Governments were very quick to use posters as a medium to disseminate information. Starting off with war propaganda posters, other government campaigns too found posters useful in spreading messages, providing instruction, lifting morale, and giving advice. These posters were usually sited in government buildings within areas that received heavy client traffic but the more propagandistic information was posted in public spaces.

Some of the earliest Ceylon Government posters were those utilized in the Malaria Eradication Campaign. Designed in Great Britain they were used throughout the colonies in affected areas. The use of DDT made a severe dent on malarial transmission in Sri Lanka but what role the posters played in suppressing the disease has not been recorded. Owing to the rural audience for anti-malarial messages and lower levels of literacy, graphics-rich posters were the medium of choice in carrying anti-malaria information. Apart from the ubiquitous political propaganda posters that sprang up every time there was an election, various government departments used posters to make the public aware of their services. Poster Competitions were a popular tradition in Ceylon that got local artists involved in designing posters. C.K.L. Samarasinha, Reggie Candappa, G.S. Fernando, and Victor de Mel were some of the artists whose reputations were built by winning these poster competitions. Some of the best known Ceylon posters were the result of such competitions.