Help me name my design business! + tips on naming yours

NamingDesignBusiness

GDB readers, it’s time to name my freelance business, and I really need your help. But first, a little back story:

When I got laid off last February after 5 years with the company, I was devastated.

I loved my core coworkers.

I needed the paycheck.

I hated that I had been chosen as the weakest link (which probably isn’t true – I also received the biggest paycheck).

I cried.

And then…

literally the next day I started looking for another full-time job.

I attacked looking for a job. I signed up on all of the major job sites, the design sites, and polished my LinkedIn profile. I applied to maybe 30 jobs in the next month and received 2 interviews. (Neither came through.)

It was in those two interviews where I showcased my portfolio that I realized I had almost nothing to show for 5 years of my career. My portfolio sucked. I had more work from college than I did from my previous company.

So I did what any rational, broke-and-on-unemployment, scared twentysomething designer would do. I begged my dad for $545 to attend a design class at the local art college.

Being the big proponent of continual education he was, he obliged. Design Strategies at Pacific Northwest College of Art promised to provide me with several portfolio pieces, and not only did it provide me with two fantastic pieces, I also received excellent advice and inspiration and that rejuvenated feeling of being worthwhile and good at graphic/web design.

I also took a page out of Timothy Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek (although I hadn’t read his book at that time…I am now) and struck up a conversation with the owner of Infoglyphs who designed infographics. I mentioned that I loved her work and hoped one day to get the opportunity to create infographics myself. She told me to design my resume as an infographic and if it was good enough, she’d add me to her designer pool. (It was, and we continue to have a great relationship today.)

I took a chance on craigslist and responded to a need for a local school’s website redesign. It was a legit post and I got the job! (The website turned out fantastic.)

Around that time I started posting my design work on my Facebook profile. Most of my family members and friends knew I was laid off and their question always was – after I told them I was a graphic/web designer, “Okay. So what do you do?”

This was (and continues to be) a great way to (1) show off, (2) get my portfolio viewed by a vast and varied group of people who know and care about me, and (3) maybe get a lead.

I got lucky.

#1-3 are a giant success. My friends and family ooh and aah over my work and tell me how wonderful I am. AND, an ex-coworker asked me if I were interested in an ongoing relationship with a friend of his that needed design work for the San Jose, California Zoo. YES! (We’re negotiating this year’s projects right now.)

Holy crap! A month ago nobody wanted me for a full-time job and now I had 3 major freelance clients, 2 of which were ongoing relationships? And if one went away, I still had another? This freelance thing was looking up.

But what do I call myself?

Then I hit a wall. What do I call myself? April C. Greer, Designer? Greer Design Studio? Greer Graphics? April Makes Pretty Things? Big Ideas Design? Etc. etc.

I’m not one to make big decisions on a whim, so I put it off.

I didn’t really have a design business, right? Just a few clients that pay me on a regular basis to drop supreme awesomeness on them. Oh. Yeah. That’s called a design business. (Now with a sweet portfolio.)

Thankfully, Preston published From Passion to Profit (the new ebook that gets your design business up and running in just 11 days). I immediately bought it and started working through the exercises. Awesome! A chapter that helps you create your business name! On a cross-country plane ride I filled an entire notebook page full of words related to me and my business. I circled the ones that spoke most to me and started putting them together. And then I slept. And shifted uncomfortably in my seat. And ate airplane food. And wished I had learned to ‘apparate’ in school instead of the names and locations of all 52 counties and county seats in the state of Montana.

It’s been two months since that plane ride and the initial naming of my design business. I’ve been mulling over the name that I am about to present to you since that time. Here are the criteria I want my business name to meet:

  1. Meaningful to me.
  2. NOT Design/Studio/Graphics. Everybody does that and I don’t think a business name needs to say what you do (Apple, Nike). Incorporating my name into the title is a plus.
  3. Adheres to these three adjectives that describe my design business: professional, outstanding (quality & customer service), personable.
  4. Easy to say/spell.
  5. Not taken by someone else, in name or URL.

SO, drum roll, please…

Here’s what I came up with: Greer Genius.

