266 Donlands, Toronto
ON, M4J 5B1
Tel: (416) 425-2666 / Fax: (416) 425-0682

Getting started

The goal of Clear Language and Design is to produce text that communicates clearly and easily. There are two main areas to consider: the design or "look" of the text, and the actual language itself. Clear language is something you can practise as you speak - it means saying what you mean as clearly and simply as you can. Clear design is something you can practise when you look at signs, brochures, advertising, anything written or printed. Look and listen critically: was it said as simply as it could be? What made it hard to understand?

Understanding the principles of Clear Language and Design is important for people who work in the adult literacy field: this includes volunteer practitioners as well as paid staff. Clear Language and Design can be used to select or create student curriculum, as well as to print informational brochures and flyers.

The first step in writing is to decide who will be reading what you write. Who you write for will influence every decision you make about style and layout. What may be fine for an advanced reader may completely block a beginning reader, whether that be vocabulary or type style. For instance, very basic readers will need a lot of white space, but more advanced readers can handle densely packed text.

adapted from St. Christopher's House website

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Copyright 2003 East York Learning Experience