This tutorial review provides a summary of anion-mediated folding of linear and cyclic oligomers as well as anion-responsive behaviours of related polymeric architectures. Anions have emerged as a significant focus of the supramolecular community and here we review their impact on directing the secondary structures of synthetic oligomers and polymers while modulating physical properties e.g. molecular recognition. Oligomers and polymers responsive to anionic guests are typically constructed with hydrogen bond donors complementary to the target anions. Anion binding within the cavities leads to folding and helical wrapping of linear and cyclic oligomers as well as control over macromolecular properties of polymers. This review covers the impact of anion binding on guiding the secondary structures of single-stranded folded oligomers (foldamers) and cyclic oligomers (macrocycles), and on modulating the physical properties of select polymer architectures.