At Catchword, if we had a nickel for every client who expressed concern about “bad” meanings associated with proposed brand names…well, we’d have a ton of nickels. Keeping an eye out for potential hiccups when creating new brand names is not only natural—it’s critical. But it’s also important to know the difference between edgy-but-viable name […]
Search online for “what makes a great brand name” and you’ll find plenty of strong opinions. We’ve compiled and organized a list based on articles, agency blog posts, naming guides, and even books about naming. We’ll update this periodically, if new items or sources are found.
A descriptive brand name is a brand name that clearly describes what it refers to (e.g., a feature, product, service, or organization).
I worked on my first naming assignment about 15 years ago at Interbrand San Francisco. I liked it so much that after leaving Interbrand, I decided to start moonlighting as a freelance namer for agencies all over the world. I’ve since lived and worked in Asia, eventually returning to Interbrand San Francisco as director of […]
Back in July, I wrote a post about what to include in a naming brief based on my own experience as a professional namer, interviews with other namers (including Amanda Peterson, Clive Chafer, and Jonathan Bell), and other available resources, like a blog post by well-known naming expert, Nancy Friedman (AKA Fritinancy). As a follow-up to that post, I’m excited […]
In my experience, brand consultants are a contrarian lot. We agree on very little, right down to the best definition of “brand.” The high-level naming process, however, may be a rare point of consensus: create a brief, generate ideas (often hundreds), shortlist, prescreen, and present. If necessary, repeat. But as any home chef will tell […]
Trademarks are a consumer protection mechanism, ensuring that customers don’t mistakenly acquire an item because it bore a confusingly similar mark to another product. This is a twist on the other IP forms, which benefit the items’ creators.
Midterms are fast approaching, and all the candidates have at least one thing in common: they have names, many you haven’t seen before. Can the branch of linguistics that deals with names, onomastics, help us predict election results? That is, do some candidates have advantages simply because of their name? Election research in California, North Dakota, Ohio, […]
Don Norman, design legend and author of The Design of Everyday Things, invited me to speak at UC San Diego Design Lab about how to name innovations. My talk focused on how to create descriptors for innovative products—the part of a name that conveys a product’s category. “Smartphone” and “universal remote” are examples of descriptors. […]
Brand names in the style of “___ and ___” are everywhere. This construction has been around for a while—think Johnson & Johnson, Ben & Jerry’s, Abercrombie & Fitch—but lately you can’t stroll a mall or browse online without running into “and,” “+,” or “&,” particularly in apparel and food and beverage. Big players like Walmart, […]
A few months back, at an overpriced San Francisco juice shop, I met up with a woman interested in becoming a professional namer. After 10+ years in the naming world, I’d had this conversation before. When people hear I’m a namer, their response is often some combination of, “That’s a job?” and “I think I’d […]