Tag Archives: ClearMark

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

But forget “the parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting, and caroling out in the snow” because it’s time for ClearMark nominations!

Once again, the Center for Plain Language will honor the best of plain language in original documents, revised documents, websites, legal language, and multimedia. We’ve streamlined the process this year to make it even easier to enter.

View the nomination form »

But why should you nominate an entry for a ClearMark Award?

Here are 6 good reasons: (more…)

Posted in Awards, Plain Language Blog Articles | Tagged | Comments Off


ClearMark Awards Banquet 2012

Advocates of the Plain Writing Act prod federal agencies to keep it simple

Washington Post, April 8, 2012
Center for Plain Language chair Annetta Cheek spoke with reporter Lisa Rein about progress in implementing the Plain Writing Act.

“Federal agencies must report their progress this week in complying with the Plain Writing Act, a new decree that government officials communicate more conversationally with the public.

Speaking plainly, they ain’t there yet.


Posted in Listen & Watch, Plain Language Blog Articles, Plain Writing Laws | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Send us your plain language victories!

Submit a ClearMark award

Your clear communication could win a ClearMark award.

We know it’s not always easy to institutionalize plain language – navigating multiple contributors, priorities and layers of approval is a challenge. That’s why we want to hear about your plain language successes.

Have a publication, form, website or policy document you created using plain language principles? Nominate it for a ClearMark award!

Send us your plain language victories, and let us know about the positive impact of your work: improved response rate? lower costs? better compliance? reduced questions into your call center?

Let your clear communication be a model for other organizations!

Submit a ClearMark Award here. Nominations are open until March 3.

Posted in Awards | Tagged , | Comments Off


ClearMark Awards Banquet 2011

Plain writing award open for 2011

Federal News Radio (logo) - 1500 AMInterview with Annetta Cheek, January 27, 2011

Here is your chance to recognize the best and worst of writing in the federal government. The Center for Plain Language is gearing up for its annual ClearMark Awards competition. This year’s contest takes on new meaning because federal agencies are running under a new law, the Plain Writing Act, designed to make government documents easier to understand. Joining us with details on how you can get in on the contest is the board chair at the Center for Plain Language, Dr. Annetta Cheek.

Listen online or download MP3

Posted in Listen & Watch | Tagged | Comments Off

First WonderMark Award Submission: NY City Election Ballot


For Release: October 14, 2010
Contact: Sheri Singer

WonderMark Awards Note the Use of Unclear Language

Silver Spring, MD – With the November mid-term elections just a few days away, the Center for Plain Language has received its first WonderMark Award submission—the New York City 2010 ballot. The WonderMark Award is given to documents that contain very unclear, confusing language.

Election advocates, journalists and plain language experts have raised questions about the ballot’s challenging design and instructions.   Some are concerned that the confusing ballot might make it difficult for some voters to mark their ballots accurately. Even if it is a small problem, this could be significant in a close election.

“As we learned in the 2000 presidential election, if voters are confused about how to vote, the election might not reflect the true winning candidate,” said Whitney Quesenbery, a member of the Center’s Board of Directors. “The ballot has inaccurate instructions combined with a design that is just terrible. We know how to do this better.”

According to the Center, the layout of the ballot makes it hard to see which oval to mark because the one nearest a candidate’s name is often the wrong one. The design is messy, the print is too small, and the instructions are in the wrong place, and they are hard to see.

The WonderMark Awards are part of the Center’s ClearMark Awards to recognize good (ClearMark) and unclear (WonderMark) use of language in documents and websites in both the private and public sectors.

“Some language is so bad that it may cause harm which is the case with the New York City ballot,” said Annetta Cheek, PhD, Chair, Board of Directors, the Center for Plain Language.

Nominations for the 2011 ClearMark Awards close on January 21, 2011.  Anyone who has worked on, read, or knows of exceptionally clear or unclear language use in nonprofits/foundations/associations, government (federal, state, local), and corporate America is encouraged to submit an entry. Submissions may be submitted by the author, office or organization that originated the entry; or even a reader or a user.

Easy-to-fill-out nomination forms are at www.centerforplainlanguage.org/awards. Recipients will be announced at the second annual ClearMark Awards ceremony in April 28, 2011 at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C.

#   #   #

About the Center for Plain Language

The Center for Plain Language is a D.C.-based Center is a nonprofit organization that wants government and business documents to be clear and understandable. The Center supports those who use plain language, trains those who should use plain language, and urges people to demand plain language in all the documents they receive, read, and use.

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

We’re Everywhere, We’re Everywhere!

The past two weeks have been filled with news about the Center for Plain Language. The Wall Street Journal mentioned the Center or our ClearMark Awards in two articles:

1. JULY 6, 2010 Universal Precautions: A Model for Health Literacy? By Laura Landro

A Healthwise interactive conversation on low back pain recently won an national award from the Center for Plain Language, a nonprofit that advocates the use of clear communication by businesses and government bodies. (more…)

Posted in Healthcare, News | Tagged , , | Comments Off

The Center for Plain Language Goes Viral

The Center for Plain Language has now hit the big time. I’m sure most of you interested in plain language know by now that our awards’ banquet was a smashing success (details below). What you may not know is that we have gone viral. After the ceremony, we were mentioned in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, at least three dozen blogs, hundreds of Twitters, and on and on and on. We are so happy about all the publicity both for the Center and, frankly, for the “cause” — getting government and business to take seriously consumer and citizen needs for plain language. So, I’m going to give you the details of the awards below assuming there might be a few people left who haven’t heard. But the most important thing to know is that people are learning more about who we are, what we do, and what we stand for. That’s the best award of all! (more…)

Posted in Awards | Tagged | Comments Off


ClearMark Awards Banquet 2010