2024 Vintage Poster Contest

The State of the Rockies project invites students to submit a digital image of a vintage-style poster of a national park, monument, or forest in the 8-state Rocky Mountain region that includes a contemporary conservation message, or "motto." The direction each student goes is only bound by the topics covered in the poll that deal with the conservation of public lands.


The Federal Art Act of 1937, among other things, helped promote the visitation of residents and international tourists to a newly created National Parks system.  In recent years, the number of visitors and parks visited has increased substantially causing public lands officials to consider how best to manage these lands with the increased visitation.  Today, the message to visitors and outdoor recreationists would be different if we were to create new promotional posters for visiting our national lands.

The State of the Rockies Conservation in the West Poll surveys people in the 8-state Rocky Mountain Region about their attitudes toward public land conservation and other current environmental, social, and political issues we face living in the West.  The poll consistently demonstrates a growing desire to protect our nationally designated public spaces.


1st Place Winner



by Sam Daley '25

Alberta Falls

With forest fires, rising temperatures and dropping water levels facing Westerns, 92% of respondents believe that drought is a serious issue. In Colorado, 86% of respondents believe that loss of natural habitat is a serious problem. The lowering of the Colorado River is often the spotlight of these concerns, however, other rivers deserve attention as well. Alberta Falls is a Rocky Mountain National Park phenomenon, is fed from Glacier Creek and is home to the native Colorado cutthroat trout. Aptly named, Glacier Creek is fed from the shrinking snow fields in the mountains, leading to a slow loss of habitat for the native endangered cutthroat trout. I chose Alberta Falls as its popularity for hikers can be used as a platform to recognize the importance of preserving our glaciers and mountain streams. As the mountains grow drier, the tributaries of major rivers shrink vital habitats as well, like Alberta Falls.

Judges' Comments:

  • Strong design and bold color palette
  • Thoughtful composition to achieve a vintage-feel 
  • Clear message about important issue



2nd Place Winner


Black Canyon, Gunnison National Park, Colorado

by Holden Perry '25

Flow Forward

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, with its striking landscapes and the mighty Gunnison River, serves as a testament to the delicate balance of nature. My decision to choose this location is based on its role as a microcosm of the broader dynamic between the interconnected ecosystems and residents of the Southwest's region. The results of the 2023 Conservation in the West Poll indicated that water supplies in the west are in a serious crisis, with rivers such as the Colorado and Gunnison viewed more at risk than ever before. The motto "Flow Forward: Conserve, Cultivate, and Cherish Water Supplies" encapsulates the urgency to address the environmental challenges highlighted by the poll results, while also promoting a positive call to action metaphorically tied back to the park.

Judges' comments:

  • Striking with beautiful imagery
  • Features typefaces reminiscent of vintage posters
  • Well-balanced in composition and color
  • Impactful slogan that is approachable to a wide audience. 





3rd Place Winner


Glacier National Park, MT

by Ben Curry '25


The stunning Glacier National Park in Montana is the homelands to the Blackfeet, Salish, Pend d'Oreille, and Kootenai tribes. However, Glacier National Park is melting at two times the global average rate, due to anthropogenic warming (NPS 2020). Throughout the 2023 Conservation in the West Poll, participants in all states demonstrated that drought and water availability is a point of stress, with 56% of voters in Montana agreeing that drought is a serious problem. Glacier National Park is the headwaters for three major North American watersheds: Hudson Bay, Atlantic, and Pacific. Quality and quantity of the headwaters has immense impacts on downstream ecosystems and users. Anthropogenic warming has increased glacial melt rate, sparked wildfires and reduced average precipitation in the park, significantly altering natural flows. Climate mitigation efforts and increasing the efficiency of water use is key to protecting our nation's headwaters.

Judges' comments:

  • Creative and relevant typeface
  • Appealing color palette
  • Clear message and acknowledgment of indigeneity within the narrative


Tread on Trail

Arches Tread on Trails

by Grace Gassel '27

Arches National Park, Utah

Arches National Park is a desert biome. The native plants of the park depend on cryptobiotic soil to provide nutrients and moisture to survive in the harsh climate. Explorers of the park often encounter “crypto” alongside trails. When crypto is stepped on by a wandering hiker, the area is exposed to erosion, organisms dependent on photosynthesis are buried, and plants cannot access the resources stored within crypto they need to survive. Staying on trail is essential to plant and habitat conservation, the health of Arches National Park, and all other desert biomes in the Rockies. So “tread on trail” to “keep crypto soil safe!”

Judges Comments: This was a well-executed vintage poster with appealing typography and beautiful art!

Shape Our Shared Lands

Casa Grande

By Sam Nystrom Costales '25

Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, Arizona

"The aesthetics of public lands intertwines deeply with our nation’s settler-colonial legacy. Colonial encounters with nature are best expressed by Kant’s aesthetic sublime, which he calls “a capacity for judging ourselves as independent of nature and a superiority over nature." Panoramic viewpoints in national parks echo this perspective, offering privileged access to landscapes devoid of human influence. This narrative erases the violent history of indigenous dispossession essential for creating seemingly untouched landscapes. This ahistorical perception distances the park-goer from the socio-economic processes that cultivate the landscape materially and aesthetically across history. The retro posters are emblematic of this relationship, having been cultivated during the Great Depression to simulate a sense of collective unity. This new sublime, an essential American ethos, could be accessed through the consumption of National Parks as a series of object-images. Yet, these posters also reflect the potential for subversion within mass-consumption aesthetics; by depicting Casa Grande Ruins, I hope to underscore the constellation of pre-colonial histories, modern preservation efforts, and erosive forces that come together to form our aesthetic landscapes.”

