The story of a young student’s encounter with a retail giant has taken an unexpected turn, as she has accused Target of copying her ideas that were submitted for a contest. Jasmine Patrick, a 20-year-old senior graphic design student at Florida A”&M University, is now questioning the ethics and integrity of Target, a company she once admired.
It all began when Patrick submitted her ideas to Target’s HBCU Design Challenge on Nov. 17, which called for fresh and innovative concepts to be designed. Fueled by her passion for art and graphic design, she poured her all into creating a unique design. “When I submitted my design, I felt very confident in my design’s overall message, that Black students are the next innovators, change-makers, and leaders in our world,” Patrick said.
On Dec. 1, Patrick received an email saying that her design was not selected to move forward to the next level of the competition. However, she pushed through it, saying, “I was sad but accepted it and was happy for my other classmates.”
Moving into the new year, Patrick received a picture of a shirt featured in Target’s Black History Month collection on the company’s website. When opening the image, she was shocked to notice striking similarities in the shirt’s design.
“I saw that my concept was taken and used by Target. There were over seven elements pertaining to layout, and the visuals were used in my design. Although they re-did the artwork entirely, the combined elements on that one shirt were not just a coincidence,” Patrick said.
Feeling hurt, frustrated, betrayed, and believing her ideas had been appropriated without credit or compensation, Patrick took to social media to voice her frustration, showing hers and the shirt’s designs side by side.
The competition rules state, “By participating in this contest, participants are confirming that they understand that submitted concepts may or may not be part of Target’s previous, current, or future business endeavors.”
However, Patrick raises concerns about this rule. “Although I do understand business is business and rules are rules, I don’t think that it’s fair to have a rule stating that submission concepts could be used without giving the designer credit; it just goes back to how Black people have had ideas stolen for decades, taken by bigger companies and people that claim the ideas as their own.”
This incident raises important questions about intellectual property rights and the responsibility of companies when it comes to protecting the creative ideas of individuals. While contests like these can allow aspiring designers and entrepreneurs to showcase their talents, incidents like these can discourage participation and erode trust.
As Patrick continues to seek justice and resolution, her story serves as a reminder of the importance of protecting intellectual property and the potential consequences of idea theft. It also underscores the need for individuals to be cautious when sharing their ideas, especially in the context of contests or open innovation initiatives.
The Famuan made multiple attempts to contact Target but received no responses to emails and voicemails.