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If you have a degree in what field is it? A BFA in graphic design from Radford University.

Which designer (or design studio), other than yours,  do you most admire? Tibor Kalman (M & Co.).

What’s the strangest request you’ve received from a client? Wanting the color of a logo to match oxblood red. How in the world were we supposed to know what that person’s version of oxblood red looked like?
 
If you weren’t working as a designer what would you be doing? Fashion editor at British Vogue—or the owner of a fabulous spa in Thailand (hopefully one day).
 
What well-known identity is most desperately in need of a redesign? Louis Vuitton. I’m bored with seeing the brown and beige LV monogram stuck on everything. With so many real and fake versions, it’s just everywhere. Seems a waste of creativity to me, especially since there’s such a huge opportunity to really expand. And yet, people pay thousands of dollars for bags that look just like everyone else’s.
 
From where do your best ideas originate? Magazines. I subscribe to over 30 (from Vogue and Martha Stewart Living to Star). They keep me current regarding the consumer marketplace. I also spend a lot of time looking at work in other design professions (fashion, textile, interior, product). Locally, of course, there's the National Gallery of Art and internationally nothing inspires me more than being in Paris.

How do you overcome a creative block? The best way is to walk away and look again the next day. I always get a new perspective and find a better solution with every return. Unfortunately, we seldom have an extra day to digest a design so I usually ask someone else in the studio to look. Fresh, talented eyes can see, fairly quickly, exactly what’s missing.
 
What’s your dream project (not client, but project)? The Olympic Games identity for Washington DC. I live in, and love, Washington and hope that someday the city will have an opportunity to host the Olympic Games. I would love to be able to be behind the execution of a design solution on such a grand scale, across so many platforms—and of course the whole world would see it.

Do you have creative outlets other than graphic design? I live and breathe graphic design. The only time I’m not consciously thinking about it is when I’m playing with my three-year-old; she gives me an honest perspective on everything. Oh, and I also enjoy the three hours I spend in front of the TV on Wednesday nights; it’s sort of a mini-weekend in the middle of the week.
 
What’s your approach to balancing work and life? My husband, Jake, is also my business partner so we talk about work and design 24/7. So, since we opened Design Army in the fall of 2003, there hasn’t been much of a distinction between the two.

What product/gadget can you not live without? Clarins Skin-Smoothing Eye Mask (I have to use it every morning to be awake). My laptop is a close second.
 
What’s your favorite quote? “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself...,” from FDR’s first inaugural address.

Do you have any advice for people just entering the profession? For your first job out of school, don’t go for the money, go for creative, you’ll get where you want to be a lot faster. And remember, if you lack passion you’ll never be a great designer—you’ll just have a job.

What’s one thing you wish you knew when you started your career? To travel more before taking my first job. I wish I’d taken a year off to travel the world before I started my career. The ideas and inspiration it provides are invaluable.

Pum M. Lefebure is a co-founder and design director at Design Army in Washington, DC. Not only does she oversee all creative coming through the firm's doors, she's responsible for setting the creative vision behind each high-profile campaign. Pum keeps the design team challenged by pushing and inspiring them to do creatively original work. As a result there are countless award-winning projects born inside Design Army's studio every day.

Pum's guided the design and development of many award-winning projects for an array of clients. Her guidance hasn't gone unrecognized: Since opening in fall of 2003, Design Army’s work has been featured in Communication Arts, Graphis, HOW, Print, STEP, Novum, Coupe and Art4D and has garnered a surfeit of industry awards, including ADDY, AIGA50, AR100, The Mohawk Show and The One Show.
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