*PS. Below you will find an auto-generated transcript of this episode.
Brad Flowers: If you think about the three hard things about naming one is establishing the criteria by which you're going to make a decision. Two is generating lots of ideas and then three is making a decision.
Arek Dvornechuck: What's up branding experts, Arek here at Ebaqdesign. And my guest today is Bred Flowers, and that is a branding expert and co-founder of Bullhorn, which is an agency that builds confident brands with language and design. So Brad leads naming and language generation at Bullhorn and he has a degree in English literature, which he finds very useful in working with his clients. So Brad is also the author of "The Naming Book". The book right here, this is a brand new book just released last year. So Bred is an expert when it comes to brand naming. And that's why I really wanted to have him on our podcast to talk about effective brand naming. Hello, Bred, thank you so much for taking time to join us on our podcast!
Brad Flowers: Absolutely!
1. Establishing Criteria
Arek Dvornechuck: This book is great. I've read your book is very practical. So first I want to say that it's very easy to follow and understand, and you give us a lot of case studies and examples of famous brands. So we can all relate and understand the concepts that you are talking about. So for our listeners who are either business owners or creative professionals, this is like a word book tied for months, right? I was actually able to use it because I wanted to come up with a better name for my podcast. Now it's just on branding podcasts, but I was thinking about renaming it. The book is very practical and you give us a ton of examples, which makes it easy to understand and put it right away into practice. So you present us with a five step process to naming a brand, right? And I wanted to make this podcast actionable for our listeners. Talk about your process about those five steps a little bit. So you can walk us through your process, right? So starting with that number one, which is establishing criteria in your book, you talk quite a bit about the importance of developing a naming strategy prior to actually diving into brainstorming exercises. Right? And I think this is extremely important and we shouldn't overlook this step, but just for our listeners who are business owners or creatives, they might be concerned about, you know, spending time that they don't have. And they would just rather jump into brainstorming exercises right away, which is more like fun and creative, but this is a common mistake. Right? And you talk quite a lot about that in your book. So can you talk us about what's the problem with keeping the strategy and why establishing those criteria is so important when it comes to naming a brand?
Brad Flowers: Sure. So criteria is really important and I think taking a half step back and talking a little bit about how I ended up writing the book probably will make sense, explaining why I think criteria is important for people working in an agency. They're used to getting strategic information about the client, about the project ahead of time. So for those sorts of folks who probably it makes sense, but also why was trying to create repeatable process for the people who I work with Bullhorn and in. So doing, I looked at all the naming books that exists the academic literature, and there's just not a lot about how to actually do it. There's a lot about what's the history of brand names. And there's quite a bit about what people who are good at naming, like, and don't like, and those are both kind of useful. But if you're the entrepreneur who really only needs to come up with one name and then you kind of want to forget about naming and then just get on with all the other hard stuff. And there's not an easy way. So as I was going through the process of developing this internal process, I realized that if I was having a hard time, as someone who works within an agency, then it's probably exceptionally hard for someone who doesn't. And so I started really thinking a lot about what would be useful for an entrepreneur who doesn't have a background in this, probably doesn't even think about brand names that much. And so that's really what I tried to keep in mind. I think the book is useful and helpful for creatives also, but the naming professional might find it a little bit rudimentary. I think the average person who wants to come up with a good name, you have this idea of kind of like a needle in a haystack. Like there's this good name in there? And I just have to dig through all this stuff and find a good name, but the problem is naming just doesn't work like that. The only time you're going to come up with a good name is if you generate a lot of names. And then the question is, if you generate a lot of names, how do you decide which one's better than the other? The only way to really to decide is if you have criteria that is practical, that's built on what the name needs to do. Isn't just what you like, because as the entrepreneur, sometimes what you like matters. And sometimes what you like, doesn't matter all that much. You know, there might be other practical considerations that you should be thinking about. And so that's why starting off with the criteria. It's something most people who don't do this sort of work a lot, they skip it altogether because as you mentioned, you know, you want to get to the fun stuff, which is generating ideas, putting stuff up on the whiteboard, creating spreadsheets, however you think about it. But I would argue that there's no real common ground for decision-making and deciding what makes a good name. If you don't have the criteria.
