One statement which unites our entire community — no matter the discipline — and has been Annie Dow’s mantra since 1994 — is this: ‘Design delivers value’ — and further to that we believe that designers themselves must be valued.
After completing her design training at AIT she gave Auckland a chance before heading to London for a job at the London Stock Exchange which she admits was boring but helped her embrace her passion for building brands and business. From there it was a couple of years in Saatchi & Saatchi Barbados, where the international world of advertising collided with the romantic island life to reignite her drive to return to her own island nation and combine creativity, culture and commercial success so that design-led thinking became central to doing business.
And so began Dow & Associates with husband Greg. A natural team who challenged each other with a healthy competition and common purpose. Originally specialising in the FMCG environment where ideas had seconds to survive and sell, Annie learnt to work closely and quickly with clients to achieve results for brands and businesses. All based upon her often repeated philosophy — “Design must do: It deserves courageous conversations and getting it right is worth the fight”.
Through the personal tragedy of losing her business partner and husband, the challenge of creating Brother — a sister agency to Dow, acquiring new businesses and the constant evolution required to survive a quarter of a century in business she has never wavered from her commitment to our industry and the message that design solves key business problems and must be recognised as a strategic business discipline.
Annie’s perspective as a woman in leadership in business is to be greatly admired. She has established herself as a role model.
Her tenacity and passion mean that many business owners over the years have admitted - sometimes begrudgingly — that at the end of the day design was a great investment and not a cost. Her attendance and support for the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Better By Design CEO Summits is testament to many years striving to improve, connect and develop design in Aotearoa.
Colleagues and friends admire a person who always has an eye on the bottomline AND a finger on the pulse, someone who speaks her mind AND truly listens, is protective and tough BUT never holds a grudge, has an inner strength AND wears her heart on her sleeve and creates opportunities that build others up and grows talent.
Today — at 25 years young — Dow Goodfolk is a highly awarded studio, a highly regarded strategic business and a highly respected ‘proving ground’ for many, many committed designers.
It has achieved what all of us strive for — success culturally, creatively and commercially.
Although her hard work often happens quietly in the background it never goes unnoticed — it is part of the spirit of all Designers in New Zealand.
This year we honour one of our own who has advocated and educated on our behalves and reminds us that ‘We’re worth it!’