The font was developed using a learning principle called ‘desirable difficulty’, where an obstruction is added to the learning process to promote deeper cognitive processing which results in better memory retention.

RMIT says this is the first time specific principles of design theory have been combined with specific principles of psychology theory in order to create a font.

“Readers often glance over fonts 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,” says Dr Janneke Blijlevens, founding member of the RMIT Behavioural Business Lab.

The design of Sans Forgetica has just enough obstruction added to create sufficient memory retention. The font 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, to enhance information retention.

During the development phase, several fonts were tested with hundreds of students in the Behavioural Business Laboratory and online experiments. The font that became Sans Forgetica demonstrated that it most effectively helped people retain information.

“Year 12 students studying for exams have a lot on their plate, so we wanted to find a way to be useful and give them something to actually help their study. We investigated ways to aid memory and uncovered previous research which gave us our starting point. From there we were able to work with RMIT to develop, refine and test what became Sans Forgetica. It’s a lovely blend of art meeting science; of theory meeting practice,” says Jon Burden, Executive Creative Director, Naked Communications.

Lynda Cavalera, Associate Director, Brand, Segments and Campaigns at RMIT University says, “This project allows us to bring RMIT to life in a vivid and tangible way. We’ve created a genuinely unique tool that any student can use to help them with their studies, and we’ve done it by bringing together people within the university to put theory into practice. We believe that Sans Forgetica can have a range of applications, but for now, we hope that year 12 students and current RMIT students find it useful while studying for their exams.”

Sans Forgetica is available free for download as a font or as a Chrome browser extension. Watch the films and download the font at sansforgetica.rmit

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