HBCU Student’s Graphic Designs Featured In Both Target, JC Penney For Black History Month
When Florida A&M University student Kah’Milah Ledgester entered her first two design competitions, her determination landed her a nationwide opportunity.
Ledgester, a senior graphic design student, took a chance and submitted designs for Target’s 2021 HBCU design contest and JCPenney’s Young, Gifted, and Black design challenge.
Her designs triumphed. During spring 2021, Ledgester was notified that her creations would be featured on T-shirts in stores across the country during Black History Month of 2022.
FAMU senior graphic design student Kah’Milah Ledgester recently appeared in a @Target commercial showcasing her work for their 2022 Black History Collection! Way to strike from the top, Kah’Milah! Check out the commercial below! #famu #rattlers #blackbeyondmea sure pic.twitter.com/q2k7HukC3F
— FAMU School of Journalism & Graphic Communication (@FAMUSJGC82) November 26, 2021
“I always get a little excited because of the fact that I did the Target challenge, and I also did JCPenney and won both of them. It made me feel very good because I took a chance,” Ledgester of Adel, Georgia, told the Tallahassee Democrat.
One of the HBCU student’s award-winning designs includes a “fruitful” woman with an abundance of interwoven green leaves and citrus fruits in her afro.
Inspired by Nina Simone’s rendition of “Strange Fruit,” Ledgester intended not only to show the vibrancy of Black women with fruit but to also highlight the “best thing we are able to do as Black women, and that is take that pain and make something out of it.”
Customers can find the T-shirt design in Target kiosks alongside other Black History Month-focused creations. It is also available online at Target.com.
“There are so many reasons why her artwork stood out,” said Tawnya Artisst, director of Multicultural Product Design and Advancement at Target, as per Tallahassee Democrat. “Her illustration was beautiful, and it was so unique. Her color use was joyful, and there was a clear story that engaged the judges. The more we learned about her thought process, the more we knew we were looking at a winning design.”
Now on display at JCPenney stores nationwide, Ledgester created her additional design focused on a man and woman with afros, enriched with earth tone colors, looking upwards. The pair can be seen breathing life into the affirmations: “Just Breathe” and “Remember to Exhale.” This sentiment fits into the national retail giant’s Black History Month 2022 theme of “Black Health and Wellness.”
“Kah’Milah’s design stood out because her design was a thoughtful execution of a way for an individual to improve their mental health. She answered JCPenney’s ‘Young, Gifted and Black Design’ challenge prompt in a masterful way,” said Krystal Ellis, senior designer, Women’s for JCPenney, according to the news outlet.
In addition to her selections, Target pledged a $3,000 cash prize, a laptop, and a UX Design bootcamp course for Ledgester to continue to sharpen her design skills.
JC Penney awarded her $2,000 and an opportunity to receive mentorship through a program where she meets weekly with seasoned industry professionals.
Utilizing these new opportunities, the flourishing designer plans to monetize her prints.