1. What do I want my brand to communicate?
Make a list of as many adjectives as you can that you want your brand name to evoke. Maybe you’re a knife company that want to be considered precise and bold, so you choose a name with sharp diction. On the other hand, if you’re selling stuffed animals for infants, words that represent your brand may be “whimsical” and “fluffy”. In that case, you definitely wouldn’t want to choose a name with sharp diction; you’d want to pick something that will make people feel like they’re playing on a bunch of stuffing!
There's a local company here in Park City called Ritual Coffee. Besides their entire visual brand being absolutely beautiful, I love the way they used their name to evoke a particular feeling with their audience. According to dictionary.com the word 'ritual' means "a prescribed or established rite, ceremony, proceeding, or service." When you think about the concept of sitting down to have a cup of coffee, it is in fact, a ritual of sorts. It is a comforting, familiar practice that we participate in almost in a ceremonious manner (especially those of us who indulge in our daily cup o' joe, we know!). Ritual created a brand name that makes you feel invited to participate in the practice of sitting down to a nice warm and comforting cup of coffee.
If you want to mimic the way Ritual came up with their name, try to come up with a list of at least 20-30 adjectives that similarly describe the way you want your audience to perceive your brand. Maybe one of these words will end up working as a stand-alone name, or combined with another category/descriptor word at the end (i.e. design, nutrition, solutions, etc). Perhaps it could even work as part of a play on words like this second question in our list:
2. Should I include any symbolism or plays on words?
Oftentimes, people will include animals or numbers in their brand names. This is because it is an easy way to associate themselves with a certain vibe/feeling while also taking advantage of imagery. For example, if you’re the founder of a business that sells stuffed animals for infants, you'd want to think of elements that relate to your brand adjectives. Maybe words like 'whimsical' or 'fluffy' are ones you'd use when determining how people should think of your brand. Coming up with words that fit these adjectives can help play a part in creating a name. For example, something that's 'whimsical' and 'fluffy' could be a cloud, so you could potentially incorporate clouds into your name if it works!
Sometimes a play on words can be more like a combination of two words or concepts. For example, a recent client of mine came to me in need of help to decide on a good business name. Their business was going to be centered around alignment work and health, with customized plans for each individual. Since many of their clients were going to be coming to them in need of a specific solution for their alignment problems, I brainstormed some ideas around that particular concept. Through that brainstorming process, I came up with a few different words to describe the concept, including: prescription, solution, fix, remedy, recipe, etc.
From these words, I started thinking about how their solution really feels like a 'prescription' for a problem. Since the word 'prescription' was a little too long, and didn't flow as well as I wanted it to, I brainstormed variations and words that could portray this same concept. I came up with 'RX' since this is commonly associated with prescriptions. Knowing that I wanted to use the word 'align' in the name, I played around with variations until I came up with Align RX - which implies a perfect alignment prescription. This ended up being the winner!
Don't feel like you absolutely need to incorporate symbolism if it doesn't work perfectly for your situation. New businesses who choose this route can often find themselves confined to a specific symbol, which limits the growth or expansion potential. Which brings us to...
3. Is this something that can grow with me?
Remember that your business could potentially expand, contract, move, etc. In the case that any of this happens, you need to make sure that whatever your name is, it isn’t too specific to what you currently offer. Stay away from anything related to geography and be sure that if you choose to describe what kind of business you have in your name, that you’re more general. If you’re a graphic designer who wants to someday learn web design, for example, “Allison Wright Graphic Design” may not be the best option—maybe opt for “Allison Wright Design” instead because it encompasses the potential you have for growth.
Or go an entirely different route and name your business something that doesn't limit it to any one individual! If you know you want to grow your business beyond yourself and perhaps sell it one day, it might be a good idea to think about a name that isn't tied directly to you.
4. Is it easy to spell/say?