Perform Brand Design


There comes a time in every marketer’s life when they are looking for a name. Whether you are setting up a new company, a start-up or expanding your product or service portfolio, there eventually comes a point when the idea for a new brand is born. That’s when you start looking for a name in earnest on your own, with your entire team or with the help of an agency.

And because I’ve done it many times before, I’m happy to give you my recipe on how to go about the process. I will guide you by the hand – step by step, so that you don’t forget anything and so that slip-ups and mistakes are minimised. I will show you how to put into practice a plan for moving from strategy to action quickly, smoothly and fairly painlessly. Because, as we know, mistakes made at the start of the branding process can cost you dearly.

A good brand name

Have you ever misheard a company name on the phone? Or perhaps you worked for a company whose name, website or e-mail address was impossible to dictate to a customer? Perhaps there were double vowels, a hyphen or an underscore? You may have had a hard time repeating language-breaking neologisms. Or maybe you happened to buy a cosmetic that was particularly good for your skin, but unfortunately you never repeated the purchase. Have you ever come across an exceptionally tasty, fruity drink that you unfortunately couldn’t recommend to others? Why? Because you didn’t remember the brand name or the packaging design.

Features of a Good Brand Name

  • light, versatile, catchy and easy to repeat,
  • resists momentary trends,
  • carries significance for consumers,
  • facilitates brand extension processes,
  • has typographic potential (looks great in both text and logos),
  • free from legal defects (registrable and non-infringing) – you have probably heard of at least one case where, after several years of using a brand name, a company receives a letter stating that the name conflicts with another, registered name. The scenario is usually similar: entities using the same name fight over it for years, and the one who proves to have used it publicly first wins.

Consequences of Choosing a Bad Name

  • You risk failing the process of bringing it to market.
  • You are exposing yourself to a much higher cost of brand work, especially in the phase of intensified communication activities and rapid growth in popularity / market share (in the wake of the principle ‘whoever has no idea must have a lot of money’.
  • An inappropriately chosen name can have a bad connotation in other languages.
  • If the name is not registered, it exposes the brand gestor to legal problems. And, in the worst case scenario, it can even lead to the starting point – reinventing a new name for an already promoted strong brand.

Therefore, already at the stage of planning the name, it is worth bearing in mind a few important elements that will help you minimise the risk of the whole venture. I will talk about these later in this article.

A good brand name in 6 steps

STEP 1 — Establish criteria for the good name

This step coincides with the strategic branding planning of the product, company or service for which the new name is being created. When you are designing a one-product-brand, you inherently have a great deal of freedom in its creation. You can proceed directly to the second stage of name creation.

The matter gets more complicated, however, when the brand is already operating in a group of other brands or when it is immediately clear that it will cover several product lines under its umbrella. In this case, the first step should be to define the brand strategy for which you will be developing a name. This is first and foremost about its architecture – the formal basis for all kinds of creative activities. The second important aspect is its planned look and feel. In other words, even before you start looking for a brand name, it is worth considering what associations it should bring to mind and how it will connect you with the people you want to reach with it.

And here are examples of how naming works for the four most popular endorsement strategies.

STEP 2 — Create names spontaneously or use a specific strategy

Start the search for a name by generating as many names as possible that are relevant to the objectives and needs of your business. Therefore, the more creative people who participate in the brainstorming, the better. However, the idea is not to create a list with dozens of medium-quality suggestions (along the lines of ‘something will be picked’). What you really need is just one name. ONE, BUT A GOOD ONE. Just how do you come up with the most appropriate one? I’ll give you some strategies for coming up with a name for your brand:


The name can simply communicate who runs the business and what the company does, i.e. what kind of offerings consumers can expect from it. This strategy will work well in:

  • small service businesses (look at the common Kowalski Transport or Pawel Remontuje),
  • among lawyers, experts, in the fashion community (wherever it matters who actually does the work).

Examples: Carl Zeiss, Max Factor, Ben & Jerry’s.

