What a year.
2020 was an unusual and challenging year in the history of the ClearMarks. Everyone’s focus was on creating new plain language materials to meet pressing needs—and, in turn, to celebrate those materials and their important impact on their audiences – we opened a separate COVID-19 category.
We reviewed materials that spoke to the urgent questions of employees, customers, patients, parents, among others. The pandemic distilled the need for plain language communication and audience empathy in moments of crisis.
We received entries that used plain language to:
- help people learn about adoption
- make healthy meal plans
- prepare for pregnancy
- keep healthcare coverage
- understand their legal options following sexual assault
- and many other vital tasks
10 years recognizing excellent work
Last year we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the ClearMarks. Since 2010, the Center for Plain Language’s ClearMark Awards have recognized excellence in plain language communications. And for the first time – we named the ClearMark Grand Winner and category winners and the Access for All Virtual Conference held in October. The conference highlighted the ways that the international plain language community used clear communications to affect the outcome of the health crisis COVID-19.
Our judges are professors, lawyers, translators, researchers, government employees, and communications professionals from all over the world. While most ClearMark judges are US- and Canada-based, we also have volunteers from Belgium, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
2020 Category Winner Spotlight
Scroll through the images below and hear what our judges said about the entries. And don’t forget to spotlight your work with a 2021 ClearMark Award.
About the Author – Casey Mank is the Co-Founder of Bold Type, a communications training firm. She designs and leads professional development workshops that help people write more clearly and effectively at work. Casey has also taught in composition classrooms and university writing centers for over 10 years, and currently teaches writing to graduate students at Georgetown University’s School of Nursing and Health Studies and McDonough School of Business. Casey joined the Center’s board in May 2020 after volunteering as a judge for the Federal Report Card and ClearMark Awards. This year, she has served as the head judge for the ClearMarks and helped to create a new award category to recognize excellence in plain language COVID-19 communications.