After four years of living in Atlanta while working in the Corporate World of store design, I decided that I needed a change. The year was 1987 and I was ready to start my own business in The city of Los Angeles. I packed my 1986 Honda Civic with clothes, supplies, my Drafting table, and headed west. I was fortunate that a freind—who had made the trip before me—would be there to show me around.
I acquired a local Yellow Pages and started turning the many pages filled with the design company listings in the area. Many of the firms used their names or initials. My favorite was BBABBDO. While waiting for my interview, the receptionist must have repeated it 50 times when answering the phone. I realized that to stand out I was going to need a unique name, and with my love of everything penguin, Graphic Penguin was created. I also created a very different portfolio using various phone parts and made handmade books with portfolio pieces using bolts and screws as binding. I carried a working phone purse that could be plug into a phone jack to make calls.
One of the first things one needed to buy when living in the Los Angeles area was the Thomas Guide, a paperback spiral-bound book filled with detailed street maps laid out in grids. Before there was Google Maps, iPhone apps or an in-car GPS, the Thomas Guide was the navagation system found in almost every backseat or glove box in LA. When the topic came up in conversation, it seemed that everyone knew what page number and the grid where they lived. My first appartment was located on Page 67 / Grid 5D.
Armed with my phone portifolio, phone purse and a Los Angeles / Orange County Thomas Guide, my new life became an adventure, much more interesting than sitting at a desk in the Corporate World.