When a Florida A&M University student Accountant of Kah’Milah entered his first two design competitions, his determination earned him a nationwide opportunity.
Ledgester, a senior graphic design student, took a chance and submitted designs for Target’s 2021 HBCU design competition and JCPenney’s Young, Gifted, and Black design challenge.
His creations triumphed. In the spring of 2021, Ledgester was notified that her designs would be featured on t-shirts in stores across the country during Black History Month 2022.
Kah’Milah Ledgester, a senior graphic design student at FAMU, recently appeared in a @Target commercial showcasing her work for their 2022 Black History collection! Way to hit from the top, Kah’Milah! Check out the ad below! #famu #rattlers #blackbeyondmea sure pic.twitter.com/q2k7HukC3F
– School of Journalism and Graphic Communication FAMU (@FAMUSJGC82) November 26, 2021
“I’m still a little bit excited because of the fact that I did the Target challenge, and I also took on JCPenney and won both. It made me feel really good because I took a chance,” Ledgester of Adel, Ga., told The Tallahassee Democrat.
One of the HBCU student’s award-winning designs features a “fruitful” woman with an abundance of green leaves and citrus entwined in her afro.
Inspired by At Nina Simone’s interpretation of “Strange Fruit,” Ledgester aimed to not only show the vibrancy of black women with fruit, but also to highlight the “best thing we can do as black women, which is to take this pain and do something about it. ”
Customers can find the t-shirt design at Target kiosks alongside other designs focused on Black History Month. It is also available online at Target.com.
“There are so many reasons why his works stood out,” said Tawnya Artistdirector of multicultural product design and advancement at Target, according to Tallahassee Democrat. “Her illustration was beautiful, and it was so unique. Her use of color was cheerful, 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 for a design. winner.
Now on display at JCPenney stores nationwide, Ledgester has created their additional design focused on a man and woman with afros, enriched with earthy colors, looking up. 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, “Black Health and Wellness.”
“Kah’Milah’s design stood out because its design was a thoughtful execution of a way for an individual to improve their mental health. It responded masterfully to the “Young, Gifted and Black Design” challenge of JCPenney,” said Kristal Ellissenior designer, Women’s for JCPenney, according to the outlet.
Along with its selections, Target has promised a $3,000 cash prize, a laptop, and a UX Design bootcamp course for Ledgester to continue honing its design skills.
JC Penney awarded her $2,000 and the opportunity to receive mentorship through a program where she meets with senior industry professionals weekly.
Taking advantage of these new opportunities, the flourishing designer plans to monetize her prints.