Plain English Awards

celebrate New Zealand's clearest communicators

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Calling all champions — it's time to enter the Plain English Awards (Image by Nick Youngson (CC BY-SA 3.0))

You definitely don’t want to miss out! Now’s the time to enter the 2017 Plain English Awards. Because who wouldn’t want to be in the running at these prestigious awards?

There’s no need to be shy about entering. Are you worried your content might not be plain enough? That’s a very good sign, because it shows that you care enough to be concerned. You care enough to want to do the best for your reader. You care about clear communication. It shows that you’re a perfectionist — and perfectionists like you are the closet champions we’re looking for.

If you truly care, enter your own or somebody else’s content in this year’s Plain English Awards. The Awards honour those who write plain English.

10 facts about New Zealand’s Plain English Awards

  1. Entries close in 3 weeks, on 31 August 2017.
  2. Most people don’t think they are good enough to enter — so seize the advantage!
  3. No entry has ever been perfect — perfection is not possible.
  4. The judges are impressed by effort, and delighted by every clear document.
  5. The only documents publicly criticised are those in the Brainstrain Award.
  6. You can enter a document, a website — or just a single sentence.
  7. You can enter other people’s work in the People’s Choice category.
  8. The premier prize is worth $5,000.
  9. The Awards have been running for 12 years.
  10. The awards are a not-for-profit event hosted by the WriteMark Plain English Awards Trust.

Enter the Awards here

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Who's the clearest of them all?


The Awards celebrated 10 years in 2015. The time seemed right for a fresh new look.

Craig Christensen of Graphic Solutions was keen to help. Craig is a great advocate of clear communication in words and visuals. And he designed the popular theme ‘Who’s the clearest of them all?’ for some of our earlier Awards.

‘Who’s the clearest of them all?’ successfully captured the essence of what the Awards are about. ‘We thought it was time to bring that theme back, but with a new twist’, says Craig. So now those words sit in a speech bubble against a background of editing symbols. The idea is to convey the idea of working hard to create the best and most effective communication.


The simple sentence as a graphic

The gold Awards icon is a simple graphic representation of a sentence. It was inspired by the emergence of icon-based visual language in digital media. The best known of these icons is the ‘hamburger menu’ icon, widely used on mobile websites to show where the navigation menu is kept.

Using gold for the icon signifies the prestige associated with the Awards and helps to bridge the gap between the old and new brands. Adding a deep electric blue to the colour palette adds vibrancy while complementing the gold of the original brand.

We’ve used some good old Kiwi phrases as language-based, companion imagery on the website, conveying the idea of fun Kiwi straightforwardness.


A new era for the Plain English Awards
This bold new identity represents the refreshed face of the Plain English Awards. We hope it’s going to become a very visible and recognisable brand and that it will help to further raise awareness of plain English in New Zealand.

Thanks to The Wright Family Foundation for kindly sponsoring the new website.

Posted In: Awards brand, Communications

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