Poster Competition

Print version

<< Your Care Your Say

Engagement range


Difficulty level

Medium to Hard


Low (up to $1000)

When you might use

  • To communicate an issue

  • To discover community issues

  • To showcase product, plan, policy

Number of people to organise

One to three

Audience numbers

Large (over 30)


Medium (six weeks to six months) to long (six to 12 months) 


Staffing; Publicity; Judges/prizes; Venue for display

Innovation level

Low to Medium



Poster competitions raise awareness of issues and participation programs. Posters provide visual, colourful, simple ways to communicate community issues and events, and are suitable for display in community spaces. Poster competitions that display children’s work can reflect the attitudes of much of the community as children between certain ages tend to reflect their parents’ ideas. Poster competitions can generate publicity and provide information (see Interactive Displays).



To engage the community’s interest in an issue, reveal community issues, and raise awareness of an issue in a way that is visual, inclusive and fun.


Desired outcome

A visual display of current states of community knowledge of an issue, community expectations and visions, and provides an opportunity to answer questions about that issue.



  • Provides basic information about a process, project or document in a fast, concise and clear way.
  • Can allow easy updates on an issue/process/project.
  • Can create publicity for an issue/event.
  • If the poster competition is displayed in public spaces, they can provide easy ways for people to get information.
  • Provides easier ways to absorb information for those more comfortable with pictures than words (and those from other cultures who speak languages other than the dominant language).
  • Can be humorous, interesting, colourful and may include cartoons and diagrams.
  • Provides an informal gauge of community attitudes to issues.
  • Creates interesting graphic material for the project.
  • Can lead to greater participation.
  • Generates ideas.
  • Excellent for children’s participation.
  • Can encourage people to seek more information.

Special considerations/weaknesses

  • May need descriptions to explain the concept portrayed on the posters.
  • Where posters are developed by school children or members of the public, may not cover all aspects of an issue/process/project (may need some knowledgeable staff to accompany a display of the works to answer questions).
  • May need continual staffing to watch display to avoid vandalism and explain the display (see above).
  • Competitions can cause ill will if the judging is considered to be unfair.

Step by step guide

  1. Determine issues/aspect for poster competition and the community groups to be asked to participate. Encourage participation from all ages and community groups.
  2. Set timeframe for poster competition (one month), size of posters, media, due date and where they are to be delivered. Specify how many words for any captions/ explanations.
  3. Advertise competition, with details of where, when and how to deliver the posters, and how they will be judged, and where the finalists will be displayed.
  4. Select an appropriate local personality/politician to announce the winners.
  5. Sort posters and determine which are suitable for display. Advise contributors whose posters have been selected for display and where they can be seen.
  6. Invite the media to the judging, and announce winners.
  7. Provide options for visitors to the poster display to make comments/provide feedback.
  8. Prepare a report on the issues raised in the posters and the feedback, and forward this to relevant authorities.

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