To me, it meets my criteria as follows:

  1. Before I got laid off, when my coworkers would ask if I was done with a project, I used to say, “Genius takes time.” Also if I had done something I deemed utterly fantastic for the day, I’d announce that I was a sheer genius and show off my brain-child.
  2. I believe we are all intelligent enough to understand why I don’t need to explain this one.
  3. To me it sounds professional. Genius refers to high-quality, and my name gives it a more personable feel than a random adjective would.
  4. Read #2. Also, if you say it out loud, it rhymes with “sheer genius” (which I also thought of using as my business name and have since rejected as not “me” enough).
  5. Please don’t be a jerk and take it. ;)

Now it’s your turn

Ok, GDB readers: I’m asking your honest opinion, with as much tact as you can muster (hey, I’m a real person with feelings, too!). What do you think? Do you agree or disagree that it meets my criteria? Would you do business with this name? Is it too cocky? – take a look at my portfolio before you answer.

I solemnly promise that if you help me name my business, I’ll help you name yours. Leave a comment on this post with answers to my questions and your own questions about your name. Post your design business name in the comments so we can all offer feedback to each other!

 

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Comments

  1. says

    April, I think it’s “sheer genius”! I like the personal touch to it and how you related it to phrases you often use in your everyday life, as well as incorporating your name. Now you have me second guessing my own business name, Design4Sign. But then again I do design logos and websites for mostly small businesses that use American Sign Language. That works, right?

    • says

      Bree,

      First, thanks for your opinion!

      Second, let me say how cool it is that you design for ASL businesses! How did you find that niche? Do you know sign language? Do you find that these businesses have different needs than hearing businesses? Design4Sign is a great name tailored to what your niche is. If you decide you are going to branch out and do other things, you can take “Design4Sign” and make it a tagline when you design specifically for ASL.

  2. says

    Hi April – I’m so jealous – you’ve solved the identical problem I have, so elegantly. It’s brilliant! And your work lives up to it.

    I’m struggling with Savyra.com or Picture-Kitchen.com…. the one has my name, the other says that I make pictures.

    Any ideas, guys? I’m thinking of going back to Savyra.com because my name is unusual so I can trade on that. I also see that people put Savyra or Savyra Meyer into the search string before they end up on my blog or on my site. Picture-Kitchen is not all that strong or memorable and now someone else has called themselves Picture Kitchen Studios….

    Any help gratefully received.

    • says

      Savyra,

      Thank you for your kind words! Elegant and brilliant…truly, I appreciate it!

      I have to say Preston’s book, “From Passion to Profit” truly helped me find my name. (He’s not paying me to say this, btw.) But the “naming exercise” really worked. I had been feeling this pressure to come up with a great name and when I got to his chapter, I thought (I really did) “there is no way that in an hour I’m going to find my business name.” Getting all of my thoughts – even terrible ones – out on paper made connections in my brain that I hadn’t seen before.

      100% serious, I started “feeling out” Greer Genius on that plane ride (that was in November), and I’m finally satisfied enough with it to ask the world what it thinks. It felt like me, and that was one of the most important parts…if I didn’t love the name, I couldn’t embrace it and use it every day.

    • Amgine says

      I’d avoid “kitchen” in your name. It could confuse folk with kitchen design. Savyra is good on its own, or could be used as a pun with the word savvy. Although puns aren’t such a big deal; they’re a bit of a one liner and, as such, could get very stale for repeat customers.

      • says

        Thanks for bending your mind towards my problem Sean! And apologies for not replying sooner. I have a thought now, which this discussion has triggered.

    • Martha says

      Savyra,
      Your name is very unique. Based on your post, I gather you are a photographer.
      Have you tried something like SavyrAperture, , It incorporates your name, and indicates photography more subtly by using a camera feature as opposed to obvious words like “picture” or “photo”. Another cool thing about it, is that at quick glance it reads “Saavy Aperture” which could speak to your skill as a photographer. Bonus points..I’m pretty sure your name is unique enough that the url is probably free! What do you think? (Sorry if it is cheesy I came up with it in the few seconds it took me to read your post).

      • says

        Hi Martha – big thanks to you as well for taking the time to write. I do have savyra.com and may well get back to it, but you have inspired me to do more with it. I need to first research if one may use a ‘+’ sign in a website.

        Apologies to you too for my silence. Saw this only now because I didn’t click to receive updates…Thanks for the inspiration!!

  3. Kim G. says

    This was such a helpful post! I just started full time freelancing a few months ago and with the holidays and some busy deadlines, haven’t even taken time to think through the whole naming issue for my new business. I know I need to get there though because I have been putting off a website until I land on the right name. Thanks for sharing your story!

    • says

      Kim,

      I’m glad to help! You’re quite welcome!

      Sometimes it’s easy to forget that your own business needs TLC, too. (Not just everyone else’s.) I made a goal to spend time each week working on my business – social media, marketing, naming, making connections, etc.

