Struggling to come up with a name for your new t-shirt or apparel brand? Well, this is actually the easiest part of starting your own brand!
Our creatively just seems to dry up when it comes to this seemingly momentous task. And unfortunately, without knowing what to call yourself, you really can’t move too far forward without a solid name in place.
It can become so frustrating that many wish to give up entirely. However, it’s often a lot easier to come up with a brand name than people make it out to be, especially if you follow a systematic approach.
And while everyone must choose their own route, there are a number of general principles that will help you craft your ideal brand name. So before you let writer’s block get the better of you, you need to check out this amazing infographic from the Printsome team:
Further Considerations For Naming Your Brand
1. Borrow Inspiration From Others
While it wouldn’t be recommended to “steal” names from existing brands, you can certainly piggyback on the inspiration they provide. If you start poking around the “About Us” page they may even discuss where their name comes from. This simple process alone could flood your mind with plenty of interesting ideas.
Look for brands that catch your eye, and more importantly, will also catch your audience's eyes. You can take a similar word or a name that they did, or zero in on the subject that they based their name off of. Play a little word association to find a combination of similar words that reflects your own brand.
If you're still at a loss, take a moment to think about what celebrities or target groups you want to see wearing your brand. Draw up a list of keywords that best represent these people as a whole. Feel free to use a thesaurus or word bank, but just be careful that you don’t overdo it and choose words no one can even pronounce or understand!
2. Make Sure You Can Use It
After you’ve just spent several hours uncovering awesome names, you'll need to check if other websites and brands are already them. This part is probably the most infuriating part of choosing a name, it often seems every single brand name has already been taken by someone else.
If it’s a unique name, chances are the domain or one close similar enough, will be available. Or if someone else is already using a brand name your dead set on using, you might still be able to, as long as you aren’t both selling in the same industry.
Another factor to consider is the region and countries you will be operating out of. For instance, in the United States, if a company is specific to a certain area, you may still be able to use the same name in another region.
While you probably wouldn’t be able to call yourself Wal-Mart Tees, as they are an international brand; if you wanted to launch Ted’s Shirts in Minneapolis and there’s a Ted’s Shirts that only sell within Alaska, you’re probably alright to do so.
Other things to consider after you’ve found a name is whether the internet domain is available. You want to keep it to be easy and memorable, that way it’ll be easier for others to access. If, however, the only domain available is a little long or cumbersome, you may want to simplify it, even if doesn’t completely reflect your name.
Before going any further, find out now if you can get the necessary trademarks in place. Depending on what country you are operating out of, you will have a different set of policies to follow. Be prepared to drop some money, as trademarking isn’t the cheapest thing to do. However, it’s truly an investment and the best way to protect others from using the name you spent so much time working to develop.
3. Bring in Your Squad
Like with any important undertaking, the friend test often proves to be invaluable. But rather than just asking whether or not they think it’s a good name and/or domain, see if it survives a night out.
Try bringing up your new business name and domain in a loud place. If you and your buds are going bowling or to catch a game at the local bar, see if they can understand what you’re saying despite the amount of noise. If they can’t make out the name in a couple of tries, it may not be the easiest name to understand.
Try scribbling the name out on a bar napkin while you’re out and about. While some people do have the penmanship of a chicken, the name should still be fairly easy to read in plain black and white. If your name can be mistaken for multiple other names or words, it will more than likely confuse others.
Finally, just how avant-garde did you go with it? Does it make sense at all? Is it too ironic? Too complex? Did you find the biggest word in the thesaurus even though we already said not to? If your closest friends can’t wrap their heads around your brand name, chances are, your future won’t be able to either.
4. Imagine Your Name as a Tattoo
While you certainly shouldn’t run out and get the name inked onto your arm, you should think of your brand name in these terms. The name of a brand will, for all intents and purposes, be a name that must withstand the tests of time. This isn’t something you can change weekly, monthly, or even yearly. A brand, even without a permanent building, is itself permanent. As a result, if you have any qualms about the name at all, go back to square one until you’re satisfied.
Do people enjoy the way your brand name sounds, or does it turn them off? If you can run a poll to your target audience, you'll learn a lot about their perception of names. This is a great way to find out if there’s some inappropriate slang term you hadn’t heard of or other disparaging remarks concerning the name, allowing you to change it before it gets set in stone.
Go Get Those Creative Juices Flowing!
Names start out simply enough; researching brands you like and brainstorming relevant keywords and similar terms you can use based off of your favorite brands. Then find out if it’s useable online by checking domains, looking up any and all definitions of the word, seeing how many other companies are using the name, and even checking to see if it sounds better in one language over another.
Next, you have to make sure your immediate circle can understand and pronounce your name, even in a busy and loud environment. If your name is easily readable, it’s probably a solid choice. Finally, remember to keep it short, sweet and maybe a little quirky. People always remember “Ebay”, but they didn’t remember “AuctionWeb” (it’s original name).
Finally, it’s best to protect your name now with relevant trademarks and drawing up your first logo, so long as you know this is the name you are going to stick with.