Arek Dvornechuck: Right. Well said, I wanted to sum it up. What I will listen to as some takeaways. So we need to have a plan. I like this metaphor, you here in this, in this first step, you just talk about, it's just like having a plan of getting that is like using Google maps. So establishing some criteria is like using Google maps. So that later on you can be focused in the process. And as you mentioned, just now, it's going to help you judge names more objectively, rather than just saying, I like this. Or I don't like that. We show them the rely on some personal preferences, right? And that's why we need to establish those criteria to look at our names more objectively. I will also going to be able to see our company from our customer's perspective. Right? And also some of my takeaways from your book is that if you work in a group is going to help you dissolves arguments and align people on the same vision. Right? And if you want to console all by yourself, it's going to just save you from yourself. Basically actually saves you time down the road. So in the first step, what are some of the things that you talk about memorability, right? And you talk about rhyme, spelling on the motto, payer, hard consonant, wordplay, figurative language, brand name, fit. These are some of the considerations besides that also deciding on the tones, like for example, sleek, modern, and on the meaning, whether it should be literal or metaphorical or associative and maybe some descriptors or a tagline, right.
2. Brainstorming Words
Arek Dvornechuck: Once we have those criteria. So we need to look into those different aspects in the star, some criteria. Then we go to the second step, which is brainstorming, but it's not based on the names yet is actually brainstorming words. Right. So, yeah. So let's talk about brainstorming is about generating a list of words and going for quantity here or phrases play that we can use that to fuel our creativity and start compiling names. Right? So can you talk to us about this second step about brainstorming words? Maybe you can give us some examples of famous brands or some of the tools that you use, some of those exercises that you described in the book.
Brad Flowers: Sure. So if you think about the three hard things about naming one is establishing the criteria by which you're going to make a decision. Two is generating lots of ideas and then three is making a decision. And my estimation was that middle part generating lots of ideas is difficult enough to break it into three steps. And so it's kind of three different steps in the book. The first is brainstorming and I talk about really, they're kind of two things, two common mistakes people make with brainstorming. Hopefully this helps you get over some stuckness. And one is, if you are in a group, the most common thing is people think of, we're going to go, we're going to sit around a table. There's going to be a huge whiteboard. And then we're just going to start having ideas. But again, that's just not really how it works. The idea of creativity in general, I think is different than most of the skills we learn in our education system. Most things are, are oriented towards kind of converging on the right idea. And so we're oriented towards, okay, we're going to go in the room. We're going to figure out the right idea. The problem is, is we tend to converge on whoever talks the loudest. And so we tend to all have similar sorts of ideas and naming is an exercise like logo design, or some other creative exercise where really it's an exercise in divergent thinking. So you want as many different types of ideas as possible. Tip number one is if you're brainstorming in a group, don't brainstorm together, always brainstorm separately, bring all of the results and then you can analyze the results as a group. Don't do it independently or don't do it together. Rather number two is most of us think of the blank page is kind of like the real hard part. It's the real sticking point. And so I give a couple of exercises to kind of help get over this blank page problem. And one is to help come up with words that you wouldn't normally think of is we look at a couple of different metaphors that people use for your business or Bullhorn. For example, someone might say, Oh, working with you guys was really like using a business therapist. Now none of us are therapists. We don't have any certification to do any sort of therapy, but they use that metaphorically because they get to come in and talk to us and we kind of help them process the problem. If I use therapists at the top, I might start list. That's like couch, bookshelf, pencil. I don't know. I'm just generating a list of words that are probably different than if I start just with graphic design or whatever the company might do. Thinking metaphorically is something it's kind of sounds intimidating. But once you sit down and kind of realize you do it all the time, we use metaphors talking about everything. And so I help break that down, hopefully cut through some of those barriers so that the language isn't scary. And so we can start to think about it a little bit more creatively. Those are kind of like the two big things. When you brainstorm, don't do it as a group and use some of the helpful tools in the book to generate lists of words that are going to be more diverse than if you're just thinking about your business. Because if you're just thinking about your business, you're generally thinking pretty narrowly about how you describe what you do and not more abstractly. So I think that's when you can come up with some really interesting things, when you can think abstractly,
Arek Dvornechuck: Now, we are going to take a quick break here, but we will be right back. Listen. My mission is to help people build and design iconic brands. So whether you're a business leader who wants to become more intentional with branding and all of its aspects, or you're a creative professional who wants to attract powerful clients and surely be able to help them with branding, then you need to start with a discovery session in order to develop a strategy that will inform all your creative work and everything that you need in order to learn how to do that, you can find in my online courses are designed that com slash show. But I share with you my worksheets case studies, video tutorials, and all the additional resources to help you feel safe and strong about your process. Now let's get back to our interview. For our listeners. My takeaway is to, as you mentioned, the tip number one, don't do it in a group is not effective brainstorm solo, and then come together as a group to evaluate so your ideas, right? So we are actually starting with, so we describe our business metaphorically. We look for hope, a spectrum of different words. So we need to actually open our minds and look for different ways. And you present us with some cool exercises here as you have gone through those exercises. Yeah. I got some pretty good ideas. Are we going to get to those later? Because one of my criteria was focused on phrases, but are we going to talk about that later? So yeah, you want to generate a lot of words. The model works. You have, as you mentioned at the beginning, you know, we have to have a lot of different options to find that one good name.
