Sunday, June 12, 2011

Graphic Design Firm: 8 Ways to Name a Company

Chicago Graphic Design

There are several ways to name a company, and some of the best known companies in the world have the strangest names. Did you know where they came from though? They'd don't just pop out of nowhere (well...not all of them), and there's usually a premeditated strategy behind their origins.

That's the case with many famous branding solutions behind Google, Pepsi, Ford, Digg and many others. Their names stick not only because they're simple, but they're different. There is no ideal way to choose a company name, but choose from the following 8 styles to shape your new company's name.

Family Names
This is the most common style of naming a company, and many car and manufacturing companies follow this convention. The person is usually the owner, founder, a child or perhaps even a celebrity! For example: Getty Images, Ford, Mercedes Benz, Boeing and Dell are all named after the owner or a family member.

Made Up
A creative way of naming a company is coming up with something that nobody has ever heard before or using a nick name. One reason for this might be to make the company sound foreign or to make it sound memorable. For example: Haagen-Dazs is a made up name with no meaning, and Meebo has absolutely no documentation behind it.


The most trendy and often used way of branding a company is using a metaphor or analogy. It's a term that is used to imply or to bear resemblance to something else. It may have no relation to your actual business, but that could be a selling point. Example: Apple, Adobe, and Fuji. Steve Jobs isn't selling apples, you can be sure of that!

Abbreviations or Acronyms
Most convenient, but perhaps not the smartest is using an abbreviation. It should be used only in cases of longer company names. When doing this, you should brand yourself based on how you want it pronounced, individually or as a single word, example: DKNY or BeBo. Example: FCUK - French Connection United Kingdom, and BMW - Bayerische Motoren Werke. Didn't know that one didja?

When you're running out of ideas, just mash two together. Microsoft? Microcomputer and Software. Skype? Sky and Peer to Peer. This naming convention is helpful when your business does more than one thing.

Mythical Origins or Derived
Many company names are formed from reading books, mythology or from a product they sell. Popular names have come from Greek, Latin and Gods and Goddesses such as Nike, Xerox and Volvo. Coca-Cola's name comes from the leaves and nuts used for flavoring.

Word Jumbles
When words aren't enough, combine numbers and letters instead. It adds a little bit more to the company name and can express a hint of techy vibes if needed. Examples are 3Com - a network technology producer, and 20th Century Fox, a film and movie studio.

Be Playful!
Sometimes company names are a mistake, or the owner having a little fun with word play. Sometimes the name comes out of the original idea being taken! Call it a twist of fate, but I call it pure genius. Some of these funny examples are (go figure) - Google, a mispelling of the word Googol, - was already taken, Harpo Productions, Oprah's name spelled backwards.

So the next time you're coming up with a new company name, look through the dictionary, or read a good book. Perhaps you can even take a few of your favorite words and screw around with the spelling. You never know what's going to stick and take off!


  1. Those are really great tips on naming a Graphics company. With great demand for graphic design company in the web, your name should be catchy.

  2. Thanks for commenting Michelle, there is a lot of demand for graphic design firms on the web and very few names left! We have to be especially crafty these days.