Council a finalist in jargon-busting awards

30 October 2015

A Wellington City Council emergency preparedness poster is a finalist in this year’s WriteMark Plain English Awards – an event that celebrates jargon-busting.

Emergency preparedness poster a finalist in Plain English Awards


The poster was designed to convey clear messaging and images for everyone including people with mobility impairments about what to do in an emergency, like alternatives to ‘drop, cover, and hold’ if they’re in a wheelchair.

Council’s Community Services team consulted with numerous organisations including Red Cross Refugee Services, Age Concern, Deaf Aotearoa and Arthritis New Zealand to get feedback to incorporate into the final design.

The Creative Services Manager Brenda Costeloe says it was a rewarding brief for the actual design of the poster.

“We always design with the customer in mind, we start with their needs, and the Community Services team identified that people with accessibility issues form an important part of this customer group,” says Brenda. “We used larger font sizes, less text plus pictogram images to explain what to do, also simplification and a clear hierarchy of written information to make this poster as accessible as possible.”

Acknowledgement for the poster is a bonus for the designers who concentrated on finding the right visual balance between text and images for effective messaging, according to Brenda.

“It went through several iterations and testing to make sure we had it right, it is good to see the work be recognised and valued by the public. The designer and illustrator did a great job collaborating with Community Services to get it right.”

An article about the poster was published in the June 2015 edition of the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management impact magazine, generating much interest in the resource from around the country from local authorities and government organisations.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on 19 November 2015 at Wellington’s City Gallery.