What’s in a name: Part 1. The process of naming

By Dave,

January 2024


For many, a name serves as the gateway to your brand. It has the power to evoke emotions, foster belief among your audience, and drive action. But, how significant is a name? Throughout this three-part series, we'll delve into our work at Toward, focusing on the art of naming. We'll explore where names fit within the broader branding process and elaborate on the distinct strategic approaches we've employed in various naming projects we've undertaken, starting with the process.

Breaking down the naming process

Let's begin with our exploration of the name-changing process. Crafting a brand name involves complexities that clients must carefully evaluate before embarking on a name change. Here, we'll look into areas that demand consideration when developing a name;

Creating a name

Selecting the right name for your company is far from trivial; it's a decision of importance. Your business name should effectively encapsulate your identity and objectives, as changing it can be a costly and complicated process. Changing or creating a brand name should be a process guided by Branding experts.

Things we consider when creating a brand name:

  • How the name aligns to what you do and your values
  • What your name represents
  • Longevity and adaptability of the name
  • Creating a name that is unique
  • How it translates or can be interpreted
  • How it can work in a visual identity and design system

At Toward we take our clients through a thorough discovery process where we carefully analyse the market they want to operate in, competitors and their brand vision. Our naming discovery process captures all the facets we need in order to create a successful brand name.

the enora brand naming workshop

Naming workshop for Frontier Medical

Company name vs brand name

Have you ever seen a van with an extremely long name? e.g. ‘Sparky Electrical Supplies Ltd’ Yes, they are everywhere and far from memorable. Your brand name does not have to be the same as your company name, infact the more simple and memorable the name the more likely it will cut through the noise.

Consider the example of Coca-Cola, 'Coke' or 'Coca-Cola' being the name people use to refer to the product, whilst 'The Coca-Cola Company' is actually the official company name. Remember your brand name is a visual representation of your company, they can be discarded, abbreviated, extended, or entirely revamped.

Companies have the liberty to craft new brands for venturing into fresh product categories or establishing sub-brands. However, if a company were to adopt its legally registered name as its sole brand name, it would lose this valuable flexibility.

A name is the focal point of your brand, great names can set the tone for how the rest of the brand operates. Striking the right balance is crucial – it's about choosing a name that carries meaning while also functioning well in conversation.

Dave Griffiths

Senior Designer

Using symbols in your brand name

The ™ symbol can be used by anyone to show that a word, phrase, or logo identifies the source of a product or service. Registration isn't required, and many companies use it during the application process.

The ® symbol is exclusively for registered trademarks, to be used only by the owner or licensee in regions where the trademark is registered. You should not use this mark unless your name has been successfully registered.

The © symbol denotes copyright protection for creative works, with registration providing additional legal benefits.

Registering a name for trademark

Registering your name is a means of safeguarding your brand, such as the name of your product or service. Once your name is registered, you gain the ability to initiate legal proceedings against individuals or entities that use your brand without authorization, even including counterfeiters. Registering a trademark is done via the Intellectual Property Office, part of UK Gov. Although you can do this registration yourself, we'd always recommend instructing a trademark attorney or solicitor to do the initial checks and undertake the registration.

Checking brand name availability

When coming up with potential brand names it is important we run checks on the name before we decide to use it in the brand, here are some of the checks we recommend;

  • Whether the name is already registered or trademarked
  • Checking it’s available through companies house
  • If it’s available on social platforms
  • If it’s available for website domains

Here are some useful resources for name and trademark checking:

Check brand name availability for social media
Check domain name availibility
Search for a trademark
Check if LTD company names are available

How names are key to a brand's success

The importance of a name should never be underestimated. It establishes the ambiance of your brand and frequently serves as the cornerstone of your logo's visual identity. Making the right choice can significantly impact how your brand is perceived and how effectively your visual identity system can evolve and convey your message.

Here's a selection of brands that have risen to prominence over the past decade: Netflix, Deliveroo, Uber, Spotify and TikTok. What unites them is their unique, intriguing names that signify a clear purpose. Such names provide a more versatile foundation for crafting a compelling visual identity.

the netflix logo and meaning behind it
the uber logo and meaning behind it
the ikea logo and meaning behind it
the deliveroo logo and meaning behind it
the tiktok logo and meaning behind it
the spotify logo and meaning behind it

Your name, our process

Numerous clients approach us with a common challenge: rejuvenating their existing brand, breathing new vitality into it, and propelling their business to greater heights. A fundamental element in the art of naming is self-discovery—comprehending the underlying motivations of the brand is imperative for selecting the perfect name. Within our naming exploration process, we lead our clients through a series of naming exercises that guide the brand's trajectory and enable us to craft a name that ensures success.

Our Brand Naming Workshop—an invaluable experience for those shaping a brand's story. Whether you're initiating a startup, revamping an established business, or just enthusiastic about branding, this workshop provides the essential tools and insights to craft names that resonate deeply with your audience. Learn more about your voyage into a new brand name, strategy and exploration or get in touch.

a brand naming workshop taken place at frontier medical
an example of one of our workshop tasks using a scale for brand characteristics

Talk to us about how our branding process can help you with your brand name

Branding Services

Up next Part 2. Names crafted through narrative

In Part 2 of our 3 part series we talk about some of our naming projects and the strategies behind them. This part focuses on narrative, storytelling and the use of emotive language in naming. Stay tuned.