The first 30 years

Celebrating and remembering three decades of curiosity.

3 mins
Pasted Graphic 1 Where it all started; 1993, 72 Thomas Street, Dublin 8

Can you believe it's been 30 years already? It’s Red Dog's birthday today. On November 2nd, 1993, we opened up shop at 72 Thomas Street, the morning after graduating from NCAD (just across the road!).

Irene Gough and I, with a little help from Irene's father, decided to take the plunge. Our "studio" (a rather loose term, ahem!) set us back 50 punts per week, and was right above Des Kelly carpets. We thought it was pretty fancy, we even had desks and a coffee machine. What we didn't have were things like the internet, color printers, email, mobile phones, PDFs, stock libraries (you had to order CDs!), the cloud, staff, the Adobe suite, money, and, of course, clients! I think we even used to smoke at our desks – very Mad Men-esque, right?

We worked our asses off – I distinctly remember going home at 5 am only to be back at 7 am. We did everything ourselves, and looking back, I’m not sure how we managed it, but we did. We slowly built up a decent client list, mainly by promising the world and then making sure we delivered on those promises. We were the newcomers in a market that had been dominated by our friends at DesignWorks and Design Factory for a decade at that point, only to be joined by ImageNow, Dynamo, and ourselves.

The interesting fact is that all of us are still in business, and if I may say so, we're all doing quite well with amazing teams producing fantastic work.

I'd rather not dwell on the number of years, as it's not too kind to my vanity, but I do like reflecting on what we, as a small design agency, have achieved. The people we've employed, the team members who have stuck with us for many years, the outstanding work we've produced, the energy and unwavering commitment we've given to making things the best they can be, the longstanding client relationships we've built, and the brand we've established. In some ways, I feel like we're just getting started. But the world we operate in is constantly changing, and we must change with it. The whole AI conversation doesn't worry me one bit – it's just like when we first got the internet, when everyone bought macs and thought they could design everything themselves, or when the Y2K scare was going to erase everything from our computers and servers. We've weathered two recessions and, most recently, the upheaval caused by Covid. There will always be some challenge when running a business.

I'm an eternal optimist. I firmly believe there's always a place for creativity, ideas, kindness, generosity, and going the extra mile – always a place for curiosity. It's the only way I know how to operate, and it's served us well so far. Onward and upwards!

So, here's to Red Dog on its birthday and to all who've been a part of these first 30 years.

RD30 7 1993; one of our first logo designs.
RD30 4 1998; Kim Robinson, Debbie Cooke, Irene Gough (co-founder with Mary) and Justine Chambers
Reddog 2401013 2012; Team Blackpitts; Paula McEntee, Aine McPeake, Michelle Lagan, Breda Leonard, Stuart Bradfield, Cat Robertson, John Connolly, Ruth Martin, Katherine Brownridge, Sandra Williams, Debbie Cooke, Susie Carberry and Kim Robinson.
RD30 2 Mary and Kim; still working, still partying!
RD30 5 2005; Ah the GDBA awards!
RD30 6 2009; There’s Mary...nothing to do except sit around posing.
RD30 3 2004; we could always find something to celebrate!
RD Team May2022 2022; Shona Byrne, Sandra Williams, Kim Robinson, Elena Stevant, Mary Doherty, John Connolly, Paula McEntee, Debbie Cooke, Katherine Brownridge, Charly Tudor, Stuart Bradfield, Susie Carberry, Ashley Caprani, David Stanley, Suzanne Massey and Alesandra Ravida.

Mary Doherty

Managing Director

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