• Diversity x Design poster contest for Bay Area high school students
  • Winning posters will be displayed at the Academy and online
    Winning posters will be displayed at the Academy and on the Academy website.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (April 13, 2021) — From April 7, 2021 – September 7, 2021, high school students throughout the Bay Area are invited to design and submit posters celebrating diversity in science for the inaugural Diversity x Design (pronounced “diversity by design”) Poster Contest organized by the California Academy of Sciences’ in-house design department in collaboration with Inneract Project. Winning posters and honorable mentions will be displayed at the Academy and online, and the artists behind them will receive additional prizes.

Design is all around us—in both the natural and built environment. The Academy’s in-house team of designers, the Creative Studio, knows first-hand how powerful graphics can be in sharing and shaping ideas. “Design is critical to our ability to connect with people on important issues such as biodiversity loss and environmental justice,” says the Academy’s Creative Director Rhonda Rubinstein. “We hope this contest inspires students to think of design as an exciting way to change the world and maybe even a future career path.”

Posters will be judged by a panel of esteemed Bay Area creative designers including: Angie Wang, Creative Director at Design is Play; Anu Murthy, designer at Code for America; Bosco Hernández, Design Director at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA); Mitzi Okou, designer at Spotify; and illustrator and graphic journalist Wendy MacNaughton. To help spark their creativity, students can register for free online design workshops led by the judges and Academy staff or check out an array of design tips and tricks.

See below for more information on the contest including prizes, how to submit, poster themes, and design judging criteria.


There will be one winner for each of the 5 poster themes and one honorable mention for each of the 5 design judging criteria. Winning posters and honorable mentions will be displayed at the Academy and on our website. Winners will receive a large print of their poster, a $100 gift card, and a one-year Academy family membership. Honorable mentions will receive a large print of their poster and 4 tickets to the Academy.


Submissions are free and will be accepted online from April 7, 2021 – September 7, 2021. Entrants must be Bay Area high school students (living or attending school in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, or Sonoma county) and have permission from their parent/guardian to participate.

Full contest rules are available here.

Poster Themes:

Submitted posters should celebrate diversity in science and focus on one of five themes:

  1. The Beauty of Diversity: Show your awe of science and the natural world (which includes humans).
  2. My Favorite Academy Exhibit: Feature your favorite exhibit at the Academy—existing or imagined by you.
  3. Including Me in Science: Share a personal story related to science, or the journey or inspiration of a science hero.
  4. Envisioning a Bright Future: Create a positive vision of life in the next decade for your adult self.
  5. Science Call-to-Action: Advocate for environmental justice or any other science or nature-based movement about which you are passionate.

Design Judging Criteria:

Judges will be considering these five design criteria:

  1. Typography: How well does the poster use lettering to convey the message?
  2. Imagery: How well does the poster use imagery to convey the message?
  3. Composition and Layout: How well does the poster use composition and layout to convey the message?
  4. Messaging: How well does the poster inspire thinking, tell a story, or spark emotion? How well does the poster answer the prompt?
  5. Originality: How well does the poster show a unique perspective or express an idea creatively?
About the California Academy of Sciences

The California Academy of Sciences is a renowned scientific and educational institution dedicated to exploring, explaining, and sustaining life. Based in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, it is home to a world-class aquarium, planetarium, and natural history museum, as well as innovative programs in scientific research and education—all under one living roof. When opened, our hours are 9:30 am - 5:00 pm Monday - Saturday, and 11:00 am - 5:00 pm on Sunday. Admission includes all exhibits, programs, and shows. For reopening information and daily ticket prices, please visit www.calacademy.org or call (415) 379-8000 for more information.

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