3. Compiling Names
Arek Dvornechuck: It's not just about Eureka moment or something like that. Right? Some of my notes about this step is that a storming session is easier when it's systematic. So if you will have a systematic approach, if you use this book who, and follow the steps and don't skip those steps, then you're going to be more efficient than the one thing, or just wandering, like studying on a blank page, as you said, right? So we describe our business with some fabs and objects, and then we use those create a mind map and to find more words, right. Metaphors, similes, and so on. Okay. So once we have a list of variety of different Wars, so then we actually, the next, the third step is to compile some names, right? So we convert our ideas into actual names here, I think is brilliant this time, because here you suggest to actually assign our names to different categories. So that way we have variety of different types of names, right? And let's talk about the different types of names as well. So we have real Wars like Uber, for example, we have foreign Wars, we have compounded Wars or like Facebook with your phrases. We have blended Wars are always, are just made up words. Can you just walk us through those different types of names? Just give us the customer examples so that we can, you know, understand the concepts.
Brad Flowers: Sure. Again, the idea here is diversity of ideas in the brainstorming. We have used tools to make sure we have a wide range of ideas. We've looked at metaphors, we've started with nouns. We started with verbs to make sure that we get different types of words in the mix. So to take it a step further, when we start to compile words, we're going to make sure we're compiling words in different categories. So most people tend to converge on a certain type of name and often that's either their preference or it's what other names are in that field. Sometimes it's a good thing to a sound like other companies in that industry. You know, that might be strategic to sound like you're established when you're not, but sometimes it can make the name a little forgettable. We want to make sure we're thinking across a wide range. And so like you mentioned, there are different types. There are real words which would be like Apple, Amazon. These are real words in generally with a real word. The person naming is trying to use a word that makes sense metaphorically in some way for what the product is doing. So if you think about Apple, you know, maybe they're thinking about sir, Isaac Newton, like the first their original logo was Isaac Newton sitting under a tree, the apples falling. So it's this idea of like inspiration or like their current logo. It looks like an Apple with a bite taken out of it. So maybe you're thinking of Adam and Eve and that story and about kind of the root of human knowledge. So that's, again, it's a metaphor for what the organization is trying to do, which is kind of empower the world. There are foreign language words, foreign language words can make a lot of sense, depending on what you're trying to do. I was just talking to a gentleman this week who read the book and had some questions about his family's from Mexico and he's creating a tortilla company and he wants to use a Spanish word, but he was concerned about pronunciation. Foreign language words can be really effective because they can stand out a lot of times. But there are some things to consider, which we talk about in the book, pronunciation, spelling, et cetera, compound words like Facebook. Those can sometimes be useful when you're looking through your list. You might have words that are too common to be a name on the face value, but when you put them together, you know, maybe create something interesting and new. Like when you think of face and book those two independent things, when you put them together, what emerges is that kind of totally different from the park raises? There's a women's athletic company called outdoor voices, which I think is kind of a nice name. It's the idea that your outdoor voices, your loud voice, and it's okay to be loud. They're a blend and names like Pinterest is a good example where you take pen and interest and you overlap the syllable to create a new word. And so kind of within the word itself is exactly what you're doing. You're using this platform to kind of pin your interest up on a board. And then there are additional name types, depending, you know, sometimes people in place names make sense, sometimes made up words like Skype makes sense where it's, you're not really sure where it came from. I would call those like obscure origin because they're not always made up, but words like Zillow or obscure enough to kind of fall into a little bit different category. Again, we want to make sure we're coming up with a broad range of ideas because we usually come into a project with a preconception and sometimes you can be really surprised.