The advantage of having a name in a name is that it is easier to provide legal protection for the brand. In addition, it has a good effect on the public, providing a seal of approval that guarantees quality. Did Carl Zeiss produce top-quality optical equipment? I don’t know, but you’ll admit it sounds like he was experienced, reliable, even the best at it and certainly not the cheapest.

Caution! Not every name has naming potential. In some cases, I recommend clients to use an invented name.


The name can describe the product or service itself, explain how it works. An example would be Pinterest, an American social networking site. From the name itself, it is probably all about ‘pinning’ anything that ‘interests’ you on a virtual corkboard (pininterest). Here the names can be broad – or CitiBank (where everyone immediately guesses what the business is about), but also narrow. When we use it’s more in search of cheaper, non-distant, spontaneous getaways.

Names of this type are usually easier to remember than made-up names. Plus, everyone knows how to write them, which is a big plus. And if you search well, you can find an available .com or regional for example .pl (Poland) domain.

Caution! Narrowing the name, referring to a niche or specialisation strengthens the brand and initially helps the business, but is sometimes problematic in the later phases of intensive growth and the first downturns, when the offer should be expanded with new products. This is worth taking into account.


It can be a noun or an adjective that connotes a positive emotion (The Mighty), a memory or an admirable quality (Ancymondo – the name of a children’s playroom, Eparence – a line of facial cosmetics). Among metaphorical names, proper names are also chosen, such as Nike – the goddess of victory, which are immediately interesting to visualise because they are simple and evocative. Brand name creators also use words borrowed from another language, as the US technology company Uber did. This name comes from the German über (over), which proves that names formed from the association with the word ‘best’ also make sense. The name O2 may not immediately be associated with the company’s field of activity (British mobile phone network or Polish Internet portal), however, it carries the idea of lightness, oxygen, life, which can translate into a positive perception of the brand.


This name sounds kind of Italian (Innoveda, Info Veriti or Aviva) and carries certain connotations. It is more suitable as a company name for a big brand – global, secure and reliable. Remember that modern names (e.g. neologisms), detached from the conventions of the industry, suggest crossover, brand speed and younger target groups.

Example: the name Accenture, which comes from a shortening of the phrase accent on the future.


It is a trend that is clearly in decline. It emerged at a time when it became apparent that all the four-letter domains in the world were already taken, and of the five-letter ones, only neologisms remained. Brand gesticulators started combining with letter rearrangements, vowel omission (Tumblr), consonant/vowel duplication (Google). They attracted attention through a creative spelling mistake (Netflix – a combination of English net nad flix (from flicks) film, only that with incorrect spelling), a creative typo or replacing letters with a matching digit – all to find a free domain. Today, however, the new-to-market start-up is worrying less and less about getting a .com extension. In the age of smartphones, we no longer type in domain names ourselves, more often we click on a link or the algorithm itself tells us which offer we might actually be interested in. No one is surprised by domains either .it (Italy’s national domain used as an association with the IT internet industry), .fun or .company or creatively suggesting the brand’s offering (e.g.


It is a name that humanises a brand by comparing it to a human, often in the h2h trend. This new naming trend is intended to familiarise us with artificial intelligence. In the brand name, a name is most often chosen here, like that of a real human being, and the brand itself is given human characteristics (brand personality, brand archetypes). This is because people are more likely to buy from another human than from an anonymous machine. Examples:,, (interiors and decoration) , Oliver POS (WooComerce area brand).


A neologism is an invented name, such as Kodak. We create a word that does not yet exist so that the brand name evokes warm but fuzzy feelings (like Xperia, which comes from the English word experience – experience) or associated with a specific idea (Xerox – photocopying, TiVo – television). In this strategy, we aim to develop a name that sounds familiar, however unique.

