Design Army, Washington, D.C.

written by:
December 7, 2012

For co-founders Jake and Pum Lefebure of Design Army, family and business work well together. The married graphic designers have created a design firm with a distinct point of view and for that, their work has garnered numerous awards since its founding in 2003. And, nearly a decade on, they have designed for clients as diverse as Washingtonian Bride & Groom, Bloomingdale's, and the Washington National Ballet to re-imagining Neenah Papers. Dwell stopped by their offices for a tour and a talk.

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  Jake and Pum started their company in 2003. She’s the Chief Creative Officer and makes the design decisions. He’s the CEO and handles the business side.  Courtesy of: Dean Alexander

    Jake and Pum started their company in 2003. She’s the Chief Creative Officer and makes the design decisions. He’s the CEO and handles the business side.

    Courtesy of: Dean Alexander

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  Design Army was one of the first businesses to arrive on H Street in DC--an emerging neighborhood in the northeast quadrant of the city. “For me, when we were thinking about workspace, I wanted to own our building. So we own this building. We added two floors—one floor and a floor with a kitchen with a roof deck. I didn’t want to have a landlord or pay rent. I wanted full control of everything. We bought it as a burnt-out shell. It was a pool hall. The last time it was occupied was during the 1968 riots,” says Jake. Photo by: Anice Hoachlander of Hoachlander Davis Photography  Courtesy of: © 2012 Anice Hoachlander/Hoachlander Davis Photography, LLC
 All Rights Reserved Washington, DC Ph: 202-364-9306

    Design Army was one of the first businesses to arrive on H Street in DC--an emerging neighborhood in the northeast quadrant of the city. “For me, when we were thinking about workspace, I wanted to own our building. So we own this building. We added two floors—one floor and a floor with a kitchen with a roof deck. I didn’t want to have a landlord or pay rent. I wanted full control of everything. We bought it as a burnt-out shell. It was a pool hall. The last time it was occupied was during the 1968 riots,” says Jake. Photo by: Anice Hoachlander of Hoachlander Davis Photography

    Courtesy of: © 2012 Anice Hoachlander/Hoachlander Davis Photography, LLC All Rights Reserved Washington, DC Ph: 202-364-9306

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  A simple color palette and Eames chairs greet visitors in the lobby. Photo by: Anice Hoachlander of Hoachlander Davis Photography  Courtesy of: ©2008 Hoachlander Davis Photography, LLC Washington DC, USA  Office:202-364-9306

    A simple color palette and Eames chairs greet visitors in the lobby. Photo by: Anice Hoachlander of Hoachlander Davis Photography

    Courtesy of: ©2008 Hoachlander Davis Photography, LLC Washington DC, USA Office:202-364-9306

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  Red, green, and white reduce the visual clutter of the office. The conference room gets plenty of natural light and the wall, coated with Idea Paint (TM) is used for brainstorming project ideas. “We get a lot of natural light. Light is really important to me, personally. I don’t perform well when I’m in a dark, enclosed space. We wanted to keep it really clean because we deal with color all day long,” says Pum. Photo by: Anice Hoachlander of Hoachlander Davis Photography  Courtesy of: ©2008 Hoachlander Davis Photography, LLC Washington DC, USA  Office:202-364-9306

    Red, green, and white reduce the visual clutter of the office. The conference room gets plenty of natural light and the wall, coated with Idea Paint (TM) is used for brainstorming project ideas. “We get a lot of natural light. Light is really important to me, personally. I don’t perform well when I’m in a dark, enclosed space. We wanted to keep it really clean because we deal with color all day long,” says Pum. Photo by: Anice Hoachlander of Hoachlander Davis Photography

    Courtesy of: ©2008 Hoachlander Davis Photography, LLC Washington DC, USA Office:202-364-9306

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  Design Army's work-a-day tools and design library.

    Design Army's work-a-day tools and design library.

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  Although Design Army is a technologically cutting edge design firm, projects still need to be handcrafted sometimes. An upper shelf holds their design awards overflow from the conference room and Pum's hats add a bit of swagger to the red head mannequins above.

    Although Design Army is a technologically cutting edge design firm, projects still need to be handcrafted sometimes. An upper shelf holds their design awards overflow from the conference room and Pum's hats add a bit of swagger to the red head mannequins above.

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  As the creative director in a business partnership, Pum has the last word on all projects. Pum surveys some of their award-winning work.

    As the creative director in a business partnership, Pum has the last word on all projects. Pum surveys some of their award-winning work.

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  When serendipity meets design. Shot around D.C., Design Army's "In Wonderland" series was a pro bono project for the Washington Ballet's new production of Alice in Wonderland.

    When serendipity meets design. Shot around D.C., Design Army's "In Wonderland" series was a pro bono project for the Washington Ballet's new production of Alice in Wonderland.

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  One of the program pieces for the ballet.

    One of the program pieces for the ballet.

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