Arek Dvornechuck: Right. And I also think that what's really interesting here is you talk about consonants and evolves how it affects our name, like the way we perceive our name. Right. Can you talk to us a bit about that? You mentioned in the book, some brand names that start with hard consonants actually might be better for generating a compound names and you just walk us through this concept.
Brad Flowers: There are some linguistic ideas that can make a name work better or not as well in the memorability category. There's some research to suggest that words that start with a hard consonant are more memorable than other words. A lot of times that's desirable, but not always. It kind of gets to the tones too, because they can also sound a little harsher jarring. It's weighing what's, what's your criteria. And what's more important. And also when you're creating new words, which would be like a compound or a blend, you have a different set of considerations because even though you're creating something new, it's not like there are no rules. There are still some rules that you need to follow. And some words are going to work better than others. Like Facebook, for example, works pretty well because the soft see the S sound at the end of phase transitions really easily into book. And so it makes it really a kind of a nice, easy thing. But if you think of substituting it with another common phrase, like workbook is a lot harder to say, it's a lot less gratifying. It doesn't have that same poetic quality. So even though it's on the surface, almost exactly the same, it doesn't work as well. It feels like two separate things that are kind of fighting against because you have that hard stop in the middle where the blending of the words together makes it feel natural. Like it should fit together. That's just an example off the top of my head,
Arek Dvornechuck: The examples from the book, I just wanted to give some more examples too. I would listen to. So Facebook, that's an obvious example that we've talked about. Other examples, Firefox Salesforce, WordPress, and YouTube right then was brands. And they sort of compound name the blend that Wars are Groupon, which is group glass coupon. You mentioned the pain plus interest is Pinterest unique law, which is kind of different. Because for example, I don't really knew how to pronounce it because I'm originally from Poland. We may be now, there is this brand that I was not familiar with that brand. And then we have also microcomputer software, which is Microsoft and oxygen plus future oxygen.
Brad Flowers: Yeah. And there's additional idea to keep track of. If you're thinking of blends, there's a principle that I learned. There's a blog called the inspector. He created this concept called awkward play. It's the idea. If you're putting two words together, if you have awkward and wordplay, if you put them together, the emphasis from the syllables are fighting each other. When you put it together, is it awkward play? Is it awkward play? You don't know how to pronounce it because the emphasis falls differently on the syllables. And so that's sometimes when you get to blended words, just don't feel right. It's because of the emphasis on the original words, you kind of get that mixed up when they come together. There's no real clear pronunciation. That could be what you're talking about with Uniclo or Uniqlo. Usually it would be unique, but once it comes together, you kind of feel like it should be, you know? And so you don't know which syllable to emphasize.
4. Expanding Knowledge
Arek Dvornechuck: Yeah, that's a good point. So after this point, our focus up to this point, it was to actually get our ideas on paper, right? So we know standing with the criteria and then going through different waters, listing those waters. And we started combining names and you introduced us to those different types of names. So we can place on four different categories so we can expect them all different names. Instead of number four, you're talking about expanding knowledge. It's time to actually use the competent and conduct some additional research. Use the resources, some insider lingo, perhaps mythology like Greek or Roman mythology, maybe some encyclopedias like Wikipedia and the literature. Can you just walk us through this step a bit about those tools that you use here?
