The First Decade
Carlos and Fernando ﬁrst met in 1985, while studying Industrial Design at Mexico’s Iberoamericana University. Upon graduating, each went his
Just how should a company’s ﬁrst ten years be celebrated? Forum’s
separate way out into the world of work. Carlos, who had majored in
founding partners, Fernando Angilella and Carlos Ochoa, thought the
graphic design, found a position with DG Design Consultants, where he
best way would be by spreading the news about some of the work
mostly set up stands for trade shows. Meanwhile, Fernando, who had
the ﬁrm has been doing within its specialized areas of brand identity
been studying industrial design abroad, returned home and was hired
and packaging design.
by his alma mater to design books using desktop publishing tools, a novel technology in those days.
With its target audience of clients, suppliers, marketing executives, designers and friends in mind, this book is meant to ﬁll them in on
In the early nineties, as luck would have it, the two ran into each
exactly what is involved in moving a product into the market so it has
other in Mexico City. They ﬁlled each other in on what they had been
an excellent chance of being successful. As Angilella says, “Though a
doing and exchanged phone numbers. It was not long before they
product’s features are fundamental in and of themselves, there aren’t
decided to give up their jobs and go into business together, moving
too many ways a consumer can ﬁnd out about them. And that is
into their own ofﬁce in 1993.
precisely where packaging comes in.” Levi’s, their ﬁrst client, had Ochoa and Angilella design a catalog. The The ten projects presented in this book bear witness to this assertion.
advance payment for the job gave them the money to make a down
Behind each one is the creativity, methodology, expertise and plain
payment on the equipment they had been leasing.
hard work that have made Forum clients out of some of the world’s “No university teaches you how to start up a company,” Fernando
jokes, looking back at those early years. And, yes, the lack of “Designing packaging to ﬁt the client’s needs is not an automatic
management and bookkeeping experience showed up in a very
process,” adds Ochoa. “A lot of time is involved in each project, a
peculiar way. Carlos was in charge of collections, while Fernando paid
lot of quality, effort, designer experience and personal involvement
the suppliers. In other words, the former was “rolling in money”,
with the client.” Furthermore, he says that individuals in this ﬁeld of
while the latter found his debts mounting.
design ought not to consider themselves mere suppliers but rather consultants involved in every area of the project, all the way from
In 1994, they decided to formally found Forum, at which time they
market studies to the product being put on the shelf.
hired an accountant and a secretary, followed, not too long thereafter, by a messenger, Oswaldo Ávila, who is still with the ﬁrm and is now
Arriving at this vantage point has, nevertheless, meant lots and lots of
a member of the production team. They set up shop in a corner
work; the hours, days, months and years that have gone into Forum’s
of a house on Gabriel Mancera Street in Mexico City’s Del Valle
acquiring the experience and reputation it now enjoys. One does
neighborhood. Today, this same house, now completely refurbished,
not come by these valuable assets by sheer luck. They come from
has been entirely occupied by Forum.
practice and more practice, many trials and not a few errors. The partners had given themselves a year to see if the business was Now, with a decade of Forum under their belts, the two
going to take off or not. So, what was a “normal” day like for them
entrepreneurs wish to share their experiences, how they began
back then? Mornings were for appointments set up by the secretary,
specializing, the setbacks they have encountered, their philosophy of
which sometimes meant traveling the immense length and breadth
work and what they foresee for the future. Judging from the accounts
of Mexico City. Along the way, they might also pick up a check or drop
given herein, many more decades of successes await them.
off an invoice. Once back in the ofﬁce, sleeves rolled up, they would get down to work, until the wee hours. For the ﬁrst three or four years, this was the routine, until they hired their ﬁrst two designers. They also
We ﬁnished the year with 22 clients, 180 projects and a team of 7 people
Gloria Lavara goes into politics, and Verónica Salazar takes over for her
Annual report for Grupo Minsa
First project with Nestlé: La Lechera Cookbook for Valentine’s Day
Corporate brochure for Grupo Maeva
Aceros Camesa Product Catalog
Corporate brochure for GE Capital México
We consolidate our relationship with a signiﬁcant number of clients
Forum’s administrative department is formed. The internal support staff is made up of Marcela, Pablo, Alejandro, Carolina and Ruth
First anniversary luncheon
Design of the ﬁrst annual report for Empaques Ponderosa
Juan Antonio Morales joins Forum’s security force
We recover thanks to more projects for Disney licensees
Our friends at DPI give all their help to solve several problems
Many appointments yet few projects
An economically very difﬁcult year begins for Forum; heavy tax payments due
used the services of a design and printing bureau.
We ﬁnished the year with 17 clients, 209 projects and a team of 11 people
Published on Jul 3, 2009