An experienced creative director versed in advertising and design. Pieter Konickx comes from a background in graphic design but has spent his career elevating his skillset on broader capacities to allow him to climb the ranks within the industry.
Currently, his work is focused on innovative storytelling and activation ideas and it has seen him win multiple awards across the globe and lead multiple lectures and talks on his achievements.
In a world thriving on experimental advertising Pieter continues to grow in his career and is especially passionate about inspiring and enabling his teams and the next generation of creatives. But enough from us, let’s hear from the man himself and get to know him a little better.
Tell us a bit about your role! What is one typical day like?
As a creative director at B-Reel NYC I mostly focus on digital activation projects for all sorts of clients. I start by understanding the client's product, understand their needs and problems and then work with my creative team to develop a digital activation that helps solve their needs.
What was the biggest challenge in getting to your current position?
To move from creative to creative director you’ll have to convince people that hired you as a creative you’ve outgrown that position. So the biggest challenge is to act like a creative director whilst still being creative. Do the creative exploration but also think like the creative director. It's like doing two jobs, and it's hard, but hard work pays off.
What is your personal background and what role did it play in your career?
English is my second language, and for a while I thought that it would slow me down. But after a while I noticed it was my strength. Sure I can’t write hundreds of variations of headlines with ease, but I can pick one that says what it is supposed to communicate. Being forgein means you got double the reference points. I've seen the same movies made in two ways, the dutch movie “Alles is Liefde '' is a remake of “Love Actually”. It wasn't any better in dutch.
What is your biggest career-related win? What is your biggest loss?
Winning a Gold Lion for the Gorillaz - Humanz album launch is probably my brightest moment, but no one wants to hear about the highs so here is a good low. In 2018 one of the largest fashion houses in the world wanted to create a smartwatch for their latest collection and asked us to help develop the concept.
For weeks we worked to perfect the idea and even got a prototype made. They loved it and bought the concept. We celebrated with champagne and a big night out only to be ghosted and eventually heard it didn't make the collection. A dream shattered.
What’s your secret to remain inspired and motivated?
Not every bit of work needs to go into your portfolio. Sometimes great work is when you are just doing work that builds a great relationship with your clients, and sometimes great work just pays the bills to hire new great talent. All these pieces of work won’t end up in your portfolio but they make that next piece that goes into your portfolio so much better.
Which individuals and/or agencies do you gain inspiration from? Do you have any heroes in the industry?
My inspiration doesn't come from within the industry. I get inspired from the gaming and twitch world. There are so many weird and wonderful games and gaming streamers out there creating really cool stuff.
How has COVID-19 affected you?
Of course going through the pandemic was difficult, stressful and lonely. But in New York we made the most of the empty city. It gave us a new perspective and new relationships formed with the city and the people. Call me an optimist but the pandemic made for an interesting experience where I made some of my best friends.
What is your biggest hope for 2022?
I hope that in 2022 someone invents an ice cream truck that doesn't run on petrol.
What is your one piece of advice to aspiring creative professionals?
Good ideas come to you when you are tired of the brief, bored AF and ready to give up, so at that moment go outside for a walk, grab a drink and write down that idea.
How do you recharge away from the office?
I recharge myself by doing something creative that isn’t coming up with ideas for our clients. I cook, paint, write or design something, it doesn’t really matter what as long as by the end of it there is a result. and sometimes that result is shit, but at least I made something that wasn’t there before.
If you weren’t in your current industry, what would you be doing?
I’d probably be a struggling chef working at his 4th failing restaurant venture.
What’s your one big dream for the future of the industry?
This industry needs to face the reality that it's too white and too male dominated, so my big dream for the future is to get to a point where there is equality throughout the industry and more investment in getting diverse talent into the industry.
Do you have any websites, books or resources you would recommend?
Silence: In the Age of Noise by Erling Kagge is a book I read during the pandemic. It is about how noise is consuming us, how it's hard to escape but when we manage to find silence we find peace. A website I think has a lot of influence in design and art direction right now is Are.na.