its students to download and use for cramming.
Previous studies have suggested hard-to-read fonts can boost pupils’ exam results.
A 2013 study at Bristol’s Clifton College also suggested cursive fonts, such as Monotype Corsiva, could improve retention even in pupils who struggled with reading, including some with dyslexia.
– © The Daily Telegraph