The Crystal Mark standard

Documents must be as clear as possible if they are to gain the Crystal Mark. But as each document deals with a different subject for different readers, it is impossible to set a precise standard.

We do not expect a document about a complicated topic to be as easy to understand as one about a simple topic. But we do expect each document to be as clear as possible for its intended readers.

Things we look for include:

  • the use of ‘everyday’ English;
  • consistent and correct use of punctuation and grammar;
  • an average sentence length of 15 to 20 words;
  • plenty of ‘active’ rather than ‘passive’ verbs;
  • explanations of technical terms;
  • good use of lists;
  • words like ‘we’ and ‘you’ instead of ‘the Society’ or ‘the applicant’;
  • clear, helpful headings, which stand out from the text; and
  • a good typesize and a clear typeface.
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