How to choose a company name

A client recently approached me for a logo design. He had a unique request. He wanted me to design a logo, but had not decided what his company name would be. I guided him through the process to the best of my ability. Here is the method I came up with on how to choose a company name. I am sharing the insights I came up with. I am sure there is more to say on the subject.


Decide who your target market is.

This is really important. If your business works with business men in their 40’s, a name that is too cute might not work. If you are selling toys to small children, a cute name might be appropriate.


The next step is to research. There are different approaches to this. Firstly, you can do a google search for businesses with a similar niche. This is a really useful thing to do because it will tell you almost immediately what types of names are popular. In all likelihood, if the companies you find have been around for a while, the names are working for them.

Another approach to research is to is to create a focus group of people who would be ideal potential clients. Alternatively you could do one on one interviews. You can ask them for word associations that remind them of the business or service. You can also run potential name ideas by them and see how they react.

What you are attempting to do is to define what would work in the minds of your consumers.

The focus groups are not essential, but can be really insightful.

Write a list.

In this step the magic happens. I have been in various creative businesses and I have discovered that brilliant creative ideas very rarely pop into your head. When I come up with an illustration, I usually have to draw 5 or 6 sketches. Usually the 5th or 6th one is the one I go with. The reason for this is I am exploring ideas in the sketching stage. I usually discover solutions that I would never have thought of without the sketching stage.

I suggest to do the same thing with coming up with a name. Write out an extensive list. Any name, no matter how bad should be written into the list. The reason this is such a great way of coming up with a name, is each idea you write will inspire more ideas. When you have a list, you can try variations on the names you already have. Here are some examples:

Jones videos

Jones video design

Jones visual design

You will notice I have kept the name Jones consistent and have played around with different variations on that theme. I don’t think any of the 3 names above is amazing, but I am just trying to illustrate my point with examples.

Let it simmer for a day or so.

Once you have a sizable list, put it away and don’t look at it for about a day or two. When you look at it again, you will be looking at your list with fresh eyes. You will find that some names jump out at you. This fresh perspective will help you to know which ones work the best.

I have given a few insights into choosing a name. These insights are not the only insights I can think of, but I don’t want to dilute my main point. Choosing a name is no different to any other creative process.

I hope this post has demystified the creative process of name choosing. Let me know how you choose names in the comments below.


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