5 Questions To A Name Creator
One of my favorite creative people, Bibejan, and I talk about name creation all the time. As we’ve been working together for such a long time, we know exactly what to do when a new project comes in. We thought it was about time to tell you about our approach to name creation based on five frequently asked questions.
#1 – Where (the hell) do you start?
Good question. We always start with a good read. We research, Google, mystery shop, check out the competition and discover everything we can about the company online. We’re curious and consider ourselves team members for the next couple of weeks.
Our creative brief contains the most important information, and the three or four creative routes direct us along the way. Now the fun can begin. We start off with brainstorming and we write down everything that comes to mind. Words, symbols, brands, sayings, quotes, songs, people, word parts and names.
#2 – And then what?
Now it gets serious and we start creating real names. Bibejan leaves the creative routes behind, I can’t do without them. We both do it old school, pen and paper ready. I create names in my notebook in capital letters – I’m not sure why – and highlight, strikethrough, and scribble. Bibejan creates on white sheets in normal letters and uses every corner of the paper she can find. One page per creative route. We use and misuse words and terms, sentences and expressions, dictionaries and synonym websites, and other languages. We alliterate, combine word parts, rhyme and try different endings. We play and play again, delete names and ideas, and test them.
‘Naming is like wine, you need to try it, taste it and spit it out’, Bibejan says.
Saying them out loud and picking up the phone to hear if the name works, helps. Much to the annoyance of others in the room. She tries a different font, I put a hashtag in front of the name, we check how it works with .com behind it. We live the name for a moment.
#3 – Where do you get your inspiration from?
Inspiration comes from everywhere. From books, Google maps (check out New Zealand for funky abstract names!), shop windows, magazines, songs, newspapers and just walking around the city seeing letters and images everywhere around us. And from life itself, you’ll be surprised what a bucket full of memories, smells and images you’ve got stored in your head.
#4 – When do most names pop up?
We’re sorry to disappoint you. A large part of the work is done in front of the computer, dedicated, zero distractions. Phone off, headphones on and email off. No drinking whisky in a bar and coasters to write down the winning name. Just us and our computers. We both go on walks for some fresh air, creativity and inspiration. They say if you move, your brain moves. And we believe that.
But, never leave the house without a pen and paper or your phone. Names pop up whenever they want to and particularly whenever you don’t want them to. I regularly wake up in the morning to find emails from myself with names in my inbox. If you think you’ll remember them the next morning, you’re wrong. Trust us, keep your notebook close by. It’s an obsession and life won’t get back to normal until the project is finished.
#5 – What do you like most of it?
‘Creating the name is the best feeling there is’, says Bibejan. ‘When you come up with a name that doesn’t exist yet and feels like it could be the one. Of course, it’s great when clients select a name that you’ve created but in the end it’s all team work. You can’t do any of it without the other team members and their creativity’.
I agree that the creative process is the most fun part of a project, as well as diving into a new world you’ve never heard of before. Learning new things, you never knew existed. My least favorite part is disregarding names due to linguistic, legal or Google restrictions. But that’s for later. Let’s keep doing the fun stuff for now.