The Japanese flag, otherwise known as Hinomaru (or ‘the sun disc’), is for my money one of the simplest, strongest and most visually striking graphic images in the world.

When we were briefed on redesigning the Kotex sanpro brand, the only client stipulation was to retain the ‘red dot’ used as a full stop after the Kotex name. We instantly drew a parallel with the Japanese flag and its visual power and purity, and it became a major inspiration for our redesign.

Imagine, if you will, the Japanese flag turned into a range of physical packs.

It would have incredible standout, especially in the sea of sickly pastels that is synonymous with the sanpro category.

At the same time, we wanted to challenge the functional drudgery of sanpro packaging with a ‘celebration of femaleness’. Sex and the City – with its wit, sassiness, sexiness and fashion bravado – was an obvious second inspiration.

And so, these two seemingly random elements (Hinomaru and the SATC girls) led to our creative solution. We selected a range of accessories – flowers, lipsticks, vanity mirrors and so on (all roughly round, defiantly red and totally female) surrounded by an abundance of white space, married to copy with attitude and a dose of humour and our rebranding was born.

Inspiration can come from many unconnected sources, but it is by connecting these disparate inspirational thoughts that true creativity can flourish. It has certainly allowed the team at Coley Porter Bell to fly the flag for Kotex.

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