For women-owned agency Snyder, it's all about nurturing creatives and valuing relationships
Operating from a place of generosity, not cynicism, the US and UK-based agency drives to like the people it works with while representing the illustrators it loves.
- Jyni Ong
- 8 July 2020
Much more than your average illustration and animation agency, Snyder offers its artists something unique. Based out of New York, the women-owned agency represents a talented roster of creatives here in the UK and in the US. Its stellar roster features the likes of Tess Smith-Roberts, Libby VanderPloeg, Foreal and Nina Chakrabarti, just to name a few. But what really sets Snyder apart from other agencies is its approach. “We wear our political beliefs on our sleeves, and we’ve found that, contrary to the more traditional, corporate sensibility of not wanting to possibly offend peers and clients, it has actually worked well for us,” says Kat Irannejad, a partner at Snyder.
Established back in early 2013 by the agency’s namesake, Kristina Snyder, its beginnings came about rather serendipitously. At the time, social media was on the precipice of becoming the mass showcasing platform it is today, changing the creative industries perpetually in both a commercial and editorial sense. A new stream of innovative revenue, Snyder tapped into the accessibility offered on social media and as a result, explains the founder and CEO: “We were able to adapt in real-time as visual content needs were adjusting.” In turn, Snyder arose from this distinct transitional period of visual culture, “so it’s in our DNA to be fluid and open to new trends,” Kristina adds.
Prior to establishing Snyder, Kristina amassed 13 years of experience as a photography and illustration agent. But feeling burned out by the minutiae of photo production, she shifted her focus to illustration – a medium which is full of surprises across myriad outputs. Later on, she joined forces with Kat – who’d previously worked at a large international illustration agency – and who was similarly eager to establish a working culture built on trust and creative autonomy. “You could say that our respective paths crossed at exactly the right time,” adds Kristina. With this in mind, Snyder was founded with an ethos of fun, inspiration and creativity at its core.
Operating from a place of generosity, not cynicism, Snyder drives to like the people it works with while representing the illustrators it loves. “Our credo is to keep the ‘long game’ in mind, investing the time and effort and not expecting any sort of instant gratification,” adds Kristina. For the two founders, it’s about looking at the bigger picture; trusting their carefully crafted process, and so far, it’s an approach that’s worked. Snyder’s clients and representees “consistently comment on how they can see that we genuinely enjoy what we do,” taking on not only the role of agent but also nurturer by simply being as available as possible.
With this in mind, many clients often choose Snyder’s artists for their effective communication. The agency prides itself on representing a number of artists in creative activism, encouraging its talented roster to share ideas, educate and comfort others through their work. “We're especially proud to represent a number of artists who share their art to amplify humanitarian ideas and boost awareness around issues of civil and human rights," adds Kristina. “As an agency, that is something we proactively participate in. We've always been vocal about our politics because in the age of Trump, Brexit, and a pandemic, how can anyone remain passive?”
Consequently, it’s imperative to Snyder that it also works on culturally and politically meaningful projects, often done pro bono too. “It is an inherent part of who we are and how we want to represent ourselves,” says Kat on Snyder’s open-minded approach in allowing its artists to express themselves in a safe space.
With quality over quantity at the centre of its spirit, Snyder aims to give its representees the chance to really stand out in an overcrowded industry. But it’s about much more than the almighty dollar, with relationships and authentic artwork taking centre stage. Recently, Snyder has also expanded with a production arm, Snyder Studio, entrusted with bringing much of the final visual content to life while preserving the quality and intent of the artist’s handiwork.
Additionally, and arguably most importantly, “we like to have fun together,” ends Kristina, commenting on Snyder’s regular pub hangouts which solidify its creative community wherever possible. In the end, Snyder’s seemingly obvious but treasurable secret to success is that “we have to be genuine fans of the artists and creators we represent.” As long as that’s the case, “the illustrators can excel and stand out on their own.”
GallerySnyder New York
About the Author
Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor. Feel free to drop Jyni a note if you have an exciting story for the site.