About Jake Lefebure:
Jake Lefebure is a co-founding partner and CEO of Design Army. As the principal project leader, he oversees new business and creative for all of the studio’s accounts. In 2009, Jake was named by Graphic Design USA as one of the top 50 People to Watch and his creativity has been featured by every notable design organization, including AIGA 365, American Advertising Federation, Communication Arts, Graphis, HOW, New York Art Directors Club, the One Show, PRINT, SPD, Type Directors Club, D&AD Awards (UK), Red Dot Awards (Germany), Applied Arts and Coupe (Canada), as well as judging design competitions and frequent lecturing at design events and universities.
Tell us about your company?
I could go on for ever – but best way to learn about our company and the work we do is to visit our youtube channel (www.youtube.com/designarmy) and watch a few of our videos. It’s better than reading.
What kind of internships and entry-level positions do you normally offer?
We do not use the word “intern” at Design Army as we do not accept interns – but we do hire students right out of school quite often, and on a rare occasion will accept a part-time designer if they are in their final semester and/or have at least 3+ days a week availability. Everyone is treated equally. An entry level designer will work on the same projects/clients as our senior staff. We do not judge creativity; it’s either good or not – does not matter who’s idea it was.
What is one thing that will entice you to call an applicant for an interview?
A well formatted PDF that’s easy to read and a great work examples that are relevant to our studio.
What is one thing that will make you not call an applicant for an interview?
A PDF over 4mb or a website portfolio that does not function properly.
What skills are most important for an entry-level talent at your company?
Creativity. We can teach a designer to execute; it’s not so easy to teach them to think.
Can you describe what a normal day is like?
9am to 7pm would be pretty average day – most of the day is spent executing design; and in the evenings at home, in front of the TV, sketching ideas for tomorrow’s internal meetings. So it’s probably more like 9am to 11pm.
How has emerging talent benefited from working at Design Army?
Some of our young designers stay an average of 3 to 5 years and then moved on to fantastic jobs in other cities. It’s not a proven fact , but we are pretty certain that 1 year at Design Army is equal to at least 3 years at a “typical” agency. You will learn more than you ever thought possible. Young minds have the weirdest ideas. We love them. The trick is making them relevant to the problem at hand.
Anything else you would like to share with our community of interns and partners?
Great design does not happen from 9 to 5 – be prepared to work hard, cry a little, and learn a lot. Design is not an easy job and it does not get easier. I always tell new candidates during the interview process that Design Army will be the best and worst job you’ll ever have.
What tips can you offer a recent graduate that is preparing to interview for an entry-level position?
99% of the interview is all about you. It’s your personality and how you will fit in with others is what matters once you are at the table. Just be yourself (be on time) and you should do great.
What piece of advice would you offer a student struggling to obtain interviews?
Be persistent. Agency owners are busy and do not always get back to you right away. If we are not hiring I will keep all the good resumes filed so that when we are hiring I can dip back in to them to save time on a new talent search.
What skills are in high demand by your company these days?
Web, Mobile & Video – they are not going away anytime soon. Oh, and also remember to spell check everything!