Wells Fargo rejected a customer-submitted “Black Lives Matter” graphic for their personalized debit card program. Rachel Nash, of Baltimore, created the design with what she described on Facebook as “elementary skills” – using MS Paint, no less. Her design was simple and elegant. It included the words “Black Lives Matter” and a clipart graphic of a fist raised in protest. After receiving notification that her design had been rejected, Nash called the behemoth bank for more information and was reportedly told the company “didn’t want to be associated with any ‘anti-social or offensive organizations’”.
Wells Fargo Vice President of Resolution Management Denise Thomas has since apologized for Nash’s experience, but she stood firm on the company’s decision to reject the submission saying the card personalization program “prohibits political and trademarked or copyrighted images.” It’s unclear from their statements whether Wells Fargo was concerned with the political nature of the raised fist or the copyright-ambiguous language “Black Lives Matter.” Like any good designer, Nash headed back to the drawing board to revise. Her second design was also rejected. It was a solid black rectangle and simply read “Black People Are Important.”
The Black Lives Matter movement sprang out of a growing public awareness that black people are not safe in America. The Washington Post puts the number of people killed by police last year at 875, at a rate of more than 2 per day. That statistic is dwarfed by the number of people who lost their homes during the 2008 economic collapse, which was due in part to minority-targeted predatory lending practices by banks including Wells Fargo.
“The time is always right to do what’s right.”
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
About the photos
Main: Rachel Nash submitted this design through the Wells Fargo Card Design Studio. It was rejected. Screenshot courtesy of Rachel Nash.
Lead: A woman walks past a ‘We Must Stop Killing Each Other’ sign after Baltimore police officer Caesar Goodson Jr. was found not guilty on all charges on June 23, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. Getty / Mark Makela
Editor’s Note: Wells Fargo reached out to Paste to let us know that a “Blue Lives Matter” design is not available to customers and “would be rejected due to its political nature.” We’ve removed language suggesting otherwise and regret the error.