One year after Sans Forgetica – a typeface that could help people remember more of what they read - was released into the world, the RMIT trio behind the project reflect on the wild ride that ensued.

RMIT’s Stephen Banham, Dr Janneke Blijlevens and Dr Jo Peryman worked together to develop, design and test the font, which inspired 

, received global media attention and connected them with academic peers and the public from around the world.

It also claimed the top award in Communication Design and the Patron’s Australian Design Award at the 61st annual Good Design Awards.

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.

Despite working in different fields, the trio agreed the font highlighted the power of academics to engage with everyone through hooking into a fascination and conversation around memory, recall, design and psychology.

They also agreed Sans Forgetica was still in its infancy. They are working on papers for publication in scientific and design journals, as well as following up on opportunities to test it in different settings.

Senior Lecturer Marketing (Experimental Methods & Design Thinking) and Behavioural Business Lab chair Dr Janneke Blijlevens said Sans Forgetica had ignited a “fire within” to focus on work that benefited society and was meaningful to people.

“Being a bit of a nerd, I was humbled to read a comment from Daniel Oppenheimer about the font where he not only acknowledges how Sans Forgetica adheres to sound scientific principles, but also advances his work,” she said.

“What was also really special was people of all walks of life, from all around the world, emailing to relay their personal stories on reading, memory, and their use of Sans Forgetica.

“Some of the enthusiasm translated into fashion students wanting to use the desirable difficulty principle in their start-up logo design and a YouTube music video!”

Since the font’s launch, Blijlevens has begun collaborations with education researchers, secondary schools and clinical psychologists to further the work. The Behavioural Business Lab has also signed an agreement with Icon Agency to inform evidence-based social change interventions with its insights and methods. 

School of Design lecturer and renowned typographer Stephen Banham said the importance of design in addressing memory and information recall was highlighted when the project was recognised at the Good Design Awards.

“There are not many projects across 30 years that come up in casual conversation with people outside my field, but Sans Forgetica certainly managed to do that. It hooked into a collective interest, and even concern, around memory and recall,” Banham said

“An academic colleague described a phone conversation with a friend in America, who was in a bar where the TV was blaring out the Sans Forgetica story and was asked if he knew the people behind it.

“It shows how small the world can be with such an extraordinary reach.”

Behavioural economics lecturer Dr Jo Peryman said the group was excited to see where Sans Forgetica went next.

“As the font was designed to help students prepare for their exams, I think our next challenge is to test Sans Forgetica in the classroom,” she said.

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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