October 5, 2018 report
A font that helps you remember what you read—Sans Forgetica
A team of researchers at Australia's Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology has come up with a new type font called Sans Forgetica. Its purpose is to help readers remember what has been written using it. The team behind the new font, which was developed with help from creative agency Naked, has spoken with the press about the font and created a web page where people can download the font. They claim it is the first font ever developed that helps people remember what they have read.
The idea for the font came about as part of an effort to boost memory retention for students studying material for their coursework. The research team combined the expertise of behavioral scientists with design specialists to develop a font that is reasonably pleasing to the eye while inducing retention improvement. They came up with a slew of fonts that they thought might help with memory retention. They then tested them using 400 students as volunteers—Sans Forgetica came out on top.
The idea behind the new font was to create a slightly more difficult reading experience, forcing the reader to absorb each word as they stare at it. It is based on a cognitive psychology concept called "desirable difficulty" that improves deep cognitive processing by adding a degree of difficulty to a task, which is needed, apparently, for better memory retention. To that end, the team made the font slant the opposite direction of normal italics in text, and also removed sections of each letter. It is also sans serif. The result is a font that is definitely harder on the eyes, if not the brain. It also slows reading, which may not suit students engaging in all-night cram sessions the night before finals.
The team behind the font claims it could have many uses besides cramming for exams—they suggest it could also be used by anybody who needs to remember things like appointments or dates. All they need to do is visit the RMIT website and download it.
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