2016 Sign Contest

Welcome to Nevada Sign Contest Rules

The Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, under the direction of Governor Brian Sandoval’s office and in collaboration with the Department of Education and the Department of Transportation, is initiating a contest for student designers to create new “Welcome to Nevada” signs. The contest is designed to showcase high school graphic design students and their instructors through creating exciting and appealing signs.

At present, travelers entering Nevada from the major freeways, state highways and other entry points are greeted with non-descript signs that do not incorporate imagery and verbiage consistent with the New Nevada through branding, graphics or language. To achieve brand consistency, participants will be provided with a brand tool kit to ensure essential elements are included in each proposed design. Ensuring travelers are greeted with an appealing welcome will help boost the Nevada brand and create a warm welcome for travelers and residents returning home.

Engaging young Nevadans enrolled in Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs focusing on Graphic Design in creating the design for the welcome signs provides a tremendous opportunity to showcase the CTE program, highlight the creativity of these young people and jump start careers. This contest is targeted to the advanced graphic design students enrolled in programs that offer a multi-course sequence. Graphic designers understand the unique requirements of the signage platform to provide information through simple, bold images that convey information to an audience who must digest a message within one to five seconds.

Up to 50 entry points exist on Nevada’s major interstate freeways, state highways and small roadways into the state. Because of the tremendous diversity of Nevada’s regions, the signs should depict the specific appeals of the entry region. The state is divided into four regions (please see the associated map) and a winner will be selected for each region. We will have select four different, but cohesive, sign designs. This means multiple winners, creating greater opportunities for recognizing the student designers.

Once the winning design is selected for each region, the student designer and his/her instructor will work with the Department of Transportation to finalize the design and produce the sign. The winning designs will be installed on Nevada’s roadways beginning in the summer of 2016.

Download the Official Design Contest Entry Kit here

Contest Eligibility
The contest is open to Nevada high school students currently enrolled in Level 2 or higher courses in CTE graphic design programs. At each school’s discretion, the contest may be open to any student enrolled in grades 9 – 12. To ensure proper vetting, all designs must be submitted through the school’s CTE program instructors and a selection committee comprised of teachers familiar with the elements of design.

Brand Adherence
Because the entry signs are an important component of the state’s identity, the designs must be guided by elements of the brand. Entrants are required to use specific components provided in the tool kit provided with these instructions.

  • Verbiage: Welcome to Nevada
  • State Brand: Nevada: A World Within. A State Apart icon – specific font and graphic treatment requirements provided
  • Website: TravelNevada.com

How these elements are used on the sign and the general imagery is up to the designer. TravelNevada and its partners have posted a plethora of images on Flikr. Should designers want to pull from these images, they can be found at https://www.flickr.com/photos/travelnevada/albums​.

Sign Dimensions
The signs, as required by the Department of Transportation, come in two sizes: the larger one is 144” X 96”; the smaller one is 72” X 48”. All designs must be suitable for use on signage of that size. If desired, designers may stipulate the size for which the design is most appropriate.

Design Evaluation
Student designers should incorporate the specific natural, cultural and/or industrial resources of the particular region into the sign design. Designs will be selected based on the best use of the region’s resources coupled with the readability of the sign and incorporation of the brand elements.

Once the winning designs are determined, the artists may need to modify the design to ensure all signs present a cohesive look and feel for the state. Designers will work with the Department of Tourism and Department of Transportation to develop the final design.

School Contest Management and Oversight
We welcome participation of all CTE programs with Level 2 or higher graphic arts programs located within the state of Nevada. Schools that wish to extend participation to a broader audience may elect to open this to all students. This is at the discretion of each school, and is the school’s responsibility to manage the number and viability of entries. Participation and contest oversight will be simple. Schools need to remember a few contest parameters and important dates and must commit to following the rules and timeframe (as noted below) for the contest.

  1. Because of the specific nature of the design required for these signs, the contest is open to CTE graphic design students, however, should the school want to open the contest to its entire student body and manage the number of entries that come as a result that is at the school’s discretion.
  2. To help ensure the designs provided to the selection committee are of the highest quality possible, designs will be submitted to an internal selection team at each school, vetted and then the winning designs from each school will be sent to the statewide selection committee and then voted on by the public.
  3. Each school’s internal selection committee must be comprised of teachers capable of determining the best design for a sign and the graphic elements that convey the imagery of Nevada as well as proper use of the branding elements. As a general rule, the selection committee should number between three and five, avoiding an even number and a tie vote.

Contest Timeframe – please make special note of these deadlines

  • February 29, 2016 – Contest is announced to statewide educators
  • March 1–5, 2016 Contest information is distributed within the schools to CTE classes or school-wide depending on the preference of each school. 
  • March 25, 2016  Design submission deadline to submit designs to the schools for internal review.
  • April 4, 2016 Top five (up to five, at the school’s discretion) designs from each school submitted to TravelNevada:

Nevada Welcome Sign Contest 
Nevada Division of Tourism
401 N. Carson St.
Carson City, NV 89701

  • April 6–15, 2016 Designs reviewed by the selection committee, top three designs chosen.
  • April 18-22, 2016 Designs voted on by the general public through posting on TravelNevada.com.
  • April 25, 2016 Winning designs announced.
  • April 27–May 20, 2016 Signs produced by the Department of Transportation.
  • May 24-25, 2016 Signs installed at key locations. Remainder of the signs will be installed throughout the summer.
  • May 26, 2016 New signs unveiled with press conference.

