This article is written in a font, or typeface, that is meant to be easy to read, but if we really wanted you to remember everything, we might want to switch to "Sans Forgetica." The new font, invented by a team from Australia's RMIT University, is based on design and psychological principles of memory and retention. But how is it possible for a font to help you remember?
It might seem counterintuitive, but Sans Forgetica was created with the intent of being somewhat difficult to read, including leaving gaps within the letters. According to typography lecturer Stephen Banham, there's method to the madness. "The mind will naturally seek to complete those shapes and so by doing that it slows the reading and triggers memory," he said. The font came out of a study that employed approximately 400 students. They ended up recalling 7 percent more of the text they read in Sans Forgetica than in Arial. Janneke Blijleven, a senior marketing lecturer, said the font creates a good "memory trace," which makes it ideal for studying but not for long reads. A novel written in Sans Forgetica "would probably produce a headache," Banham said.
Facts about fonts:
- Steve Jobs built many early computer fonts and named them after cities he loved, including Toronto, Chicago, Geneva, and Venice.
- Vincent Connare created the much-maligned Comic Sans, but only used it once, to send a complaint about his broadband service.
- To compare fonts, many people type the word "Handgloves."