My first job in Chicago.
When I was 19, I was lucky enough to land a gopher job at a young design firm called Moonink. The partners were a couple of ex Leo Burnett art directors, Dudley Davenport and John Downs, who were itching to be on their own. In those days, art studios had sometimes 50 staffers and all the big agencies sent out tons of work to them. These studios made lots of money. Moonink was originally at 185 N Wabash. They grew like crazy, and later moved to 2 Illinois Center where I watched the 40 story Hyatt Hotel get built outside my north-facing window, blocking my view of the Chicago River.
The owners of Moonink were so cool that they would actually take the time and money to design rubber stamps like the one above that says “Ryder Pickup”. I would stamp the Moonink sticker (artfully placed on the Ryder Types bag) so when their messengers picked up typesetting jobs at 5 pm, (for delivery at 9AM the next morning) everyone on the street would see how Moonink put a design spin on every aspect of their public image.
Made a big impression me and the way art ought to be.
I made $2.50 and hour, minimum wage at the time.
I ran errands and the stat machine. Worked the darkroom, did tissue and flaps for artwork, made 3M color keys using very stinky chemicals, learned to run a Typositor and got real good at keyline/pasteup (how ads were put
together in those days).
Within 2 years I convinced them to let me run the production department, which meant overseeing other keyliners and retouchers and scheduling throughput. I think they gave me the job because nobody else wanted it.
I was now 21 and newly married to Sheila.