Naming your design business

Do you think it’s best to do something formal with your name in it or go for something more abstract or quirky - How do you decide on a good name for your design business?

What other things do you need to take into consideration, like your positioning, the length of your business name, etc…?

I don’t think there’s a right or wrong choice between the two. There have been plenty of successful and unsuccessful businesses in both camps. I’ve always done business under my own name, but in some ways I wish I’d used a different name.

A quirky name is more apt to attract quirky clients, which might or might not be good. A conservative name might attract more stable clients, which again, might be good or bad depending on who one wants to work with. Maybe it just doesn’t matter all that much.

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Previous thread:

Personally, I’d like to sell the business at some point and retire. It will be easier to transfer if I’m not the namesake of the business. If I leave and the business is synonymous with me, the clients may perceive it as a radical change and jump ship.

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I decided to go with a name that was not my own, partly because my own name is not one I particularly like and partly to keep the business as a separate entity.

At the time, there were so many people using names like, Red Octopus Design, Pink Tortoise, etc, etc. Self-consciously quirky, off-the-wall, alternative names that I wanted something deadpan and anti-design establishment, so I thought about the most pedestrian love/hate thing I could, which was sprouts and only later realised it has exactly that kind of wanky, ‘sprouting new ideas’ connotation. It does seem to have worked though. Over the years I have had lots of people ask, ‘Why sprout?’. My response is always the same, I wanted a name that was unusual enough that you would remember it and ask me why? I had one client who ended up giving it me as a nickname personally.

Comes down to choice. If you have a name that scans well, the advantage is that you create a more personable brand and people feel like they are getting direct attention from the head honcho when they speak to you. People always assume that a company is larger than it actually is. You can foster this assumption to your advantage when you are just starting out.

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Knowing what I know now, I would come up with a logo that works with the name that I have in mind.

A while ago, a poster presented a logo that worked beautifully with the name. Unfortunately, for the world of me I could not find that thread again.

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That’s interesting, I’d never considered the flexibility that’s afforded to you by naming your business something other than your own name.

What are your guys thoughts on giving your business a title like “… studios” vs “… design” vs “… creative” vs “… branding” vs “… digital” - do you think any title is superior to the others?

Here’s a thread on the subject with plenty of sound advice…

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