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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

largest corporations.

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


FIVESECONDS The time a package on the shelf has to attract the consumer’s attention