Sorry, This Font Does Nothing for Your Memory

Image Credit: Luis Alvarez/DigitalVision/GettyImages

Good memory can feel like a superpower, especially when it seems like you need it most. We're all trying to juggle notes to self, notifications, and reminders — or if you're really fancy, a paper planner. Surely if you could give yourself any kind of edge at all, you'd take it, right?

A while ago, there was a big fuss about a font that might help you do just that. It's called Sans Forgetica, and ironically, it's full of holes. Typographers in Australia suggested that introducing "a little bit of an obstruction" might cause readers to focus more on the content, since deciphering the text comes with some added steps and neural loads. You can still download it for free, but only if you want: Psychologists in the U.K. and New Zealand have kiboshed the notion.

Study coauthor Kimberley Wade puts it succinctly: "After conducting four peer-reviewed experiments into Sans Forgetica and comparing it to Arial, we can confidently say that Sans Forgetica promotes a feeling of disfluency," a neural disruption that includes stuttering, "but does not boost memory like it is claimed to."

It's a neat gimmick, but if you're really looking to boost your memory, your best bets might be a lot simpler. If you're looking for any "brain hacks," following your nose might help, particularly to coffee and roses. Learning to play an instrument also has positive effects on your brain. But mostly, be sure you're getting enough sleep and keeping to a regular routine. It's a boring answer, but it's a lot more reliable.