As far as I’m concerned, Romeo was off his rocker – when it comes to business, a brand by any other name might not actually smell as sweet. Deciding on a name for your brand or business can be seriously challenging and when you’re putting your whole heart into something and throwing your hat in the ring, why not make it as awesome as possible? I strongly encourage you to take your time with this step and consider all your options — and then some. Here are ten incredible examples of how you might approach the name game for your next project! Take it away ladies…
Yikes, this was a tough one. I had been thinking of names for my future company for years, dreaming of the day I could actually open the virtual “doors”. So naturally there were all sorts of things running through my head. To narrow everything down, I made a list of all my top words/names. I then went through the list, ranked and eliminated, eventually coming up with “Salted Ink.” I loved and breathed the “salted” air for many years living at the beach and the “ink” represented my love for the pen to pixel design process. The final step (which I also recommend all my clients do as well) was to google search the new name and see if there are any other companies with that name, negative connotations or anything that I might not want to be accidentally associated and also made sure the domain was available. Once that was all clear, I purchased the domain and Salted Ink Digital Design Co. was born.
– Sara Marshall Dart of Salted Ink
The one area we made an early investment in – in terms of time and resources – was in our branding. Ultimately, we knew that beyond just building a business, we were really trying to build a brand. We were connected to an incredible individual, Stanley Hainsworth, who runs a company called Tether Inc. in Seattle. He and his team have been responsible for some of the world’s best branding including Starbucks! We worked with their team from the get-go to get our branding “right,” and they totally got our ethos and voice. BRIKA comes from the Spanish word “fabrica” – which means factory. We loved the irony of this word given that what we sell is anything but generic. We landed on this name via Kena’s mother who is a linguist. It must have been our fourth iteration of a name before we felt like we had something that was short, sweet, memorable and rolled off the tongue!
– Jen Lee Koss & Kena Paranjape of Brika
Leif is a Scandinavian male first name. I’ve been fascinated with all things Scandinavian, especially Danish, for years now. Their design and way of life is a big inspiration for me. I chose the name because it’s sort of like a clean slate – the name equivalent of an all white room that I can fill with curated explosions of color.
– Stacy Longenecker of Leif
1) Memorable: With so many cake and dessert designers/businesses out there, I wanted to stand out, but still have an identity with a lasting impression that was easy to remember.
2) Marketable: The name and development of my brand had to be something that I felt confident in marketing towards my target demographic. I felt certain that my business name and identity should encompass elements of not just my work, but the creativity and woman behind a logo. It was important to me to create something I wouldn’t feel lost in as I tried to grow as an entrepreneur.
3) Meaningful: My new business was like a baby! I wanted to make sure each step I took was purposeful and true to who I was as well as why I was doing it all. This part of the naming requirements really helped me filter out ideas I had that were simply catchy and cute rather than something I felt really reflected the heart I had for the business. I am not sure if the business world would always agree that this type of personal attachment is necessary, but it was something that I valued a lot.
4) Available: I can’t tell you how discouraging it was to come up with an amazing name and then find out it’s taken by another business! After this happened a few times, I felt like the task to identify my business was just plain exhausting. However, it also drove me to dig deeper and come up with a name that truly was unique to me and the brand I wanted to create.
I’ll be honest and say that initially, the list wasn’t as complete or planned. Excited to start a new journey and really launch my cake and pastry design business, I just began to brainstorm names. I remember having pages in my notebook filled with words, adjectives, and phrases that either sounded nice or were elements of a bakeshop. I think that brainstorming like that was a good start, but it definitely wasn’t purposeful. It felt almost as if I was just throwing on a pair of sweats to leave the house in rather than putting an outfit together that reflected the weather, how I felt, and who I was. It was through this process that I learned what was important to me and a new business. I suppose “Branding for Dummies” may have covered that, but hey — sometimes you just have to learn things on your own! Right? I always imagined that my business name would come to me in the middle of a thoughtful planning session. Instead, my lightbulb moment came when I least expected it. I was visiting my family with my husband one weekend; we were staying in my old bedroom — which looks exactly as it did when I was in high school. I was going through old photos and boxes of notes from friends. I found a large envelope that had several pieces of notebook paper folded into origami hearts. While looking at the pen marks and writing under each fold on all of these love notes, it occurred to me that there was something they all had in common with the work of my new business. For me, cake and pastry design isn’t about my love for sweets and dessert — it definitely is a main part — but it’s not the reason I left a teaching career. The passion for my business is based upon the fact that I get so much joy in providing edible art for customers to enjoy on their most celebrated moments. It’s about the people, the memories, and the love. Creating unique and custom cakes and pastries for weddings and other joyous events is my way of leaving sweet little mementos. My work makes me feel like I am handing off a little paper heart or love note to a bride, mama-to-be, or birthday boy/girl. Calling my business “Paper Heart” seemed fun, charming and whimsical. By adding “Patisserie” to the name, I felt like I encompassed the sophistication and elegance I knew my business was focusing on. After some more thought, I realized that Paper Heart Patisserie was perfect for me and my new journey in the cake and pastry design business. It felt genuine, natural, and was “the one”.
