Nancy Kanter, a writer at Disney Junior, first approached Gerber to come up with an idea for a children’s show revolving around a princess during her childhood. He was determined to give a modern spin of the classic "fairy tale" element of the pitch. Thus, creating Sofia the First. When Gerber was stuck in traffic while driving in Los Angeles, he immediately looked back at his childhood and found inspiration from his own home life to create a show with a family that many children could identify with. Growing up in a Stepfamily, he wanted to emulate how normal this type of situation for people is. He provides the young princess with a stepsister, stepbrother, and stepdad; something that is a new territory for her. Gerber's then three-year-old son, Miles, was also an influence for him, constantly making believe, sometimes even as a princess, which led him to provide a character that he could relate to.
Gerber designed Princess Sofia to be a role model for both boys and girls. Kind, courageous, bold, and curious were just a few of the qualities Gerber wanted to give Princess Sofia in order to make a positive character. Another important element he wanted to provide her with was to make her flawed. Sometimes she could mess up dealing with issues of sibling rivalry, sharing, or trying new things. This was a very important message Gerber wanted to provide to his young viewers.
Following his success with Sofia the First, Gerber went on to create Elena of Avalor. He was aware that there had been many Disney Princess of color, but not one of Hispanic roots. Gerber was careful not to state what country she is exactly from, but rather incorporate the "influence" of the location.
When Sofia the First had first launched, there was some confusion as to whether Princess Sofia was the first Latina Disney princess or not. This derived from Sofia’s mother, Queen Miranda, appearing to be Hispanic with darker skin and features. This was a false statement made by a producer which has since been disproven by Gerber and a few more members of the Sofia the First crew.