Graphic designer Janet Snyder will be more excited than most when renovations at State Farm Center are finished next fall.
She has worked at the center since 1999, and although she hasn’t been inside since March 2014 because of the ongoing work, she enjoys occasionally checking online at pictures of the progress.
“I can’t wait,” she said.
Snyder creates ads, fliers, posters, signs, mailers, programs, displays and digital graphics for the center's concerts and shows. Since last March, she has done her job off-site, at the Illini Union.
Currently, she creates designs for the center and for the Illini Union. For the center, she designs credentials, maps and signs, and marketing materials promoting the new building. She also has been creating marketing materials for events at the Illini Union, along with projects such as posters for the Illini Union Board and signs for the Illini Union Bookstore.
Growing up about 50 miles away from the U. of I., she remembers her family visiting the center frequently, although it was called Assembly Hall then.
“I grew up in Covington (Indiana), and we always would come to Assembly Hall to concerts and shows, and I always wanted to work there growing up,” she said. “So when I got the opportunity to get a job there, I was very happy.”
She remembers going to the Ice Capades and rock concerts, which were popular during her high school years. She also remembers going to shows that she didn’t necessarily enjoy.
“My parents drove me to things I didn’t want to see, like Lawrence Welk,” she said.
Snyder earned her B.A. in fine arts at the Herron School of Art and Design at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, which teaches painting and drawing.
Before working at the U. of I., she worked at Parkland College as a graphic designer for six years. She said she learned graphic design skills while working as a freelance designer.
She said she enjoys the fast-paced environment of State Farm Center, where there is a variety of entertainment, including country, rap and rock concerts, comedy and family-oriented performances, and monster truck shows.
She enjoys music and entertainment, which goes hand-in-hand with the shows that come to the center. In the past, she hasn’t worked with the sports events at the center, but she said that might change.
Snyder said the hardest part of her job is trying to keep everything fresh with new ideas and trends. She said it’s been nice working at the union with the younger designers because they share their ideas. At the center, she’s the only designer.
Away from work, Snyder is a competitive horseback rider. She said she is currently leading the nation in non-pro reining in the Appaloosa Horse Club. She owns seven horses on her 20-acre farm in Georgetown, Illinois. She is training three of the horses currently in the farm's indoor arena, where she rides them almost daily.
She said her family wasn’t really into horses when she was younger, but her dad bought her first horse when she was 14 years old. When she got her horse named Pearl, she decided to show the horse in the non-pro reining at the Regional Appaloosa Shows because Pearl excelled in the class.
She has been involved in open reining and non-pro reining on and off for several years with different horses. Reining involves guiding horses through patterns such as circles, spins and stops. To be good at reining, the horse needs to be responsive and in tune with its rider; the aids (or hints to the horse) should not be easily seen, and the horse is judged on its ability to perform a set pattern of movements.
Her husband, who works at the U. of I. Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s Large Animal Clinic, rode and showed the horses with her for several years, but he doesn’t ride much anymore.
Snyder has traveled as far as Canada and Texas with her horses, and has friends in the area who enjoy competing with their horses.
“We’re all crazy horse people,” she said.
She also enjoys designing custom-painted horse figurines. A national company created eight pony figurines based on designs she has created, and the figurines are sold all over the U.S.
Snyder will continue to create designs for the union and center while she waits to return to her home office in the State Farm Center in March.
“We’ll have some really exciting shows there (this year),” she said. “I’m looking forward to it.”