Brad Flowers: I've found that it's kind of nice when you're working to do some creatives, like we're generation list-making and then go back and then actually create some names, then go back to idea generation. So you're kind of like going back and forth, kind of generated all your lists. You've done your brainstorming. Then you've kind of switched your mind a little bit to do the actual turn, those words into names. And now you're going to look for more names again. The point is that a lot of people think you kind of get stuck thinking that you need to know, you need to have already been familiar with the word that you're going to name your company, but really there's a lot of information out there. There's a lot of cool stuff that you can learn. That can be the starting point for a really great name, a good starting point might be going back to your metaphor lists and saying like, okay, I'm going to start with this blog. People come to this blog post. And they think of you as a guide when they're thinking about how to think about branding. And so maybe then I think about, okay, where would I look for famous guides through history? And so maybe I end up with Dante and I'm thinking about Virgil. So I can go down that rabbit hole, or I would think about maybe famous explorers. And then I start to think about, okay, how did they explore? So then I think about lists of shipbuilding processes in each of these things that you go down, whether it's, you know, therapy, techniques, historical navigation lists of stars, all of these are lists on lists of words. And there are a lot of times obscure words, which can be really interesting brand names because a lot of times they sound like a word, but some they're familiar enough to where people heard of it, but they don't know what it means. It gives you the opportunity to step in and then educate people. And it starts to tell your brand story. So it's kind of like, if the word can be interesting enough to buy you a few seconds, then your story can then follow. And you can say, yeah, it's a podcast it's called Virgil because we want to guide people to make good decisions about their brand. And Virgil is Dante guide through the Inferno to help him get through to his true love. Yeah,
Arek Dvornechuck: Sure. Some of the examples from the book, for example, from literature, we have Yahoo, right? Yes. We have Starbucks. Yeah. From Moby Dick. Right? Maybe we can talk about mythology. We have Oracle, we have venues. I don't know this other brand names ion, I don't know how to pronounce her tire and key why odd brand
Brad Flowers: It's pronounced tear, just like a tear that would come out of your eye. And I think that's a Norse God, but like, Oh Cyrus, for example, a Cyrus is one of the Egyptian deities, Oracles Oracles kind of interesting because in Greek mythology, the is like the Oracle of Delphi is where people went to see the future. If you think of a computer products company, especially when Oracle was founded, I mean, they were literally making the future. It's kind of a cool name as a cool metaphor for what they were trying to do to say, you know, there's this history of people seeking, you know, everyone wants to kind of get a glimpse. Like what's the future look like? And it's like, okay, come to work and we'll show you what it looks like. Again, it's an opportunity to anchor the brand name in something like Nike's another good example. Nike is the goddess of victory. It's a good name for a brand possibly. Although it's like, even that name, you think about it, there's ambiguous pronunciation. Like you mentioned with tear, someone might look at it and not know how to pronounce it. Tear as a, they make swimwear like bathing suits and goggles for competitive swimming.
Arek Dvornechuck: Nike also, right. Because Nike should be, should we pronounce more like Mike, Nick and I, now that I'm not sure if in the UK people pronounce it, Nike, I had someone from the UK just selling this story. Like they just pronounce it now. I'm not sure if it's like, most, most of those people pronounce it this way or this just this one guy. I think I had it on the podcast. Actually. I remember from my childhood, we used to pronounce it. Nice cause. Wow. Yeah. And you talk about this in your book, that it's a huge company. They have a lot of marketing dollars and they can teach people how to pronounce it correctly, but it could be a problem sometimes. Right. Pronunciation could be a big issue when it comes to naming.
Brad Flowers: Yeah. It's an issue. And I think part of the reason I wanted to give that example is there's a lot of stress around making this first big decision and you know, a company like that, there's ambiguous pronunciation, which for most brands, especially a consumer brand that you ask for, you know, most people won't ask for something that they don't know how to pronounce because no one wants to look stupid. It's like, you know, if you're at a restaurant you're often going to order the thing that you know, how to pronounce same idea. If you're not sure if it's Nike or Nike, you're less likely to ask for it. But even in that situation, they've been able to overcome it. Clearly it takes a little, some of the pressure hopefully off of you or whoever out there is listening, coming up with a name, do your best, think through it and make sure it works against your criteria. And if, if it's not perfect, name just has to give you that little bit of time to start to let all the other brand decisions start to fill in the gap. Then it's the opportunity for the shoe design for the packaging, for the customer experience or the advertising for all of these other things that can fill out, you know, the rest of the brand ethos.
5. Name Selection
Arek Dvornechuck: Okay. So if we follow the steps, now the last step would be just name, selection, right? Just to decide on that one name. So we should have a whole bunch of names we go like from, should have about 30 options here. Then we can get the list down to 10 and use some of your tools that you're talk about in your book. First, we can check those things against our criteria again and eliminate some of the weakest candidates, right. You also advise to don't fall in love with any particular name yet because you might end up heartbroken every time. Right? We should eliminate some generic Wars test those ideas and we can run the focus groups. The last step would be trademarking, right? So can you just walk us through this, the last step name selection, perhaps you have some of the teams, or we can talk about maybe common mistakes that people make here.