STEP 3 — Shorten the list of ideas to the names most beneficial to the brand

A reminder of where we are. You already have a list of name suggestions for your brand. Now you need to trim this list down to the ones that will be most beneficial for your business. When selecting the best proposals, be sure to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is the name short, catchy, easy to read and repeat? Does it have ‘flexible’, so will it be easy to expand into new product lines and create sub-brands (the question applies to brands in mixed strategies and when an umbrella brand is planned)?
  • What name carries associations in the most common European languages (e.g. German, Italian, French, Russian)? I’m fluent in several foreign languages, so when I’m working on a name, I always check its meaning (and associations) in the languages given beforehand (plus Spanish). However, if you are creating the name yourself, it is worth talking to native speakers and asking them how they associate the name.
  • Does the name have typographic potential? If you don’t know much about typography, it’s worth consulting a typeface designer (you’re welcome, the interview and consultancy service is always free of charge. We are happy to share our knowledge and our insights).
  • Doesn’t the name stem from current fashion? A good name is timeless. Therefore, consider whether you can avoid the recently frequent deliberate spelling mistakes, popular especially in start-up naming. Another momentary practice is to add numbers to the name, in place of some letters. While starting a name with a bio or ai segment heralds image success, it is worth remembering that a trend in itself should not be a brand idea, as I wrote about here.
  • Can a name benefit from trends in our industry? An example of a new trend is giving brands human names. This is particularly popular with artificial intelligence and chatbot developers. The trend towards the humanisation of computer software is entering boldly and irreversibly into the lives of the average consumer.
  • Does the name connote too much convention (just to remind you of the rash of names like Health World, Nail Planet, Beauty Laboratory and Pizza Factory)? Or does it bring to mind a particular product or business? I am an advocate of considering the potential of names also in the context of culture – general (this process involves, among other things, looking at the names of up to a thousand companies, recently registered in a given industry in Poland and the EU). The idea is to reduce the danger of a name simply not standing out enough.
  • Does the name simultaneously sound familiar and unique?
  • And last but not least: how does your name present itself against the competition? How does it work in the industry environment and among the brand names that your target group chooses on a daily basis? Mapping and substitution tests can be useful here. It is therefore a good idea to give yourself a little more time to verify the resources of your chosen concepts. And if finances allow – it is worth working on the name with the help of a strategist or consultant.

STEP 4 — Check availability of WWW domains

Once you have light and catchy names that fulfil your strategic objectives, it’s worth checking the availability of .com domains (if it’s important to the brand – it’s not always an image must have). We can do this on the hosting providers’ website and book the domains of your choice straight away. This is what we do at Perform Brand Design agency. When working on brand names, we always book or purchase all the names presented. They are legally researched and presented in the context of the principles of the visual system.

I have already encountered twice a situation in which I proposed a new company name to a client, after which it turned out the next day that the .com domain name he was interested in was no longer available at the standard starting price of a dozen or so zlotys. Unfortunately, frequently searched names are automatically sent to the domain exchange, where they receive a new price, usually higher than a thousand dollars. I already know that I will not make this mistake again – there is no point in exposing myself to the additional cost, especially when the name fulfils all the other, very difficult, criteria of a ‘good name’.

At the same time, it is worth bearing in mind that the world is moving to smartphones. In the world of search engines, it doesn’t matter what our domain is – regional, fancy or classic. Soon it will be Siri (the intelligent personal assistant) that will suggest which product is worth buying. Algorithms analysing our preferences will only suggest what has a real chance of appealing to us and what we are actually prepared to buy. ‘Pure’ domains, i.e. a name with a .com extension, will only be desirable for brands in traditionalist, conservative or conservative markets, often the B2B segment. And extremely important when a new brand wants to be perceived as having been present in the market for many years right from the start. A free .com domain is also a good solution for those providing specialised services and management with experience in a topic related to the brand’s offering. For those who will be able to show its familiarity, reliability and momentum (even though the brand is new) through everyday communication. 

Therefore, if you are running an innovative business, in the spirit of an experimental approach, and rely on human-interest design (a design methodology with the human being, his or her needs, expectations, fears, limitations at the centre), then the domain no longer plays a key role. It is important that the website name is unique – short, easy to pronounce and remember – because it is a nod to your customers. A product designed to meet the real needs of your target audience will defend itself, with a .com or any other domain that works well with the name. What image a brand creates for itself depends on many factors: the overall impression conveyed by its graphic design, how the customer can navigate the company’s website, whether the communication is easy for the customer to understand, logical and friendly, what kind of sales or after-sales service we receive.

