The Designers Institute runs many initiatives throughout the year to celebrate the achievements of the design community. 

The Best Design Awards

The Best Design Awards are Australasia’s largest annual showcase of excellence across graphic, digital, motion design, product and spatial along with the Value of Design Award, Public Good Award and the Toitanga award recognise the changing nature of our design industry. Year on year, the event grows in both its size and its impact.

View all of the 2019 winners on the Best Awards site.

Black Pin Recipients

Each year, the prestigious Black Pins are awarded to individuals for outstanding achievement within the design community. In 2019 DINZ introduced the Value of Design Black Pin.

The John Britten Black Pin is awarded to a designer for their leadership, vision and achievement both in New Zealand and internationally.

The Designers Institute Black Pin is awarded to a member of the Institute who has made a lasting and valuable contribution to the design profession and design culture in New Zealand.

Annie Dow

The Designers Institute Black Pin for Outstanding Achievement is given to the individual who has made a lasting contribution to the design profession and to design in general.

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!’

All Recipients

Designers Institute Black Pin John Britten Black Pin Value of Design Black Pin

Annie Dow

Clive Fugill

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare


Rik Campbell and Steve Le Marquand


Kent Sneddon

Dan Bernasconi


Ben Corban

Danny Coster


Professor Tony Parker

Kris Sowersby


Mark Cleverley

Matt Holmes


Cathy Veninga

Grenville Main

Kent Parker


Sven Baker

Ian Athfield


Fraser Gardyne

Mark Elmore


Tim Hooson

Dean Poole


Dave Clark

Joseph Churchward


Professor Leong Yap

Laurie Davidson


Brian Richards

David Trubridge


Grant Alexander

Gary Paykel


Hugh Mullane & Craig Horrocks

Mark Pennington


Michael Smythe

Richard Taylor


Ray Labone

Peter Haythornthwaite FDINZ


Doug Heath

Ann Robinson


Robin Beckett

Humphrey Ikin


David Bartlett

Bruce Farr


John Hughes

Karen Walker


Not awarded

Gifford Jackson


Max Hailstone

James Coe


John Britten

Purple Pin Case Studies

The Best Design Awards is the annual showcase of excellence in graphic, spatial, product and interactive design. The entries judged Best in each category are awarded the Gold Pin. The very best project in each discipline is awarded the supreme, Purple Pin for work that truly raises the bar for New Zealand design.

DINZ Interviews

When the opportunity arises, DINZ interviews leading designers from here and overseas. These interviews seek to dig beneath the surface to address the common and uncommon challenges, problems and opportunities the design community faces.

DINZ Student Council

Today’s design students are tomorrow’s industry professionals. That’s why the DINZ Student Council exists. Its twelve national representatives work to forge stronger links between the bright minds currently studying design and the industry peers, design leaders and potential mentors who will work with them in the future.

The Student Council run several initiatives including Interviews, Folio Nights and Best of the Best Students Speak. 

Learn more about the Council