Brad Flowers: I can just I'll run through how we do it at Bullhorn and it roughly parallels the guidelines here. So at the end, and we just did it this afternoon, actually just before this, we have a project we've all been brainstorming separately. We've put our ideas on a spreadsheet and we have about 200 to 250 ideas. We're going to use the criteria to cut that down to 40 or so. And then from there, we're going to, it's really about competition. We've used our criteria. We know what we have fits the criteria, but it just kind of some work better in different ways. So you'll notice up until now. We haven't really looked at the landscape at what other names are out there because there's nothing really stopped on the process constantly, like coming up with an idea and then going to Google, to search, to see if it exists, that really slows down the process. So now is the step where we're going to do that. There are three main things we're going to do one. We're going to look at the secretary of state in which you're going to register in the United States. At least if you're registering abroad, I'm sure there's some dynamic equivalent we're also going to in the United States email@example.com, which is the patent trademark attorney's office. We're not trademarking the name, but we're looking just generally how much competition, you know, are there 900 companies with that name or are there nine? And that gives you a good sense of, is it going to be too common? And then we're going to look in the industry. So we're going to start to search. So like for your case, if you're thinking about the podcast, we might look for name, idea, plus podcast, name, idea, plus blog, whatever else might be kind of adjacent to what you're doing.
Brad Flowers: And at that point, you should be able to whittle it down to probably 10 or fewer. Rather we should probably at that point be down to like 20. And so what we want to do is then run it by some people to just to get a sense of how people are going to respond. When they hear the word we don't do just naming. We also do brand identity, user experience design. And so we have kind of a wide range of folks in the office here, the office, meaning the digital office. I don't mean a specific building. What I do is put together a presentation where I'll run through the 20 names. I'll give them 30 seconds to a minute on each name. And they rank each one, one to 10. Do I like it? 10 as best name I've ever heard one. I hate it. And then they kind of know what they thought of people who think differently than me. Like I mentioned earlier, the idea of Virgil, maybe I think it's a really cool name because I'm familiar with Dante's Inferno, but someone who's never heard of it is like, that's a stupid name. I don't know how to pronounce it. I don't get it. Like, why do I want to name it after this old guy? It's like old man name. That gives me a sense. Okay. The average person is probably not going to think this is a good name. I should probably look at something else. I want to give a big caveat. When you're asking other people about the brand names that you're thinking of. You have to take a, a little bit with a grain of salt because they haven't thought about it as much. They don't think about probably critically about brand names in general, but most people's first responses. I don't know. I don't get it. I don't like it. I don't get it. I don't, it doesn't make sense. And that doesn't necessarily make it a bad name. It just means that most people don't think about brand names. Critically. If you start to look around you at all the names, your names on your shoes, your pants, your shirt, your computer, the microphone, the lamp. I mean, everything around me has a brand name on it. Most people just don't think about any of those names and how they work. When you ask people don't necessarily, I would say, listen to them to get a sense of how they're going to respond, but don't let them decide the name for you because it's not their organization. It's not their company. It's not their product. They don't have the vision that you have. You just need to have the confidence. You've gone through the process. You've put in the work. And at the end of it, you're going to have a good name. They may not get it. But if you show someone a rundown building, most people, aren't going to be able to see the beautiful building that's on the other side after innovation, you know, most people can't see that finished product from the raw materials. Confidence, go with, go with your gut.
Arek Dvornechuck: Let's talk about how to present those things, because I think you can predict some cooler creeps here for Christmas. So you actually talk about never presenting names on a blank piece of paper, which is basically the same as you do a log on design as well. But an identity basically is the same thing in a logo always appears on something or some applications. And as you just mentioned, the same moves brand names. When you suggest to put actually like an image behind the name and then set the name in a house Vertica, which is, if you know, there are so many names that use called Vertica, you said, really nice typeface. So that way we can test viability of that name, how you pronounce it's, how you spell it. It's so it how it sounds, but also how it looks right. And then maybe setting this setting type face cast you Roman or something like that. So can you just talk, talk to us a bit about that?
