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The science of type: Sans Forgetica is probably the world’s ultimate study hack


ans Forgetica is believed to be the world’s first new typeface specifically designed to help students recall information. It was developed by combining psychological theory and design principles to improve retention of written information" notes RMIT lecturer and renowned typographer Stephen Banham who worked with RMIT’s Behavioural Business Lab to test and refine a number of typeface designs for this groundbreaking project to create a typeface with optimal desirable difficulty for memory recall.

"The downloadable font is scientifically designed to help you remember your study notes" notes the campaign of the font designed using the principles of cognitive psychology to the youth of Australia.

Created by a multidisciplinary team of designers and behavioural scientists from RMIT University Sans Forgetica is compatible with both PC and Mac operating systems.

More difficult to read than most typefaces – and that’s by design "the 'desirable difficulty' you experience when reading information formatted in Sans Forgetica prompts your brain to engage in deeper processing".

"The font was developed using a learning principle called desirable difficulty, where an obstruction is added to the learning process that requires us to put in just enough effort, leading to better memory retention to promote deeper cognitive processing. Sans Forgetica has varying degrees of ‘distinctiveness’ built in that subvert many of the design principles normally associated with conventional typography. These degrees of distinctiveness cause readers to dwell longer on each word, giving the brain more time to engage in deeper cognitive processing, thus enhancing retention of that information" notes Banham on his blog.

"About 400 Australian university students participated in a laboratory and an online experiment conducted by RMIT’s Behavioural Business Lab where fonts exhibiting a spectrum of obstructions were tested to determine which font led to the best memory retention. Sans Forgetica broke just enough design principles without becoming too illegible. The research proved it aids memory retention".

"As Dr Janneke Blijlevens, Senior Lecturer Marketing (Experimental Methods & Design Thinking), and founding member of the RMIT Behavioural Business Lab remarked “Typical fonts are very familiar, so readers often glance over them and no memory trace is created. However, if a font is too different, the brain can’t process it and the information is not retained. Sans Forgetica lies at a sweet spot where just enough obstruction has been added to create that memory retention" he adds.

The font is available free for download at