Welcome to Naming Brands

The letters of the English language constitute a resource more limited than almost any other you’ll find in the natural world. Just 26 units. Yet we have managed to rearrange, reformulate, refine, and recycle these with an ingenuity which has so far seemed endless. Even so, a certain level of — what shall we call it? — of exhaustion exists in the burdens continually helped upon the language. OMG, TTYL, LOL may have started life as requisite abbreviations to save time and money on your data plan (or later incarcerated into Twitter’s cell), but now they and their numerous spawn are suggestive of a collective sigh of relief. So it goes with the “ish-ness” of language. How are you feeling? Okay-ish, easily reduced to a mere “ish”. And multi-syllabic words…who needs ’em, when I can easily get the point across with a verbal gesture? Over time, a branded grunt!

Welcome to an exploration of all things related and relevant to brand name development. This is a topic of great fun and relevance as it is both a professional discipline as well as something we all do. Just like playing catch with a baseball, we wind up and pitch the ball with the intention, fast or curved, of a strike. Or so we hope. We have pet names and peeved names. “That’s what I call it” we say when someone raises a confused eyebrow. Our malaprops aren’t always ignorance either; we also express individuality and creativity through our donkey-pins. At the office, a new service is in development — what do we call it? How could they name it that? Is this a good name or a bad name? Upon what criteria can we evaluate ahead of the market’s determination? Does it make any difference at all what something is named?

We’ll explore these questions in the examination of market product names new and old. On the way we’ll discuss linguistics, psychology, trends, semiotics, branding, graphic design, typography, etymology, orthography, and a good deal more no doubt. It could be a bumpy ride. While I’ll call ’em as I see ’em, I’ll also thank goodness for instant replay. Welcome. Glad to have you along.

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