Creativity Squared in association withLBB Pro

Creativity Squared: How Priscilla de Gier Turns Concepts from Generic to Unique

Advertising Agency
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Design director at code d’azur Priscilla de Gier explains how her dyslexia sparked her career, and why sometimes it’s important to leave your favourite inspirations behind

Priscilla de Gier joined code d’azur as a senior designer in 2008, since rising to the position of design director. At code d’azur, she’s recently been working to establish Polestar’s digital experience and has worked for brands including KLM, ABN AMRO, Tele2, and T-mobile. 

Over fourteen years, Priscilla has chosen projects which feature design and technology as their central elements, evolving her skill set and expertise as the digital age develops. Her awards collection includes accolades from The Webby Awards, The FWA, ADCN, SpinAwards, and many more.


As a creative person, I prefer to see things not as they are, but as they could be. And not just in the digital landscape but all around me. I'm someone who can get excited about anything, and I get inspired by everything. I don't like to imitate things that have already been done – I love to push the boundaries. 

I am very emotional, driven by passion, and full of ideas. I want to inspire and turn concepts from generic to the unique, while also thinking about practical solutions. 

People think I am an extrovert because I’m always cheerful and positive around others. But I'm a friendly introvert and not a talker at all. I’d rather visualise my thoughts than express them vocally. I'm actually quite dyslexic, but it shaped my career in a positive way. It gave me visual superpowers. 

I have a lot of experience in disruptive digital marketing and I've been working at code d’azur for Polestar for the last few years. This was an opportunity for me to explore what a brand experience can do digitally on a large scale. Sometimes you have to be thrown into the deep end to discover new skills and your own ambitions. And you always have to stay relevant to the digital world that is transforming so rapidly. 


This of course depends on what exactly I have to judge, someone's portfolio or a project for a client is different. Judging design can be subjective, and the criteria can change depending on the type or purpose of the design itself. When it comes to the creativity of an experience, I always judge by originality. That doesn't mean you always have to go all out – a concept absolutely shouldn't exceed its purpose. 

I frequently see stunning experiences pass by where it takes too much effort to get through. I find this a real turn-off, despite the fact that it might look incredibly good. It’s more important that there is an immediate emotional reaction to first time seeing work. 

But to determine whether a design is good or bad, you really need to zoom out and ask: Who is it for, what is its purpose, and does it matter? 


I love to work as part of a multidisciplinary team. If you’re trying to make something truly unexpected a reality, often that’s only possible when you can bounce ideas off each other, and feed off of multiple disciplines. In my profession, you also really need each other. 

I like to start from a blank sheet and not look too much at what others are doing. Especially if you want to be original, looking at other designs first can impact what you actually make yourself. There is so much cool stuff in the digital world, it’s so easy to fall in love with an example someone else has made, and then it can be impossible to let go of it. Inspiration can obviously motivate us, but sometimes it can block us from being truly creative. If you’re not careful it can make you quite lazy.


In school, I was not a top student. I got low scores, except for art and other creative subjects, and I was diagnosed with dyslexia fairly late. The creative seed was really planted when I started my further studies at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten. I learned to think in a completely different way. 

I like to work as much as possible and really sink my teeth into projects. It forces me to get things done. I also enjoy working on things that I’ve never done before. That’s always a great opportunity to learn and develop as a designer. 

Since art school I’ve always been surrounded by creative people. All my best friends are creative in their own way. And so are my colleagues. My work environment at code d’azur feels very unique, with a lovely culture. I get to work with people from so many different backgrounds. 

My advice to other companies would be to bring in young talent and let them express themselves in their own authentic way. Don't let yourself be steered too much by the traditional way of doing things.

Work from code d'azur
Childhood Cancer Awareness Month campaign
Princess Máxima Center
Go Beyond The Obvious
IMC Trading