Naming your Business

I am a freelance designer, and have been since 2012… when I got fired for sharing my opinion. Anyway, for the longest time, I have just been: [ first last design ] and I am looking to change that for a variety of reasons.
I live on the ocean, in the PNW. I originally moved here because I had a handful of clients from the larger metropolitan regions like Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma etc… and I wanted to be closer to the Surf so I can do that more often while working remotely. Over the last 4 years of living here, a lot of my far away clients have been replaced with more local cliental in the Grays Harbor community.
We have a few casinos around and a hospital, there is plenty of work to be done, god knows this place could use better design. I offer Web Design, Identity Design, Illustration, Updates, and pretty much everything under the sun. I have coding experience but I now choose to build all of my sites in Divi… a pretty robust theme for being a CMS. That I won’t get into details about why, below will explain that further.

My goal: I would like to narrow down my niche to focus on local businesses, at first. They could benefit greatly with an identity refresh and also to get online. To start, and to gather a client base, I will package deals, or bundle marketing deals to start and then eventually fade off from that to do more one on one consulting with price quotes… once I get past the local smaller businesses and take on much larger contracts. I will be using Divi as mentioned above to build websites (cuts time). Some will be more customized in the package deal but for the less expensive deals, people will understand that it is a set theme with very minor tweaks possible, like with color and type. I hold a 4 year degree from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle and have extensive experience. These smaller rural communities are full of sign shops and people who are self taught ‘designers.’ I have a lot to offer the communities I think. I only moved here to be close to the surf and the ocean instead of staying in the rat race… I can visit that anytime to prospect, gather ideas and inspiration.

Also keep in mind that the name I pick will be the Parent company. I am establishing a graphics tees / clothing / fashion / lifestyle brand under that.

With all of that said, I have come up with a few names.

  1. SeaBlish Creative — It is the combination of Established and Sea, so basically ‘Established by the Sea.’ I think it provides a sense of familiarity to the local community here (Westport, Ocean Shores, Tokeland, Aberdeen, Raymond, Long Beach, and beyond in the Coastal Communities.)

  2. Packard Works — Basically my last name. Creative, Studio, Design are all taken as domain names.

  3. Trina Packard Design ---- Sticking with my original name. My business license expired and I am not super stoked on it.

Any ideas? I would love to hear your feedback and welcome all critiques.

I don’t think SeaBlish works. For one thing, no one will identify the breakdown on their own, and even if they did, it doesn’t exactly teem with intrigue. And phonetically, it’s cumbersome.

Packard Works is pretty nice. I’d consider dumping the space for “PackardWorks”. Seems to open up some opportunities to play on your diversity and “process.”

Your full name is also quite nice. “Trina” is an appealingly feminine name. That said, however, I’m never in favor of using “Design” at the end of any business name. It’s so general and so overplayed that it might as well just be a couple of meaningless syllables. Or is it?

Thank you HotButton. This is exactly the kind of feedback I am looking for. I feel like I have been working in a tunnel for so long. Thank god for this forum.

PackardWorks … has a nice ring to it. I have been trying to get away from ‘design’ as well. It is tough to find a name, let alone a domain name available. Below are a few other ideas. Maybe switching up the Trina Packard Design for…

TrinaPackardWorks

TrinaPackardCreative

I’d go with PackardWorks. It rolls off the tongue much more easily than the ones with your full name.

Have you already explored options apart from .com? .net, .us, .design might still be available.

Thank you for the feedback @schweta. That is a good idea to explore those other options. I would like to stick with .com for the main domain, but may look into purchasing others for redirects. I do think PackardWorks is a good solution for my target audience in this area. I want to sound approachable, professional and here to help them find solutions. I think I will roll with it. I have other names for my more introverted/artsy side that can operate under that name to unleash my more unencumbered creative pursuits. I may still sleep on it though!

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My test for a good company name is to imagine yourself answering the phone - does ‘Good Morning, Packard Works’ do it for you? Is it easy to say, is it difficult to mishear?

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Hmmm, not really! :thinking:

Don’t use the ‘Packard’ in the name, as it suggests packaging design, and you would have to constantly explain that it is not the case.

Thank you for your feedback, however I have been going under my Family name for quite a long time now and I have never had that confusion.

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I’m late to the party as usual, but I think Packard Works is a great name.

It might be just me, but it’s vaguely suggestive of the old Packard automobiles from long ago. There’s a slightly retro and industrial quality to it that I find appealing.

Then again, maybe your style doesn’t lend itself to that kind of association and, probably, I’m a little weird in that I’m familiar with the Packard Motor Car Company.

Thanks Mr-B, that is very cool that you are familiar with the old Packard car. Great feedback. I like that idea of it having that retro/industrial feel to it.

I’m late too, but the test I would use is how memorable is it? And how clear is it that it’s not related to Packard vehicles, or even Hewlett Packard?

If I saw just “Packard Works” I’d think it was some offshoot of those. You might keep “Packard Design” on the table for now. It’s clearer.

Thank you @DocPixel PackardDesign.com is taken though and I would not want to have that close of competition with the address. I was thinking that the name doesn’t really need to tell all, because I have visuals to communicate that and cancel out the idea that it has anything to do with cars. Most people will see the name on a card, online, on facebook business page and the website and if designed well, it will not connote anything to do with cars or packaging, I would think. What do you think?

Oh yeah, if the domain is taken already, then that name won’t work.

I do feel that the right name is out there for you, and it’s good that you’re taking the time to find it.

I did a lot of research and brainstorming before I landed on DocPixel. (Photoshop Goddess seemed a little over the top…) :smile:

Haha yes over the top for sure :slight_smile:. It’s a tough one coming up with ones own name!

I think the best thing is to have an assessment of where your clients come from. I knew an agency that spent a lot of time and effort developing an online brand presence. However, most of their clients came from their local area through word of mouth. The name didn’t explain what they did very well, so they used to get a lot of customers who thought they were landscape designers or hairdressers. Worse still there were potential clients who passed over them because they didn’t understand what the agency did from their name!

They then changed their name to “____ Graphic Design” and they immediately saw an increase in clients. They were based in a more rural area, so that might have been part of the issue.

But yeah, assess where your clients come from. If it is indeed from online sources, then having your role in name isn’t as important. But if it’s just from people talking to each other, then you might want to rethink.

Thank you, that’s awesome feedback. It is a very rural beach community so I thinking having the name in it would be practical. I think going to a 4 year university in design has wiped away the practicality in my practice. I think keeping it real for now will be to the benefit of building the business. Thanks again.

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