Brad Flowers: I think, and this is just acknowledging that as humans, we're more influenced by the visuals as we are by the word that we see I've gone back and forth, I've done it a hundred different ways, but now what I tend to do is I tend to pick two images because a lot of times organizations will do things that are maybe a little contradictory. So like we were working for an project that was a redevelopment of an old warehouse. We were coming up with names on one, I put a picture of a building that had been refurbished. So it's like the physical structure. And then on the other image, it was a group of people coming together and having drinks and having fun. And so it's like one like the physical space, the other is this connectivity that they're trying to create. I pick a couple of images and then I'll put for the case of the book, I picked generic typefaces that most people would be familiar with for you designers out there, pick whatever, you know, there's an infinite choice, but basically I tend to pick two faces that are pretty different. So one that feels some kind of sense, Sarah, that evokes most people look at it and think, okay, it feels more clinical or it feels more modern, whatever words you would use to describe. And then something with a surf that provides a different feeling, not just going to be on a piece of paper, but it's going to live in context. I'll kind of present both names, one on top of the other, on both images and then go through all of the names so that they see all the names over the same images for a while. I was trying to pick a different image for each name. And then I realized people were picking names based on which image they liked. And I was like, Oh, this is definitely not the right thing to do. You know, you learn, you live in
Arek Dvornechuck: Right. Use the same image, all of those names, focus on the name, actually not on the image behind, right?
Brad Flowers: Sometimes you can also, depending on how are you going to take it sometimes I'll mess with we'll do some with title case, some all caps, just because different words look different than kind of our work better in different presentations, depending on how far you want to go with it. Those are some other, other ways you can kind of try to create. Basically what you want to do is you want to take something that doesn't mean anything and try to cast that vision into their mind. If it could mean something, it could be, it could represent this big company.
Arek Dvornechuck: And it's also an interesting thing about as we are approaching the end of our interview. But I think there is a case study in your book about Sonos, which is all cops, right? But sometimes it works, but more likely it wouldn't right? Cause we actually, we look at the war and we read the word by visually using title case is easier for us to read title case, not all cops, right?
Brad Flowers: When in situations where you want to make someone stop and pay attention, like a stop sign is going to be an all caps because it's the stop word is rendered as a rectangle. You know, you can't read it until you get close enough to read it, but like a highway sign that you need to be able to read far off, traveling 70 miles an hour, they're going to all be title case because you can read those ascenders and descenders before you can actually read the word. And I think in the book, I can't remember. I gave an example of, they were an F1 sponsor. The F1 decided they didn't want to allow tobacco sponsors anymore. And so they removed their name from the car, but just put a barcode on the car and the barcode, when the cars going 200 miles an hour or whatever is in the shape of the word. And so the word is recognizable by shape, even though there weren't any actual letters on the car, there are cases like that, of where that's kind of a tricky case, but you have to question like with your brand is quick legibility important from a distance, or do you want to kind of cause someone to stop and digest it and read it and spend a little time with it. And that's kind of, again, that gets a little bit back to your criteria. What are you trying to do? How do people interact with you? Do you need only a few customers who really are paying attention or do you need a lot of customers? And so it kind of, it ends up being a strategic choice to, in addition to an aesthetic choice
Arek Dvornechuck: As we're approaching the end of our episode, please let us know how we can find more about you, whether it is for creatives who want to learn from you about, you know, about your process, check out your book. I really recommend this book. I'm going to the link in the description, but some other ways for clients who want to work with you, how can we get in touch with you? And I'm just going to link to social media, your website and so on.
Brad Flowers: Yeah. Yeah. You can find more about the book at thenamingbook.com You can find us at bullhorncreative.com and same on the social media. If you want to follow us, we'd love to hear from you. You can see some case studies see the work we do, the way we approach it.
Arek Dvornechuck: Thank you so much for taking the time to join us on our podcast and share some of your tips.
Brad Flowers: Yeah, thanks Arek.
Arek Dvornechuck: So thanks for tuning in. And if you've enjoyed this episode of On Branding Podcast, follow me on social media, for more tips on branding, strategy and design. This was Arek Dvornechuck from Ebaqdesign. And I will see you in the next one.
Arek Dvornechuck is a strategist and designer who helps brands grow by crafting distinctive brand identities, backed by strategy. Need help with your project?—Get in touch
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