Selection of Winners
The process for evaluation will include review and preliminary selection by the schools, review by professional designers, sign composition experts and the public.

All student designs will be vetted through each school prior to submitting the top designs to the review committee. Each school can submit up to five designs, but may submit any number under five. These may be from the same student or from five different students.

Once the school has submitted the designs, they will be reviewed by a selection committee comprised of members of the Nevada Departments of Tourism and Transportation, graphic artist professionals and educators. The top three winning designs from each region will be voted on by the public.

The Nevada Entryway Sign Contest is open to high school (grades 9 – 12) full-time matriculated students currently enrolled in level 2 or higher courses in CTE graphic design programs, however, should the school want to open the contest to its entire student body and manage the number of entries that come as a result that is at the school’s discretion.
Each of the designs should include the official design contest entry form that includes the following details:

  • Date
  • Student’s full name, grade, address, e-mail and phone number (via the school)
  • Name of high school
  • Name, email and daytime telephone number of CTE graphic arts teacher submitting design
  • Region of the state for which the design is intended (1, 2, 3, 4 – as noted on the attached map)
  • Certification by teacher that the design is the student’s original work (as noted on the official entry form)
  • Designs submitted without a official entry form that do not include the above details will be disqualified.


Each design must fit on a single sheet of paper, however, the paper can be any size to best depict the design elements.  All entries must be sent via mail to ensure the print quality of the design retains the highest level of integrity. Submissions by fax, email or any other electronic means will not be considered.
Entries will not be returned. By entering the Contest, contestants agree to abide by these rules, and represent and warrant that the entries are their own and original creations, and do not violate or infringe the rights, including, without limitation, copyrights, trademark rights or rights of publicity/privacy, of any third party.
Entries are void if they are in whole or in part illegible, incomplete or damaged. No responsibility is assumed for late, lost, damaged, incomplete, illegible, postage due or misdirected mail entries.
Schools submitting entries should include one original and five (5) color copies of each design with one official entry form submitted for each entry.  Entries must be mailed to:

Nevada Welcome Sign Contest
Nevada Division of Tourism
401 N. Carson St.
Carson City, NV 89701

To be eligible, all entries must be postmarked by the participating schools by April 4, 2016. It is the responsibility of the school to verify receipt of the entries by contacting the Division of Tourism at 775-687-0621.


  • Winners will receive the opportunity to design and work with the Department of Transportation to produce the appropriate regional “Welcome to Nevada” signs – no cash award is available.
  • Neither the Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, the Department of Education nor the Department of Transportation nor any other State of Nevada agency are responsible for expenses incurred as part of the design contest.
  • Winners may be required to execute an Affidavit of Eligibility and Release. The affidavit must be returned within fourteen (14) days of notification or another winner will be selected. Because the winners will be under the age of 18, a parent/legal guardian also is required to sign the Affidavit.
  • By accepting the award as an official welcome sign designer, the winners and their parents and/or legal guardians grant to the Division of Tourism the right to edit, publish, copy, display and otherwise use their entries in connection with this Contest, and to further use their names, likenesses, and biographical information in advertising and promotional materials, without further compensation or permission, except where prohibited by law.
  • LIMITATION OF LIABILITY. By competing in this Contest and/or accepting the award, entrants release the State of Nevada, and any of its agencies from any and all liability for any loss harm, injuries, damages, cost or expenses arising out of or relating to participation in this Contest. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHALL THE RELEASED PARTIES BE LIABLE FOR INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, SPECIAL OR EXEMPLARY DAMAGES, ATTORNEYS’ FEES, OR ANY OTHER DAMAGES.
  • Any dispute arising from the contest will be determined according to the laws of the state of Nevada, without reference to its conflict of law principles, and by entering, the entrants consent to the personal jurisdiction of the state and federal courts located in Carson City and agree that such courts have exclusive jurisdiction over all such disputes.
  • The list of winners will be posted online at TravelNevada.com after April 25, 2016.
  • For a copy of the winners list, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope after April 25, 2016 to:

Nevada Welcome Sign Contest Winners List
Nevada Division of Tourism
401 N. Carson St.
Carson City, NV 89701

Please let Melissa Scott at the Department of Education or Dee Dykes at the Division of Tourism know if you have any concerns, ideas or questions regarding the purpose or logistics of this project. Each can be contacted via the following channels:

Melissa Scott at melissascott@doe.nv.gov or by phone at 702-486-6625
Dee Dykes at ddykes@travelnevada.com or by phone at 775-687-0621

Thank you for your help with enhancing Nevada’s image and creating opportunities for the state’s young creative artists through the “Welcome to Nevada” sign contest.


Sign Dimensions
The signs, as required by the Department of Transportation, come in two sizes: the larger one is 144” X 96”; the smaller one is 72” X 48”. All designs must be suitable for use on signage of that size. If desired, designers may stipulate the size for which the design is most appropriate.



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