Thursday, September 2, 2010


A good name can boost the promotion of a product, while a bad one can easily reduce its marketing potential. Creating the right name is much more complicated than merely picking a name.

Here's a small checklist I'm using most of the time when creating names.
There are a lot of much more elaborated articles about naming on the web, but often a few basic rules is all I need for finding a fitting name.

First and foremost find out the essence of what you're about to name. A good idea is to do a short list of adjectives and descriptive words that come to mind.

Naming checklist

  • Does the name fit the idea behind what is being named?
  • Does the name also sound fitting?
  • Is the name short or at least easy to grasp?
  • Is the name easy to type with a keyboard and write with a pen?
  • Does it work internationally or at least in the countries of your target audience? (Think ahead, you might not know how far it will reach eventually)
  • Are the important domain names still available? At least .com
  • Is the pronunciation clear and avoids potential misunderstandings?
  • Is the name easy to remember?
  • Does the name stand out from the competition?
  • Does a thorough google/trademark check not reveal any similar names or products?

Decision matrix

Once you have assembled a list of names, there might be one that jumps out and is better than the rest. Great!

If not you might want to set up a decision matrix. It's a simple table with the checklist categories (the checklist above) as columns, and your collected names as rows.

Rate each name in each category. A good idea is to use a simple scale, like 1-3, with 1 being bad, 2 mediocre and 3 good. Do your rating randomly, not one name after the other. That way you're as objective as you can be.

Then also rate each checklist category. E.g. Fits meaning 2, Domain available 3, Short 1 ...

In the end, to get a result for each name, all you have to do is multiply each category rating with the rating of the name in that category and add the results up till you have a total score for a name.

E.g. the category "Fits meaning" was rated 2, "Domain available" 3 and "Short" 1.
The name "Angst" was rated "Fits meaning" 3, "Domain available" 1 and "Short" 3. The name has a total score of 6+3+3 = 12.

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