how to create an effective name.
October 5, 2006 11:09 AM   Subscribe

Choosing a good product / buisness name and logo. The process and how to learn it.

I need to think of a business name. What it conveys will be very important as image in this market (Food and drink) is important. What are the steps that professional designers / image consultants go through when coming up with a name? I once bought an excellent book called "How to have kick-ass ideas" Sure it sounds cheasy but the author really helped to clear up such a difficult task. Has anyone done the same for name making?

I dont want to go to a third party 100$ per job place. Sure they can make a nice looking logo but it wont be personal. It wont really shout why i think my business is the best. And paying a pro is just too expensive.

Any advice?
posted by thegeezer3 to Work & Money (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Does the design work large and small? Business card and billboard? Color and not? Magazine and faxed letterhead?
posted by StickyCarpet at 11:23 AM on October 5, 2006

Keep in mind that these days, making sure the domain name is available before deciding on the final branding is almost crucial.
posted by Robot Johnny at 11:28 AM on October 5, 2006

There is a tension here between coining a name which is unique and highly protectable (Kodak) versus one that is instantly recognizable yet hard to protect because it sounds like all the other names in some area (Food Emporium).
posted by caddis at 11:36 AM on October 5, 2006

A couple links that might be useful.

From the blue, not too long ago.


A hundred monkeys.

All three of those links should give you some fodder (process, methodology, ideas).

Also, keep in mind that your name is different from your brand, although they work together. Ze Frank on branding as an "emotional aftertaste."
posted by Alt F4 at 11:58 AM on October 5, 2006

I'm a professional namer. A good name isn't $100, it's more like $100,000. Anyone who offers it for $100 isn't going to give you anything you couldn't do yourself.

I'm assuming you have a positioning, some strategy that helps you determine the one compelling, unique, relevant, believable story that you will use to hold all your communications together to ever single audience you communicate with.

The name tells one part of your story, the logo another, the tag/brandline another. But if you don't know what story you're telling, you're not going to do anything worth remembering.

You can't come up with one good name. Because it's legally unavailable. You have to come up with hundreds. The first 100 are the ones that everyone else will come up with. So they're crap. Or they're taken. Find someone or some way to do preliminary legal screening so you can knock things out. No, a Google search doesn't count.

Your marketing and business strategy will make a lot of decisions for you. Whether you use real words or coined, whether you describe what you're doing, or imply the emotion you want it to have, or whether you start with an empty word.

I could go on and on (and I'm about to for a paying client) but I highly recommend the Igor guide to naming (no, I don't work there.)

As far as the logo is concerned, there's a lot of the same thinking, but they have to work together.

With both, if you feel 100% comfortable with it, it won't stand out. Seriously. The best stuff pushes you a little. Because it'll push your customers to remember you -- whether you're B-to-B or B-to-C or whatever.
posted by Gucky at 11:59 AM on October 5, 2006

It wont really shout why i think my business is the best. And paying a pro is just too expensive.

Please. Do yourself a favor. Don't shout why you're the best. The guy who says he's cool is never cool.

A lot of the big $ places, it's not just about the design, it's about the strategy behind it. If you nail the strategy, you can go to someone who is a thoughtful, good freelance graphic designer and tell them what you want to accomplish. And then you can choose your name and mark based on what supports your story, rather than "what feels right" (which in my experience is often the one that feels like what you've seen before).
posted by Gucky at 12:06 PM on October 5, 2006

If you won't budget for a professional, you're being shortsighted. If you're opening a business based on the premise that "you're the best" you're probably not thinking things through. Would you do the build-out on your space without consulting a contractor? Same goes for naming. There is, in fact, expertise involved.
posted by miss tea at 12:12 PM on October 5, 2006 [1 favorite]

I'd suggest this book for insight into the world of professional namers and the creation of brand names.

On preview, Alt-F4's linked blue post has a reference to it as well.
posted by Merlyn at 1:40 PM on October 5, 2006

Response by poster: hey guys thanks for the posts. Im relieved that there is some form of methodology to naming. I don't think ill come even close to the pros but at this point i think my effort would distance myself from the local competition enough.

As for saying "Im the best" in my name, im sorry that was the wrong of me. What I meant was that I want a name that helps my potential customers identify what exactly i have to offer which is different to my competitors offerings (which is incidently why i actually do belive i will be the best albeit in my city). Just like interviews you have to find a way to say what makes you great in a round about way which is what talks about with emotive names.

For the student's designing stuff, Id definately consider it but I would say that would come second after you come up with a name though i will stand corrected.

Anyway thanks and keep em rolling. Also excuse the lazy typing.
posted by thegeezer3 at 2:54 PM on October 5, 2006

I created my brand myself, created my own name, and had some random ideas for a logo, payed $300 to one of those chop shops and got some cheesy earth with swoops logo. I just recently payed an awesome designer $144 and he made me a good looking, versatile, professional, original logo from my idea and is also doing a wordpress template/site for me for a way better price than anyone else quoted me. Also he was the first designer who wasn't really flaky.
posted by thegmann at 12:39 AM on October 6, 2006

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