Monday morning. You’re hungover, cup of the darkest coffee on Earth on your hand, frantically going over your study notes an hour before that final exam you can’t afford to underperform. Who’s going to help you?
Well, science might have come up with just the perfect miracle.
A multidisciplinary team of behavioural scientists and designers from RMIT University in Melbourne has created a font specifically designed to enhance memory retention.
Branded as “The font to remember”, this new font called Sans Forgetica was created using principles of cognitive psychology to create an effect known as “desirable difficulty”, in which minor obstructions to learning processes cause the brain to engage in deeper cognitive performance.
The development team explains that typical fonts like Times New Roman and Arial are very familiar and leave very little to no memory trace. Completely unique and experimental fonts have the same cognitive effect, so their task was to create a font that hit the middle ground.
Familiar, yet different, Sans Forgetica hits the sweet spot, breaking just enough perceptual rules to enforce memory trace.
The team designed three versions of the font for testing purposes, each one progressively breaking more design principles. They had more than 100 students come over to the lab to participate in memory tests, and what we have is the highest scoring prototype.
This new font features two key design elements that question the typical “holistic” approach to font design. One is the unusual back slanting of the typeface, and the other the evident gaps in each letter.
We usually read type by their outline, rather than letter by letter. Sans Forgetica forces your brain to fill in the spaces, slowing down the reading process and increase memory retention.
The font is available for free and you can also download a Chrome extension from the font’s official website.