Judges Comments: This was a beautiful poster centered around an important and thought-provoking question. 


Ellyn WalkerEllyn Walker is an interdisciplinary arts scholar and curator. Her work explores questions of representation and place-making in the arts as they pertain to distinct positional, cultural, and institutional contexts. Ellyn has studied at the University of Toronto, McGill, and OCAD University, and completed a PhD in Cultural Studies from Queen's University where her research focused on decolonial curatorial methodologies used in contemporary exhibition-making and museum practice in Canada and beyond. She is currently working on a co-edited anthology titled Curatorial Contestations: Critical Exhibition-Making Practices in Canada with Michelle Jacques that explores diverse curatorial pedagogies and projects from across the lands now known as Canada. Ellyn was the Acting Director/Curator of The Blackwood University art gallery from 2021–2022, where she was also cross-appointed as Assistant Professor in the Visual Studies program at the University of Toronto Mississauga. She is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Art at Colorado College.

Jillian SicoJillian Sico (she/her) is a papermaker, bookbinder, and letterpress printmaker who makes artists’ books under the imprint Frogsong Press. She received an MFA in Book Arts from The University of Alabama in 2020, where she focused on letterpress printing, papermaking, and fine bookbinding. She also received an MA in Environmental Anthropology from The University of Georgia in 2013 and a BA from St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD in 2005. Her process is informed and expanded through collaboration and research on culture and ecology. Her work has been exhibited nationally and is held in numerous special and private collections. Jillian currently manages The Press at Colorado College.

Kaitlin SteinfortKaitlin Steinfort, '22 (she/her) is a Colorado College alum and former poster printer at The Press at Colorado College. In the summer of 2019, she took a Book Arts and Letterpress course at The Press at Colorado College and worked alongside Aaron Cohick and other students in the press through her senior year. During her final year on campus, Kaitlin combined her passion for environmental protection and education and her love for creating art in the press to help design and create the posters used to advertise the first State of the Rockies poster contest in 2021/2022. Now as an alum, Kaitlin works in the habitat management field and continues to work on her own art in a variety of media, hoping to continue finding and creating ways to use art as a tool for environmental advocacy, protection, and education.

Sponsored by the State of the Rockies Project and supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.  For more information, EMAIL Cyndy Hines chines@coloradocollege.edu

CC letterpress students designed promotional posters for the 2024, 2023, and 2022 contests.  
The 2024 posters are by 
Hongli Zeng '24, Ren Coryell '24, Skye Eddy '25, Luana Cooper '26, and Katie Rowley '23.






1ST PLACE 700$     2ND PLACE $500     3RD PLACE $250


2021 mock up poster
EXAMPLE of 2021
Student VINTAGE poster
1930s poster

National Parks poster

In addition to the digital image, your submission must include an explanation of why or how your contemporary conservation motto is relevant to current conservation attitudes of residents in the 8-state Rocky Mountain West (highlighted in the Conservation in the West 2023 poll) and how or why your motto is relevant to the national park, monument, forest, you chose. Please submit a 150-word maximum justification for choosing the place you chose — explain to us why, how, and/or what conservation efforts are critical for the future of the public space your poster represents. This Bryce Canyon National Park poster is an example of a poster created during the Federal Art Project; the old vintage poster is now recreated as what students may come up with using their own imaginations and by exploring the survey results on public and national lands. Of course, this mock-up is more of a spoof; but witty text and images are welcome.

Please submit your entry to chines@coloradocollege.edu by MIDNIGHT on FEBRUARY 11, 2024. Use CC OneDrive to share large files. 

Winners announced February 15 at noon.


Contest Criteria

  • Efficacy of your conservation motto and justification as they relate to conservation concerns reported by recent Conservation in the West poll findings
  • Composition of poster
  • Creative use of the historical national park poster style
  • Use of color
  • Impact of message

COPYRIGHT rules:  

Colorado College reserves the right to use all student contest entries for academic and promotional purposes.  

Students may use their original artwork in any way they choose but may not include any Colorado College identifiers as part of their original work when selling or promoting their poster creations.

CC stringently adheres to these rules and guidelines of this contest.

File Specifications

  • Files must be saved as a JPEG/JPG or PNG.
  • Posters should be at least 11” x 17”, but can be larger. Choose a size that works for your composition.
  • Resolution of files should be 600 dpi (we need high-res files so that we can print them for display)

Need Help?

Contact Meghan Rubenstein (mrubenstein@coloradocollege.edu) in the Visual Resource Center!

Meghan and the student staff in the VRC are happy to have people come and learn Adobe on the computers in the VRC.

CC Rolls Vintage Press: Students Help Launch Vintage West Poster Contest

Colorado College students run campus letterpress producing vintage-style posters to help promote the college's State of the Rockies Conservation in the West student vintage poster contest.

Story and video by Eric Ingram, '23.


CC State of the Rockies Vintage Poster Contest: What Makes a Good Poster?

CC vintage press printmakers share their ideas on what a winning poster should include. Learn what to include in your vintage poster contest submission.

Story and video by Eric Ingram, '23.

Report an issue - Last updated: 02/19/2024