Successful Logo and Identity Design Starts with a Solid Name

How many times have you been given a logo design job, but found out that the company name is either long, odd, not appropriate, sounds silly, sounds cliché and a number of many other possible scenarios? Working with a ‘bad’ name can seriously hinder the overall impact of a logo and identity design.

This post is for both clients and designers. I have tried my best to keep the level of patronizing down to a minimum, but that’s not my strong point.

I commit thee to the ground

A number of clients approach me when they are already at the stage where they have committed themselves to registering the name as a business or similar. The only option open to the designer at this point is to just knuckle down and work with the supplied name as best they can.

There is this grave sinking feeling, this name just totally sucks. “I really can’t and don’t want to work with this s**t.”

The name the client think sounds great, is in reality just a pile of stinky poo. Maybe they get together with friends and families, brainstorm, and genuinely feel they have come up with that winning name. Maybe sometimes they do, but in my own experience, this is not the case. I am left attempting to design a decent logo with a corny or totally inappropriate business name.

I have on occasion been quite blunt about the inappropriate nature of the supplied name. They have hired me as a experienced designer, so the least I should do is be honest with them at this early stage. Maybe, just maybe, a change can be made. You never know unless you ask. It’s not always easy, but if you handle it well, the results can be rewarding.

Local business’s tend to be the worse culprits for this. You know the ones. ‘Excel Cleaning Services Solutions‘, ‘Happy Mondays Upholstery Cleaner Services Limited‘ or ‘The Busy Bee Maintenance Man‘.

They still cling onto that winning formula of getting to the top of the alphabet in telephone directories, ‘AAA Advisory Associates and Co‘. You try not to laugh or cry when the client proudly presents you with their awesome new company name, and expects you to be as chuffed as they are. Heaven forbid they actually put you on the spot and ask you what you think? What do you say? Instead, you think ‘run away’.

It doesn’t have to be that way

All this can be so easily avoided if the designer could somehow run a preemptive strike to all new potential clients. Potential new clients may hear in the grapevines that ABC123 Design Services Inc Limited (joke) also provides help and advice in the creation of unique company names. This is all part of the logo and identity design package. How cool does that sound.

Word of mouth and referrals help with this.

This puts the onus on the designer to really put ‘out there’ that inventing and brainstorming suitable names is part of their repertoire. If you can market and advertise this fact, you are helping yourself no end. I know this is an ideal scenario in that ‘ideal world’, but it’s all one part of the puzzle, and if you succeed, then the puzzle starts to look not nearly as horrifying.

I love brainstorming and attempting to come up with a suitable business name. Not to mention the awesome beast that is, ‘the tag line’. You also need information, a thorough brief and a good relationship with the client to make this work. Budgets need to be addressed, as it can take some time to achieve. But there is a higher level of cohesion when you have have control over the name and identity.

It is far more fluid and natural. The visual design will fit the company name like a slipper on silk socks.

Creating one simplifies the other.

The simple answer is…

If you are a Client

Hire a designer that advertises that they can also help with company naming before you choose a name yourself. By all means, have a list of names ready, but allow the designer to help you choose one that is both suitable for the business and also helps create a stronger company identity.

Avoid putting the designer in the most awkward position of having to create a non cliché identity for ‘The Busy Bee Maintenance Man‘. Or give them artistic licence, but insist they must use a bee for the logo. Trust the designer to do the job you hired them for.

Before you choose that ideal name, and then decide to hire a logo designer, think before you do.

If you are a Designer

Make it clear you offer the full package. You can help come up with that winning name all with the logo design in mind. Devising a name, when you know you need to create a visual identity for it, makes things a heck of a lot easier.

Advertise this fact on your website, on your business cards, or an other marketing material if you target local businesses. Do what you can to get the word out.

For example, I have a short sentence about company and business naming in the opening paragraph on my home page. I then reinforce this in the opening paragraph on my quote page. If a potential new client is undecided when they approach me, then at least they can see I can also assist with the naming.

About this Post

Written by: Graham Smith: The Logo Smith

Date of Publication

First Published on: 2009/07/08 and Updated on: 2019/09/17

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