      I said this to Savyra too, but I have to say Preston’s book, “From Passion to Profit” truly helped me find my name. (He’s not paying me to say this.) The “naming exercise” really worked. I had been feeling this pressure to come up with a great name and when I got to his chapter, I thought “there is no way that in an hour I’m going to find my business name.” Getting all of my thoughts – even terrible ones – out on paper made connections in my brain that I hadn’t seen before.

      I highly suggest you set aside some time for yourself and your business to find your business name. I think you’ll find it surprisingly rewarding and fun (I did – and I was surprised that it was fun and not as daunting as I made it out to be) when I got to make all of the decisions instead of a client!

  4. Hilmi says

    The best thing is your name when start with, because if not that name you don’t arrival this level of bloging.
    My name my be 3 weeks graphic design.

    • says

      Hilmi,

      Why is 3 weeks graphic design special to you? What makes you choose that name? It’s a long name, but you can certainly use the “nickname” 3 weeks if you so choose.

      You have to love the name. It has to feel right. You’re going to live and breathe it for the foreseeable future. I’d love to hear how your name does that for you.

    • says

      Hi Hilmi,

      Why did you choose 3 weeks graphic design as your business name? If it speaks to you great! My only concern would be is that potential clients may think that you will deliver their custom request within 3 weeks and maybe they have a project that may last longer.

      Good luck!
      Shop Girl

  5. says

    Great article April. I took a similar approach in naming my freelance business; Definition Designs. Came from an old project that I did in art class, was our culminating for that year. We we’re to define ourselves in an art piece – I carved a hand and engraved the base with “What you create defines you.” Always thought it was somehow really profound, and related well to what I think graphic design is – visually defining our world.

    Greer Genius – it’s got itself a nice feel to it.

    • says

      Davin,

      Thanks for the kudos!

      As I was saying to Hilmi (just above your comment), if you don’t love your name, it’s going to be hard to wake up every day and use it. I love that you found a name that’s meaningful to you.

  6. says

    I like it. It is part you (last name, characteristic), simple/short, professional and pretty cool.
    I would do business as this name and it does not come across as cocky to me. As long as your website/portfolio is polished, great content, easy to navigate and on point, then you’ve hit success. I too will have to face the name game soon. Right now I’m going off part of my name. I wish you well and thank you for this post.

    • says

      Thanks, Nina!

      (I think it’s pretty cool, too.) As you get going, check back in with us so we can see your progress! GDB has a lot to offer entrepreneurial designers, so we’d love to follow your success while you learn and share with the GDB community!

    • says

      Brian,

      Awesome – character and confidence are two great adjectives I’d love to have associated with my business!

      Digital Modshop sounds very tech-y and modern. Sleek. Professional. Are those the adjectives you’re going for? Good luck, and let us know what you fall in love with!

  7. Keisha Quarles says

    Great article April! I am having the same problem with coming up with a name for what I do. I think your name Greer Genius is great. I agree that it meets your criteria. I have two names that I may want to use for my business. The first one is Quarles Creations and the second one is Fresh Focus Studio. I like the first one but I think some people might have a hard time pronouncing my last name. I also like the second one except for the studio part. I am just having a hard time choosing which one I like better. Thank you for your post. It has given me a lot of things to think about towards my own business name.

    • says

      Thanks, Keisha!

      What if you dropped Studio and used Fresh Focus? It might make some think of photography, but if that’s something you’re good at it might work well. Q can also be a fun letter to play with – perhaps not your entire last name? Q Creations? Hmmm.

      Think about what you want your potential clients to think of when they read your business name (or see your logo). Fresh Focus sounds light, rejuvenating, Spring-y, etc. Quarles Creations has less attached to it as far as adjectives go, but creations often feels comfortable, homemade, cozy…like baked goods. See if you can come up with your own criteria to help you decide!

      • Keisha says

        I came up with Trikreations. The Tri works with the three things I am interested in doing such as design, photography, and videography. Kreations uses the K for my name Keisha and creations for what I like to do which is create. It has its own slogan which says try Keisha Creations.

          • Keisha says

            Yes I have added the hyphen to Tri-kreations. I really think that I have found my name for my business. I shared the name with my brother and he really liked it. Next is to design my logo. Thanks so much for the feedback.

