Organizations use poster competitions to alert the public to their aims and create promotional materials. By establishing a contest and offering prizes to participants, you can increase awareness of your organization's goals. While your poster competition can take any format you choose, following a common assortment of general rules for a poster making competition can help the process run smoothly.
Choose a Deadline
Organizations holding poster contests often begin by setting a deadline for entries —after all, you have to end the contest at some point or you'd never be able to award a prize. When selecting a date, consider the purpose for the poster creation. For example, an ecological organization might want posters for an Earth Day celebration, so they could set an early April date to receive submissions and conduct the judging prior to the event.
Select an Age Range
Poster making contest mechanics generally require setting age parameters so children don't end up pitted against adults. In some instances, contest planners create several age ranges and judge posters in each range separately, to ensure that older creators do not have an unfair advantage over their younger counterparts. For example, kids seven and under could compete against one another, then kids 8-13 could make up the next age group, with the final age range incorporating all participants over 14.
Restrictions on Residency
Some contests accept entries from across the country or even the world, while others restrict participation to individuals who live in a certain geographical area. You can set your location criteria for poster making based on the mission you hope to accomplish. For example, a state governmental organization might consider poster submissions only from individuals living in the state in question.
Create a Contest Theme
Poster contest organizers almost always set a theme for the contest. This helps poster creators plan their designs around an appropriate topic. By setting a theme, organizations encourage submissions appropriate to an event or that mesh with the organization's goals and efforts. Also, it can make judging the contest easier as it could be difficult for judges to choose between good posters based on two dramatically different themes. For example, a Red Cross contest without a theme could leave judges to decide between a poster encouraging people to donate blood and a poster instructing people on what to do during an earthquake.
Poster Size Limitations
In most instances, poster contests ask creators to work within specific size parameters. In some cases, the limitation may specify exact dimensions, such as 11 x 17. Organizations intending to use all of the submitted posters at one event may want to set a specific size to make it easier to display all entries as a group.
Criteria for Poster Making
Poster contest regulations often dictate the appropriate materials. In some cases, artwork must be freehand, while other contests accept computer-generated designs. Participants may be given a list of allowable tools, such as paint, markers or other artistic media. This regulation can result in posters that blend well and appear to belong to the same collection.
Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, Trails.com and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.