Design Army | Interview

Design Army, Art Directors | Inspiration = Color

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

For Design Bureau's second anniversary issue, we asked eight guest editors a question: What inspires you? Over the next month, we’ll post the words and images that demonstrate  their creative passion. Today, we’re featuring the uncut interview with Pum and Jake Lefebure of Washington, D.C.-based Design Army.

Interview by Kristin Lamprecht
Portrait by Design Army/Dan Alexander
Photos by Design Army/Cade Martin 

Pum and Jake Lefebure are the co-founders of D.C.-based creative firm Design Army. Their work has run in Washingtonian Bride & Groom, and their clients include Adobe, Disney, and others. 

What drives you?


What is it about color that inspires your work? and drives your career?  

PUM AND JAKE: Color makes us feel alive. It fuels minds, connects spirits and feeds imaginations. It shapes who we are and reveals our inner shades of design DNA. Color is a precious commodity. We breed it. We crave it. We fight for it. It's the ultimate currency to sustain and nourish our creative souls. It's a design mantra we call Color Consumption.

Why do you think color motivates you? 

PUM: Color is everywhere when you look around. Everything on the planet is a color. Color affects me emotionally. When I go into a place that is all white, I feel calm, whereas red energizes me. Color makes me feel a certain way.

JAKE: Color stimulates rather than motivates me. Stimulation is natural, while motivation is forceful. Color sets the mood, and it’s then up to each individual to determine where it will take them.

Do you have a favorite color? Why?  

PUM: Red because it’s one of the most powerful colors. That's why it's used for STOP lights and signs. Humans react to this color.

JAKE: Green = Money! No, I actually don’t have a favorite color. Every situation calls for a certain color.

Do you feel more driven by a particular color or color combination? Conversely, is there a color that you feel does the opposite -holds you back in some way? (Btw, the color that drives you doesn't have to be your favorite color, necessarily).

PUM: I like colors that crash into each other–ones that are almost really ugly together but with some minor tweak, can be very fresh and interesting.

JAKE: I don’t like yellow, maybe because it reminds me of a school bus and I despised school. But yellow does get used a lot because it can add punch to a project; it’s probably the friendliest of colors.

I also quite like fluorescent colors–definitely brighter, visual tones, such as neon green or toxic orange that have that visual stimulation. There is a resurgence of radiant colors that reflect the ’90s–and Miami Vice.

Do you think color inspires our world at large? How so? Do you see examples in everyday life?

PUM: Absolutely, color drives every culture. Hot pink is like navy blue in India. I grew up in Bangkok where we’d use green and orange with gold, for instance, but studied design in the United States so my color sensibilities are truly all over the map.

JAKE: The green movement is one way. But the word green is so overused; it might as well been the “blue movement” as the earth is covered in more water than greenery. What will be the next green? Personally I think green will be meaningless to the next generation as conserving energy and LEED building practices, for example, will be commonplace in their everyday lives – it’s just like seat belt laws that were all the hype, now it’s just the automatic routine of getting in a car.

What do you hope people take away/learn from your driving force?  

PUM: When it comes to color, be more expressive and experimental. Give every color an opportunity to shine. My favorite thing to do is to pull the most unused Pantone chips and mix them with one another to create a new combination.

JAKE: Imagine living in a colorless world, seeing everything in black and white. Color transforms and drives the world–the more color there is, the more people want it–perfect example is the new iPad; pretty much the same but better color/screen so everyone runs out to buy one.

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