Q&A: Jennifer Dow
Our Creative Director, Jennifer Dow, recently celebrated her 100th issue with the Cape Cod LIFE April 2018 publication. Jen is an invaluable member of our team at Cape Cod Life Publications, as she enthusiastically interprets each issue’s look and feel. To commemorate her hard work to date and embrace her vision of the future, Managing Editor Julie Wagner sat down with Jen to find out what makes her tick.
Jen, thank you for everything you do!
JW: When did you decide you wanted to be a graphic designer?
JD: In 11th grade. I was always doing something artistic as a kid, but I never felt—and still don’t—that I could draw well. My art teacher at Barnstable High School, Ms. Weil, was a big influence. She opened up the whole world of design to me and I never looked back.
JW: What kinds of things did your classes in graphic design teach you?
JD: In high school, we learned the various programs. I went to Syracuse University and majored in Advertising Design. The major was very focused, so I was able to imagine a clear career path after graduation.
JW: How did you end up coming to Cape Cod Life?
JD: I remember seeing the magazine when I was growing up on the Cape and thinking it would be so cool to work for a magazine like that. In 2011, I saw a posting for a print designer position and applied—I had no idea who the company was. When I got the call, I was asked if I was still interested in the position at Cape Cod Life Publications, and I could barely contain my excitement. Since then I have moved through the ranks from Print and Web Graphic Designer, for which I was hired, to now Creative Director for all of the publications and digital offerings.
JW: What do you like about Cape Cod Life and the job you do?
JD: In a nutshell, I like that I get to be creative, in the special place where I grew up. Also, I like learning about new places, things and people throughout the Cape and Islands that I never knew existed. I have a list of things I still haven’t done yet and the list grows every day. I have never been to the Atlantic White Cedar Swamp in Wellfleet or Highland Light in Truro.
JW: We joke that you have become the unofficial archivist at Cape Cod Life, even for issues before you were here. How do you think that happened?
JD: I don’t know, except that I can recall each issue I have ever worked on, especially since I look at each and every page scores of times before we send it to be printed. It becomes a full chapter in time. And we are always referring to issues over the 40 years to check things or refer to people and places; they stick with me as well.
JW: Do you have any favorites?
JD: Certain stories stand out more than others. When I am on-site for the story I tend to hold onto it. There was a story about a Nantucket basket weaver that will always stay with me, a really sweet woman, and she invited us for lunch the following year. Stories that I was involved with from the point of inspiration through the final production will always be special, like our story about Art’s Dune Tours in Provincetown in 2016. And the “then and now” series we did in the 2015 LIFE Annual was great. We reproduced historic photos of every town with a brand new photo. I looked through the viewfinder to match the antique photo, and was at the elbow of the photographer for each of those shots. I will always remember that.