Naming Your Brand // A Tip

Posted by Alex

Sourced from Man About Town -- note the interesting article name

A while ago I posted on an article about different techniques for naming your brand. I’ve found that method of brainstorming to be particularly helpful, but sometimes you need an extra spark. I wanted to put another tip out there I’ve found success with recently. Maybe if you’re in need of a brand name this will help you find what you’re looking for. (Of course this sort of thing works for band names too — really any entity that you’re charged with naming.)

So if you’re like me, eventually you run your brain dry of ideas if you’re just sitting around trying to think of the perfect name. Per project, I usually have about two or three days worth of *just* thinking in me. After that I go crazy and try desperately to convince myself that something I thought of is actually amazing. One week later, when I realize I’m delusional, I am back to the drawing board, nameless. My favorite place to look for inspiration these days is no longer song lyrics or the dictionary — it’s fashion magazines.

I suppose any sort of magazine would do, but fashion magazines seem to work best. The titles of articles and photo spreads in fashion magazines are rife with clever turns of phrase and exciting word combinations. Basically anywhere they have to think of clever titles for something pretty abstract is where you want to look. A photo shoot where everyone is wearing black for example, probably has some unusual name (otherwise it’d be really boring). You don’t really see it on blogs, but print writers seem to have a insatiable desire to think of the cleverest name for every article they ever write. Some are completely useless for our purposes, but you can usually find enough of a catalyst to get on the right creative track. I like to make a two column list and combine cool words at random, in hopes of striking something exciting. Here is a short list of a few I noticed in the magazines sitting on my desk (and my thoughts on what they could refer to):

Away with Words (maybe for a publisher?)
Under Statements (minimalist clothing line)
Mind Field (think tank or angel fund)
Sharpsuiter (lame prom-type clothing line)
Her Friend the Bandit (versatile…could be clothing, or maybe a hipster joint)
Elements and Gravity (probably for a jewelry line OR cosmetics)

Some fun ones — if you look for long at all you are bound to find something amazing. Of course it may be perfect for a project you aren’t even working on, but it’s always good to keep a running list. I have the PERFECT name for a bar if I ever decide to start one (I’m not telling). Anyway, it’s an idea, hopefully it helps out!

(I realize there are elements of creative thievery at work here. In a way, you are harvesting another person’s creativity for your own benefit, but I don’t think there are any trace elements of plagiarism at work. In most cases, the phrases or words implemented by the writer are common, and are structures you would have come across eventually, either in conversation or everyday life etc. People may disagree, but I think this is a safe technique.)

8 Comments Leave A Comment


Brent says:

January 22, 2010 at 1:29 am

I can relate to the think for only a few days before I go crazy. It’s frustrating anything past that. I agonized over my logo until one night I dreamt the whole thing up, down to the font and everything. The actual creation took about 1 hour, but thinking of it literally took years.

I sometimes use fashion magazines when looking for nice color schemes or something. I had never thought of it for brand naming though. Interesting ideas.


RA_OUL says:

January 22, 2010 at 8:50 am

Really great post! I agree with you all the way…this is a safe technique, especially if you’re taking a single word from a title. This whole concept for developing names is super clever and I’m going to try it when I name my personal work as well as photo shoots. I am always so unsatisfied with half the names I come up so this should help for sure. Thanks for the post Alex!


Anonymous says:

January 22, 2010 at 11:11 pm

I agree on the post, but I hate to say it Alex, but those names you posted aren’t good… They’re just ironic…


Scott Willhite says:

January 24, 2010 at 4:07 pm

I have to laugh at this one a little bit because I am a landscape architect and community planner and this naming process has been used for years in the development industry to name neighborhoods and subdivisions. Unfortunately this has led to absolutely awful names you see for communities such as Luxury Meadows, Forest Heights, Sunny Meadows, Bridgeview, Amber Shores, Vista Ridge, Forest Grove… you know what I’m talking about, the list goes on and on. Ironically, the features that many of these communities are named after (such as forests) get destroyed in the process. It does make for some good band names though.