Another important principle to follow when checking domain availability for a new brand name is the motto ‘the simpler the better’. When rebranding Rainbow Tours, we suggested that the operator invest in the simplest address. And to this day I am of the opinion that it was a good move – first of all, it is impossible to make a mistake when manually typing the name into a search engine (which is very possible in the case of the address, where there may be a few typos), while at the same time the domain corresponds to the “R” brand signet, reinforcing what is most characteristic about it.

STEP 5 — Check for risk of legal defects

An important tip from me! Before you book a domain with a suitable extension, be sure to check the availability of the name in the databases of the EPO, OHIM or WIPO, depending on the industry and geographical area in which you envisage your brand presence and expansion. You can do this work yourself, or you can outsource it to an agency or a firm of patent attorneys. Research is difficult, especially when it involves homophony (names that sound similar), but you will immediately spot options that could prove troublesome in the future and, of course, those that undeniably come into conflict.

STEP 6 — Check the name in visual practice and choose the one

In the previous steps, we have played around with domain extensions and made sure that the name sounds light and connotes well. But it’s time for the real test of any good name – its graphical representation and the possibilities of developing the logo into the principles of an identity system. Sound complicated? I’m already explaining to you what it’s all about.

An aesthetically pleasing logo is no guarantee that the image will be a practical tool to make life easier for the marketing department. On the contrary, a name/mark design detached from the everyday communication reality of the brand, imposed without testing it in practice usually increases the costs of the entire marketing. In the long run, this leads to a situation where more people have to work on the brand. That is why at Politański Brand Design agency, we already check at this stage what a brand launch campaign, advertising slogans, packaging lines or even… rebranding in 5 years’ time could look like!

And now that you have 2 – 4 graphic representations of the name in front of you, ask yourself definitive questions that will point out their advantages and possible disadvantages.


Is the name not generic? Can it be “heard”? Does it draw attention to itself when used in a normal sentence? Can it be read unmistakably (if relevant and does not deliberately indicate origin from another language)? Does it stay within the conventions of the industry (if that is the brand strategy)? Or will it attract the attention of anyone hearing it for the first time?


Is the name short enough to use in everyday speech? How many mistakes can be made when typing its name into a search engine? What is an acronym (a word formed from the first letters or first syllables of the words forming the name)? Does it evoke certain nicknames, misrepresentations or nicknames? I don’t know if you know, but Leroy Merlin, with its Polish-breaking pronunciation, is fondly called Merlin Monroe.


Is the name obvious? Does it bring to mind images from the brand’s first launch campaign? Who will it engage and with what emotions, values, attributes will it win the attention of the brand’s audience? And how do competing brands win their customers (creatively, not sales-wise) and how does the name itself handle this challenge (it will be helpful to juxtapose your new brand’s launch campaign with your competitors’ current campaigns)?


Can you easily extend the name to new product lines (in the brand architecture chosen at the strategy stage)? Can you play with it creatively (wordplay, sayings, proverbs – if relevant to the industry)? Will you effortlessly create further slogans for your next emotional, branding campaigns (brandbuilding)?


Is the name ‘safe’? Is the granting of legal protection likely to be successful? Does the patent analysis show a low risk that the name will come into conflict with another existing and functioning word or figurative mark on the market?


Does the name create an opportunity for the brand to become identified with the category? Does it create a new one in which it can have primacy and dominance? Does the name have the potential to become the sole representative of the category?


Branding is a cycle of strategic and creative activities full of twists and turns, flexible and sometimes difficult to control. Like branding, it requires a combination of strategic, creative and administrative competences.

But let’s not get crazy! The name is important and perhaps its choice is the most important decision we will make in the branding process. But it is not synonymous with it. I agree unquestionably – at the end of the day, a brand is its name. The most money is invested in the name and it is the name that lives independently, in the discussions and recommendations of consumers. This does not mean that it cannot be changed. And if you have to do so, I assure you that the world will not collapse because of it.

If you need support in developing a brand name, a strategy or in the process of bringing it to market – feel free to contact me!

In the meantime, let me know if you found this article helpful. Perhaps you have questions or concerns. I’d be happy to answer them.