Theme ideas for project names!
May 8, 2017 11:21 AM   Subscribe

My business unit in a large biotech company dealing with innovative DNA sequencing technology is soliciting ideas for a theme from which ongoing project names will be selected. The theme would have to generate an almost infinite number of project names as conceivably it will be in place for the next ten years or more. Ideas?

As a [boring] example, "astronomy" would allow us to pick constellations, planets, stars, comets, etc. as potential project names. On the other hand, a theme like “colors” might be rather limiting in terms of variety and interest. Looking for fun, creative, professional, ideas!

Thank you!
posted by Everydayville to Writing & Language (17 answers total)
Greek mythological figures are plentiful and cool-sounding. Similarly, one place I used to work would name servers after Catholic Saints.
posted by Funeral march of an old jawbone at 11:44 AM on May 8

Geographic locations - lakes for example

more lists.
posted by pyro979 at 11:52 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]

Types of cheese
posted by aubilenon at 11:54 AM on May 8 [1 favorite]

food, plants, historical people of interest
posted by aniola at 12:32 PM on May 8

Biotech... DNA sequencing... Jurassic Park!

Clever Girl
Pratt (Chris Pratt, it could extend to actors in the movies, etc.)
Isla Nublar

I am also available to continue to generate Jurassic Park project names, because I'm confident I can keep going forever.
posted by cmoj at 12:44 PM on May 8 [2 favorites]

I really like the Greek myth theme.
Candy or snack foods
Star Trek (or insert your favorite franchise) character/place/etc names

Cmoj's Jurassic Park theme is the clear winner here though.
posted by snaw at 12:50 PM on May 8

Adjective Furniture, e.g. Devilish Davenport
posted by batter_my_heart at 1:15 PM on May 8

Names of cities/towns/villages (around the world)
Names of bodies of water (lakes/rivers/seas/streams/canals) around the world
posted by Salamandrous at 2:13 PM on May 8

How about naming them after various Grimm's fairy tales? -- which often tend to involve accomplishing seemingly impossible tasks, after all.
posted by jamjam at 2:20 PM on May 8 [1 favorite]

The "almost infinite number" is tricky, when paired with the desire for something really fun and creative. For example, most software and hardware development companies have batches of names that fall into certain categories, so they can continue for a while, then start fresh.

With that example in mind, here's the Wikipedia list of computer technology code names, and specifically list of Apple codenames, list of Intel codenames, and list of Microsoft codenames.

pyro979: more lists.

The ultimate list is List of lists of lists. "This is a list of articles that are lists of list articles on the English Wikipedia. In other words, each of the articles linked here is an index to multiple lists on a topic. Some of the linked articles are themselves lists of lists of lists."

Because you're looking at a really long list of project names, I assume you could categorize the projects. With that, you could pick a theme per project type, or some umbrella theme with sub-types. For example, main category: mountains; project class A: mountains in North American; project class B: mountains in South America, etc.

And because there are so many categories to pick from, you can think of something that matters (or is a fun joke/ reference) to your company and/or its key people. Keen on Tolkien? Check out the list of Middle-earth articles, which could lead to the use of hobbit family names and Middle-earth rivers being used.

Or if fairy tales are your thing, there's a world of 'em.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:23 PM on May 8 [1 favorite]

Fanciful beasts from the Middle Ages and the Harry Potter universe

and so on
posted by rw at 4:07 PM on May 8

Alice in Wonderland: dormouse, Jabberwocky, Tweedledum, Tweedledee, looking glass, etc.
posted by grinagog at 6:56 PM on May 8 [1 favorite]

Rotate through words starting with G, A, C, and T?
posted by yarntheory at 7:43 PM on May 8 [1 favorite]

As a [boring] example, "astronomy" would allow us to pick constellations, planets, stars, comets, etc. as potential project names. On the other hand, a theme like “colors” might be rather limiting in terms of variety and interest.

If you have familiar or "boring" categories, like colours or animals, you can use the Rainbow Code method of combining them together.

So in your example, each project would get assigned both a colour and an astronomical body:

Black Andromeda
Crimson Castor
Saffron Pollux

It's fun to see what combinations you can come up with, and they can be generated by whatever ruleset you like -- different families of colour correspond to different departments, or the initial letters of the words indicate the year and month the project was started somehow.
posted by rollick at 8:49 AM on May 9

Thank you all! I love these answers!
posted by Everydayville at 10:42 AM on May 9

Fanciful beasts from the Middle Ages and the Harry Potter universe

Back to Wikipedia: list of legendary creatures by type
posted by filthy light thief at 10:49 AM on May 9

That's a good one! I love legendary/ mythical beasts, although I'm not sure how senior management would view such names in advisory committee presentations. Still, submitted!
posted by Everydayville at 10:56 AM on May 9

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