Bulletin boards provide a community, school or organization with a public space to celebrate community spirit and post notices, announcements and other information important to the group's members. These boards appear in conferences, meeting halls, offices, hallways and other common areas. A bulletin board contest helps bulletin board creators to refine and sharpen the manner and aesthetic appeal by which they present information.
A good bulletin board conveys information creatively. Creativity in a bulletin board contest can include the artful arrangement of messages, the color scheme that organizes or creates a background for the messages and the amount of "fun" in the presentation. "Fun" is what draws the eye of the viewer and encourages engagement. Board designers can create a sense of fun through the use of pictures, cartoons and different eye-catching fonts and font sizes. Judges can also measure creativity by the overall aesthetic appeal of a board's shape.
Bulletin boards can quickly degenerate into chaotic hodgepodges of overlapping and scattered messages, post-it notes and banners. Contest judges can evaluate entries by how well each presents and organizes information. A well-organized bulletin board will present information cleanly. This criterion does not prohibit messages and posts from overlapping, but encourages overlaps or cross-postings that clarify or draw attention to the importance of earlier messages. Judges can balance the cleanliness of the informational layout against other important qualities, including creativity.
Schools, organizations and corporations can use bulletin boards to generate a sense of community and a shared sense of spirit or commitment to that community. Contest organizers can encourage this function of a bulletin board by judging entries based on the "spirit" shown. Indicators of community or school spirit can include a thoughtfully placed mascot or logo or a phrase, motto or quotation that relates to and unifies the organization and its members. An entry also celebrates a community's spirit by using a school or corporation's colors.
A bulletin board contest that requires certain information or content can assess entries based on how well each fulfills this requirement. If a contest centers on a specific theme, such as "cancer awareness," judges can evaluate entries based on how well each adheres to the theme. The bulletin board of an organization designed to promote cancer awareness should include information on doctor visits, warning signs and symptoms and prevention. Information can also relate to the specific goals of an organization. The Louisiana Teenage Librarians Association held a contest mandating that each entry conform to a specific theme and also relate to the organization's goals of promoting reading and libraries.