A good name needs to be three things:
- Easy to Remember
- Easy to Pronounce
So, when thinking of potential names, bear in mind the acronym “ORP” that relates to each of the factors above. If your potential name satisfies each of these categories, it is likely to be good to go!
Making a name original can be quite daunting, as it seems that you have to invent a new word. However, this is not necessarily true. There are many names out there that are contractions of other words or just words that are not used that much. For example, the band “Muse” has a very successful name, but the word “muse” existed before the band. You can find inspiration by looking up synonyms (words with similar meanings) in a thesaurus such as thesaurus.com. If I was naming a band that plays surf-rock style music, a good place to start would be to look up “surf” in a thesaurus and see what it comes up with. Obviously this is just an option and may or may not bear fruit.
In this example, the search term “surf” gives us: “breakers, combers, rollers, spindrift, swell.” Maybe these words inspire you a little?
Another trick for originality is to consider combining two words that make sense. For example, if I were to start a company that deals in investment banking, I could think of ‘winvestors’ that combines the word ‘win’ with ‘investors.’ This has the bonus of making your name have a punchy or humerus touch that can be effective in lightening the tone and giving a subtle sense of freedom.
Once you have a good idea for a name, consider writing it with an alternative spelling. This is another thing that can help making it original and unique. There are many examples of this but to show one, the cinema chain “Vue” seem to have used this technique.
The next point to consider is ‘easy to remember.’
Names can be effective in many ways, but the major part of their job is to be memorable. This is especially relevant for names in competitive areas where there is a lot of attention and you want yours to be the one that ‘sticks.’
The first thing to be aware of is length. Names have to be as short as possible to be remembered. This is why three syllables should be seen as a maximum, especially if it is a name of a product. Band names are not affected much by this.
Another thin that makes a name memorable is a ‘trigger’ that comes from the name having a double meaning. This is used throughout the corporate world. The name can allude to something else that is related to what it titles. The clothes shop “Uniqlo” uses this as “Qulo” sounds like “clothes.” Also note the idea of alternative spelling that is put to use. The prefix “Uni” is used to show that the products are aimed at anyone.
A different way of using allusion in your name is to use a symbol. For example, the fuel company “Shell” uses the symbol of a shell that can be easily remembered by people who think in images, but the name also has a connotation that makes it memorable. This is the idea that shells are related to fossils, and the company is a fossil fuel company. This may work well with the more ‘logical’ types of people.
The last main thing to think about when naming something is weather or not it is easy to pronounce. Does your potential name ‘roll off the tongue’?
The key to a user friendly name is to make it fun to say. This relates to the length, and number of syllables. Using the example of “Muse” again, it is also a good name because it has one syllable. Ask yourself: “how many times do I need to open and close my mouth when saying this?” Also, look at the kinds of syllables that the word is made up of. Are they hard or soft? In the case of “Muse”, the fragment of “mu” is soft, and hardly requires you to open your mouth to say it. It is easy to say. This is used in many other names as well like “google” which starts off with the rather comforting “goo” sound.
Hopefully, if your name satisfies each category of ORP then your project, whatever it may be, is off to a good start!