When one item is made distinct from the other items in a list, memory for the distinctive item is improved, a finding known as the isolation or von Restorff effect (after von Restorff, 1933). Although demonstrated numerous times with younger adults and children, this effect has not been found with older adults (Cimbalo & Brink, 1982). In contrast to the earlier study, we obtained a significant von Restorff effect for both younger and older adults using a physical manipulation of font colour. The effect size for older adults was smaller than that obtained for younger adults, confirming a prediction of Naveh-Benjamin's (2000) associative deficit hypothesis, which attributes age-related differences in memory performance to older adults' reduced ability to form associations. The findings are consistent with related research in which older adults demonstrate similar--but smaller--benefits for distinctive information to those for younger adults.