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EMAC 2020 Annual Conference

Sans Forgetica: Innovation for the consumption of educational materials

Published: May 27, 2020


Janneke Blijlevens, RMIT University; Joanne Laban-Peryman, RMIT University; Stephen Banham, RMIT University


Memory; Typeface; Desirable difficulty


We facilitate consumption of written material with a new typeface that helps consumers remember written text. The ‘desirable difficulty’ principle suggests that an obstruction to the learning process increases memory retention through deeper processing. An optimal level of typeface difficulty (not too easy or difficult) leads to highest memory retention of written text. We tested consumers’ memory recall of word pairs presented in three newly designed typefaces that increase in perceptual difficulty. We find a quadratic relationship between three new typefaces and memory, with typeface 2, coined Sans Forgetica, scoring highest. In experiment 2, we find content of text emphasized in Sans Forgetica leads to higher memory retention in a multiple choice quiz than for text presented in plain Arial, and that this effect seems mediated by desirable difficulty. Sans Forgetica can be used to facilitate the consumption of written material.


We would like to thank Naked Communications for funding this research