President’s Playlist: Design Lions

Pum Lefebure, Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer, Design Army, USA and 2021 Design Lions Jury President, shares ten of her favourite pieces of design work from over the years. Here, Pum takes a look at examples of exceptional visual craftsmanship in which design has been used to define a brand or communicate a message.

Creatability, Google, Google Creative Lab New York, 2019

After exploring the Creatability website, I quickly recognised it as a powerful creative tool for the disabled community. For example, a user can see and play music without ever touching a keyboard. The best part is Creatability is open-source and available to everyone. At the end of the day, everyone should be able to express their imagination. The innovative idea proves creativity and equality should go hand-in-hand.

The Unusual Football Field, AP (Thailand) plc, AP Bangkok, 2019

I grew up in Bangkok so this ad really resonated with me. It’s a bold and clever design solution that transforms the city's awkward, downtrodden areas into purposeful public spaces. This gives an under-served community, particularly kids, a place to play sports and stay out of trouble. I also love that the idea is scalable and easily adapted all around the globe - a zero-waste world where no square foot should ever be wasted.

Life is Electric, Panasonic, Dentsu Tokyo, 2016

How do you make something as ordinary as a battery interesting? That’s the genius of Life is Electric, as it allows me to "see" electricity in a new light. The witty execution makes it the perfect educational tool to raise awareness and make otherwise boring science... entertaining. It’s original, well-executed design using thoughtful illustrations that make the tiny packaging for each precious battery electrifying.

Fearless Girl, State Street Global Advisors, McCann New York, 2017

Advertising can be fleeting, but the Fearless Girl is here to stay. As a mom, there’s nothing more powerful than seeing a piece of art that sends a brave message to the future generation of women. If the Wall Street charging bull represents the “can-do spirit” of Americans, the courageous little girl is the exclamation point to the statement. This unique sculpture marks a historic moment where gender equality is heard, felt and seen.

Mother Book, Kishokai Medical Corporation, Dentsu Nagoya, 2014

This is one of the most inspired printed pieces I’ve seen – it’s a beautiful object with a purposeful message. I love that each page is a custom die cut and as you flip through the pages they reveal the changing shape of a woman’s body over 40 weeks. I find the design is so personal and transformative as the book is “growing” with you. It shows superb execution with the highest level of craft – and strikes an emotional chord.

Insta Novels, The New York Public Library, Mother USA, 2019

Insta Novels is both compelling and timely, with many of us confined to our private spaces during the pandemic. If we are spending hours on Instagram, then why not spend time reading a classic novel by bringing literature to my phone? The typography executions are so well designed and the colorful illustrations bring the books to life. The library is a vault of ideas and now is the time to visit more often… virtually.

The One Moment, Morton Salt, Ogilvy Chicago, 2017

It’s pure geek meets chic - and I love it. The viral ad is amusing to watch with incredible art direction and music, making a simple salt commercial super cool. These days, it's hard to keep viewers totally engaged throughout four minutes - but when the design and art direction is this superb, it keeps you in your seat! This complex video exemplifies the highest level of craft, proving distinctive and memorable for Morton Salt.

The Field Trip to Mars, Lockheed Martin, McCann New York, 2016

What a wonderful way to learn about Mars. I can imagine myself being a kid on the bus and sharing experiences with others to make learning exciting and memorable. I love how getting on a school bus can literally transport you to a fascinating new world! This concept is so on-point in today's changing world. Virtual classrooms will soon be commonplace and learning will become even more immersive at home.

The Gun Violence History Book, Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, FCB USA, 2019

The Gun Violence History Book is beyond impactful. Every oversized page showcases perfect type and visual pacing that effectively draws you in to an uncomfortable subject matter. As you flip through the pages, the faces of JFK, MLK, John Lennon and others are all shredded by a single bullet hole. But the book also sheds light on everyday people who are victims of gun violence - a loved one, your neighbour, your child. Simply powerful.

Highlight the Remarkable, Stabilo International, DDB Germany, 2019

I’m a fan of simple ideas! Highlight the Remarkable is so simple and relatable as we’ve all used a highlighter to mark important moments in our daily lives. The ad uses the familiar yellow stroke of the Stabilo Boss to highlight three remarkable women who have largely gone unnoticed. The design brings these historic women back into the spotlight, starting the conversation for future generations and making a mark we will all remember.