Plain English Book Mark

For printed and online publications (usually books and manuals)

Your book could carry the accreditation of a ‘Plain English Book Mark’. This accreditation tells the reader that the book’s clarity has been independently assessed by an expert.

The Book Mark is our seal of approval for publications that are not suitable for our Crystal Mark. These publications include non-fiction books, training manuals or published reference materials that are either printed or available online.

When we assess these materials, our editors carry out checks which are similar to those we do for the Crystal Mark. However, we don’t expect the copy to be written to Crystal Mark standard.

We are looking for clear layout and design, and language that is appropriate for the intended audience.

We will review the publication and discuss the assessment with you. We will also suggest changes you could make to qualify for the accreditation.

There is a charge for the assessment, review and accreditation. The charge will depend on the size of the publication. We can give you an accurate estimate if you can provide a final draft, but the full accreditation could be available from just £500 + VAT.

Final drafts or reprints which meet the assessment criteria can display the ‘Book Mark’ logo until any updates or changes are made. At this stage, you would need to make a new application.

What we assess

We look at:

  • the text;
  • the design and print quality; and
  • the usefulness to the intended audience.

The text

For example, we look at the following.

  • Sentence length
  • Paragraph construction
  • Grammar and punctuation
  • Nominalisations and passive verbs
  • The suitability of the text for the intended audience

The design

For example, we look at the following.

  • Typesize and typeface
  • Size of headings and subheadings – is there a clear hierarchy?
  • Use of headings – do they run into each other across articles or pages?
  • Use of white space
  • Does the design make it easy to read?
  • Overprinting
  • Use of reversed-out text
  • Pagination – does it make sense?
  • Print quality

Usefulness

  • What is the purpose of the book and does it achieve its aim?
  • Is the tone appropriate for the readership?
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