An informal competition

In honor of the new year, I’m going to try something different. We’ve seen a few billboards over the years whose goal is to promote atheism in some way. Some have been good, some have been meh, and a few have been counterproductive (in many people’s eyes, at least). We need more good ones.

So here’s my idea. Let’s have an informal contest to design a good billboard promoting atheism and/or skepticism. To enter, grab your favorite graphics program, put together a mockup whose proportions match a standard billboard size (but reduced to monitor-friendly pixel dimensions of course), and then put it up on Flickr or deviant art or some other online picture service and send me the link. Then at the end of January, 2013, I’ll nominate the 5 submissions I like best and put it up for a vote. It’s just for fun, and unfortunately I can’t promise any cash prize or anything, but maybe if we get some good designs, some individual or organization might pick one and make a real billboard out of it.

Official rules below the fold. [Addendum: in rule 3, clarified that entrants are responsible for securing their own licensing, permissions and releases for any materials and/or persons appearing in their entries.]

Here are the rules (or guidelines, if you prefer).

  1. The preferred theme for this contest is “Atheists and skeptics are good without gods.” If you have a compelling message that does not follow this theme, you can submit it, but preference will be given to entries that follow the theme.
  2. Family-friendly, please. I want to promote the concept of atheism as a mainstream culture, not a shock culture.
  3. All work must be your own. You are free to use public-domain and/or appropriately-licensed materials in your billboard, but you can’t just submit a photograph of someone else’s billboard. You will be solely responsible for obtaining any licensing, releases and permissions needed for any materials or persons appearing in your billboard.
  4. Billboard dimensions should fit comfortably on a 1280 x 900 monitor screen, and should be proportioned to match standard billboard proportions, i.e. 1:2, 1:3, or 1:4.
  5. Brevity is the soul of wit: a billboard that can get its message across with only 5 words is way ahead of one that’s too long for a passing motorist to finish reading.
  6. Submissions must be posted on a public picture-hosting web site and not submitted directly to me. Post your entry and then email me the link ONLY.
  7. All copyrights to your image will remain with you; to enter the contest, you must grant me a perpetual royalty-free license to display your image on my web site so that I can let people see what they’re voting on and so I can display the winner. I will not use your image on any other site or for any other purpose without your permission.
  8. To enter, send an email containing:
    • The URL of your image
    • The name or nickname you want your image to be listed under.
    • Any comments (250 words or less) you’d like to have displayed with your image on the contest entry page.
    • The following license agreement:

      I grant to you, Deacon Duncan, permission to display my billboard contest entry on your web site in connection with your January 2013 billboard contest: you may display my entry on your voting page, and on the winner’s page, should it be one of the winners.

      If you wish, you may also add “All other rights remain with me,” and/or a copyright notice, which I will display beneath your entry.

  9. Entries must be received by midnight, Eastern time (US), on January 20. Voting will take place the week of January 21st through January 28th, and the winners will be announced January 31st.
  10. I reserve the right to disqualify any entry, for any reason, at my discretion. I doubt I’ll need to exercise this right, but I’m reserving it anyway, just in case.

Have fun. If anyone wants to post work-in-progress links, feel free to do so in the comments.


  1. StevoR, fallible human being says

    The words Good God with a red strikethrough across the second word?

    Good God

    It occurs to me that ethics can all be boiled down to a simple statement that one should try to be considerate and kind to other people and the environment around you – can’t it?

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