Igor. He is also the founder of WordLab, a website that offers free naming resources and discussion forums.
According to Jurisich, a good name demonstrates your brand and your
values. A bad name forces you to resort to explaining and advertising.
In the Igor Naming Guide,
Jurisich breaks down naming pros and cons in four broad categories, showing why some are powerful and others are just plain
Functional and descriptive names like Subway and Martha Stewart work
when the point is to direct attention to the company brand. They're not as effective when all they do is explain what the company does. Consider the blandness of these (real) companies: ABC Name Bank, Name Generator,
Naming, The Naming Company, Strategic Name Development ... and so on and
Invented names like Oreo, Kleenex and Google are great because they're
memorable and fun to say. Less interesting are names built upon Greek
and Latin roots, like Acquient or Agilent. These may be easier to push
through the trademark process and come off sounding official, but you
better have an advertising budget big enough to explain what it is you actually do.
Experiential names like Infoseek and Magellan play off the experience
of using a product or service and make sense to the consumer. But on
the flipside, they're used so often the impact is dulled. For example,
Explorer and Safari are browsers--and SUVs.
Evocative names are usually the most successful (Yahoo and Apple), but
also the hardest to get right (apparently companies with failed
evocative names all disappear).
"Names are about human language and human conversation," Jurisich
asserts. "It doesn't matter how many linguists you can get to justify a
particular name. Everybody is saturated with messages and people can
only remember so many, and they're only going to notice a name that is
memorable. When it goes out into the marketplace, it's going to live or
die based on how well it succeeds as a piece of tangible poetry."
And what about business names that make you crack a smile? (Some goodies: Don't Eat the Furniture!, I Used to Be a Tree, Stoner Inc., Shrine of the Black Madonna Bookstore)
No good, Jurisich says. "Sometimes it's a fine line, but names that are
different just for the sake of being different might get you noticed or
remembered initially. But like a one-liner, they usually diminish over
And speaking of humorously bad names, check out these two lists that were too good not to share:
Best Names for Bad Banks
Bad Names for Professional Wresters