Sans Forgetica, a typeface that could help people remember more of what they read, has claimed the top award in Communication Design at the 61st annual Good Design Awards overnight.

Two of the team who worked to develop, design and test the font – RMIT’s Stephen Banham and Dr Janneke Blijlevens – were in Sydney to accept the prestigious Best in Class Accolade in the Communication Design category in recognition for outstanding design and innovation.

Sans Forgetica is believed to be the world’s first typeface specifically designed to help people retain information and remember more of typed study notes.

The font received global media coverage following its release in October, while the public embraced it in real life and on social media.

CEO of Good Design Australia Dr Brandon Gien said receiving an award this year was a significant achievement given the very high calibre of entries received.

The awards jury praised Sans Forgetica as “simply genius”.

“This is a brilliant example of research being analysed, translated and designed into a positive outcome,” it said.

“This project hits all the criteria by creating a useable font that is based on strong collaboration and psychological research.

“This work is truly a standout and usage of the typeface should be widely encouraged.”

School of Design lecturer and renowned typographer Banham said the team was thrilled to receive the prestigious award.

“Sans Forgetica was a great example of researchers and academics with different backgrounds working together to solve a problem,” he said.

“As a designer, it’s so satisfying to be able to offer a practical solution to that problem and, of course, see the font go on to have a life of its own.”

School of Design Dean Professor Laurene Vaughan said the award reinforced RMIT’s commitment to exploring interdisciplinary and innovative design that has real value for people

“RMIT has been part of the cultural fabric of Melbourne since 1887 and design is part of our DNA,” she said.

Senior Lecturer Marketing (Experimental Methods & Design Thinking) and Behavioural Business Lab chair Blijlevens said Sans Forgetica showcased real world impact and interdisciplinary collaboration.

“As an academic, it is a great acknowledgement to see the jury recognise that research is at the heart of Sans Forgetica,” she said.

“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 to promote deeper cognitive processing, leading to better memory retention.

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“Sans Forgetica lies at a sweet spot where just enough obstruction has been added to create that memory retention.”

Banham, Blijlevens and colleague Jo Peryman are working on papers for publication in scientific and design journals.

The trio collaborated with strategy and creative agency Naked Communications, now part of BMF, to create the Sans Forgetica concept and font.

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