– Amanda Ngo of Paper Heart Patisserie
fullosophie (pronounced philosophy) is a fun name, chosen to represent a company we created based on our philosophy towards life: to live fully. To us that means a number of things but most importantly, never stop learning, laughing and being active in the community. We often have people asking if our name is Sophie, or calling us full – oh – sophie. The truth is that “y” was taken when we went to go buy our domain but “ie” was available. Having been fans of Anthropologie, we decided to go with it and the rest is history ; )
– Jessica Dixon & Tarin Frantz of fullosophie
I knew I wanted a blog name that was simple and words that flowed together, that had some lyricism when they rolled off the tongue. I also knew I wanted it to convey the fact that local, seasonal cooking is at the heart of much that I do. Lastly, I wanted something that contained even more than “this is a food blog” because I always knew I wanted the space to be more than that. I wanted something that communicated the idea that drives me, the idea of being present and seeking out sustenance of all kinds—physical, emotional, spiritual—where you are, when you’re there. “Local” stands for being in the moment. It’s ultimately about mindfulness. And “milk” is that first food we ever eat, the building block of mammalian life, and as such it’s the perfect metaphor for sustenance in those myriad forms. And that’s how I settled on the name. I like the lilt of it and it conveys everything I believe makes for a deeply satisfying life—living in the present moment & seeking sustenance through great food, beauty, and relationships.
– Beth Kirby of Local Milk
I’ve grown up in a family of artists and painters and when creating my own brand presented itself sort of unexpectedly, I knew I wanted to tie in all of the history and creative process I had been a part of along the way. I have memories of exploring through my grandparents basement and stumbling upon my grandmother’s paintings, watching my other grandma paint and describe her process and my mom teaching me art history and how she creates. It was about journey for me. So when my husband and I were google translating words on our phones of different phrases into French (ha!), he threw out the phrase “my vision.” This is my artistic journey, from past to present. Constantly learning and applying what I see or what my artistic vision is to what I create and the process in between. And I also love that my husband used a google translation of it. It’s not actual french, but it’s “our” French. And I love it.
– Jenna Rainey of Mon Voir
Funnily enough, a girlfriend of mine is looking to start her own blog and we were just recently talking about how I came up with my blog’s name, Lark & Linen. At the risk of sounding cheesy, I actually made one of those word association webs way back when! You know the ones they teach you in elementary school? I wrote my name in the middle of the page and literally just started writing words that I wanted to associate with my brand. Things like adventure, design, casual, cozy, comfortable and the like started coming to mind. When I got stuck, I broke down each word even further. Design became fabric, furniture, accessories. Adventure became care-free, journey, life… I literally wrote anything and everything that came to mind. And once it was all said and done I sat back and simply let the words fall into place. Lark & Linen were two words that immediately stood out. They had a beautiful ring together, plus the type A within me loved the alliteration-al aspect. Lark represents “a merry, carefree adventure” and Linen connotes a casual, woven, unfussy fabric often used in design. It’s a great way to really help you hone in your brand, and to ensure that it stays consistent throughout!
– Jacquelyn Clark of Lark & Linen
I thought of my company’s name back in 2010 when I was first started doing my own floral design. I knew I wanted something simple but catchy. I began by collecting a list of words that related to floral design, nature and my sense of personal style. Some were very obvious while others were pulled from a thesaurus. I use twine to tie off my paper wrapped bouquets so that was one of the first inclusions on the list. “Twine” felt right so from there I played with other words that were more related to flowers. “Twig” popped into my head and so “Twig & Twine” was born. I loved the illiteration and how it rolled off my tongue so I went with it!
– Heather Williams of Twig & Twine
Ahhh, the dreaded naming of the blog. This can come naturally to some, and be a pain-in-the-neck for others! Years ago, when I first started blogging, I decided to name The Proper Pinwheel what it is. Growing up, my mother always had paper pinwheels at my birthday parties. They were kind of a decor staple. So when thinking of a name for my blog, I wanted something unique and that just kept coming back to me. I’ve loved the name and it’s worked well as I’ve shared my projects and passions with my readers. As we all know, our creative paths are constantly changing and I’m actually in the midst of a rebrand! Shhh! Over the years, I’ve honed my aesthetic and feel that I’m a somewhat different blogger than when I first began! The new design elements will still have bits and pieces of the old, but in a way that more expresses who I am and the tastes I have now. I know this is already a novel of an answer, but I will advise you not to take blog-naming lightly. Really consider the type of brand you want to be and the content you plan to share. For many, blogging is a job, so pick something that you’re happy with!
– Lexy Ward of The Proper Pinwheel
Row 1 @saltedink ♥ @shopbrika
Row 2 @leifshop ♥ @paperheartpatisserie
Row 3 @fullosophie ♥ @local_milk
Row 4 @jennamrainey ♥ @larkandlinen
Row 5 @twigandtwine ♥ @properpinwheel
Photography Credits Row 1, photo 1 by @shadi_b Row 4, photo 2 by @heidilauphoto for @larkandlinen Row 5, photo 1 by @tylerbranch for @twigandtwine