  8. says

    I think it is good – and like the sheer genius rhyme link too ;)

    I previously had a partnership with another designer and we were called ‘marching ants’ (to those in the know the dots that march around a selection in image editing/layout software and to those not in the know it was something quite memorable and cool). The partnership didn’t work out so we finished the business and both did our own thing and had to bury the great name. I was sad to let go of the marching ants name but then wanted something that was about me and my ethos as a creative designer and came up with ‘One Bright Spark’.

    I too was a little apprehensive in my business name (and don’t do cocky/big headed so was a little worried but hoped it would focus on the ideas side of things rather than me biggin’ myself up!). I have been in business for about four years as one bright spark – first part time and then in October 2011 I plucked up the courage to quit the corporate day job (of 22 years) and am now realising my dream too.

    Everybody loves the name, especially when they get a spark plug keyring with a business card tag, which ensures I get remembered at least.

    Keep up the great work and thanks for an inspiring post that proves we are in charge of our own destiny and get out what we put in.

    • says

      Jason,

      Yay, someone gets the rhyme! I’m glad I’ve inspired you (and hopefully others).

      Losing “Marching Ants” must’ve been rough – that’s a great connection to your work! Glad you found yet another in One Bright Spark and that your name is part of your marketing scheme – excellent two-fer! :) I love that you went above and beyond with the keyring to make something memorable!

  9. says

    I love it! My business name is Duosista. Means nothing and is completely made up, but I could get the URL, twitter and anything else I wanted with it. I also like to give myself a fun title instead of Graphic Designer so I went with “Fun-lovin’, easy going multi-talented genius!” Maybe that would suit you too with your new business name and all!

    Good luck!

    • says

      Kylie,

      Duosista sounds like a great name for your attitude! Very fun, funky, creative, outside the box! I’ll have to think about a more creative name for myself.

      Good luck to you too!

    • says

      Hi Gustavo,

      I’d be happy to show you my resume – if you visit my LinkedIn profile (April Greer in Salem, Oregon), you can send me a note with your email address in it. I’d be happy to email you the PDF.

      Alternatively if you go to my portfolio – http://www.be.net/agreer and view my work experience, that’s got the same information as my resume does.

  10. says

    April, your story is so familiar except I was laid off in Dec. of 2010 after 10+ years at the same company. I applied for jobs, even worked for 3 months before the new store I was working for ran out of money. I had no idea what to do with myself until my Dad said to start my own biz. I went with a name that worked but later I was served with a cease and desist letter from a 110 million dollar company that didn’t like my name showing up before their’s on Google. So, I thought and thought and just couldn’t come up with a name until an epiphany hit me like a ton of bricks – Traci with an Eye (Graphic Design, LLC). Everyone seems to really react to it and like it. I’m very happy with it, too!

    I love Greer Genius – the play on words really speaks to people and makes them remember you. Good job!

    • says

      Traci,

      Very cool how you incorporated your name (and spelling) into your business name! So creative!

      It’s crazy we share such the same story – my dad also encouraged me to be my own boss and become an entrepreneur.

  11. says

    Wow, GDB readers! You are an amazing bunch! I can’t believe the outpouring of support I’ve received. When Preston and I talked about this post, I was nervous about putting myself at your mercy and hoped my skin was thick enough, but wow. My cup runneth over.

    Thank you all so much for your positive comments, thoughts, kudos, and interest! Keep them coming!

  12. says

    Love the name you came up with, witty, unique and it hits your criteria, you should definitely stick with it. I had this same problem while in my second year at Uni, I had to come up with a name and brand identity for a blog. A lot of my fellow class mates used their names and I though this was just boring so I went through exactaly the same process as you did;

    1.Meaningful to me.
    2.NOT Design/Studio/Graphics in the name
    4.Memorable
    5.Not taken by someone else

    I came up with ‘the mighty buck’

    1. I attended Bucks new Uni
    2. Has a ring to it and doesn’t have design in the name
    3. Memorable (sounds like the mighty ducks)
    4. the URL only cost me £4 for 2 years haha

    I have now graduated and not sure if I should keep it or re-brand my self as a designer. My blog needs an over hall and for me to start posting again so would be a perfect time to change things. I also need to upload more work on my portfolio from the job I am in at the moment. I still like the style as in the wax stamp, old paper, red and black but do you think I should change the name?

    Portfolio:
    http://themightybuck.carbonmade.com/

    Blog:
    http://themightybuck.co.uk/

    (any feed back would be appreciated)
    Phill

    • says

      Hi Phill,

      I’m glad you like my thought process and business name. It sounds like you did much the same thing as I for your own.

      My advice to you is find a name you love. If you feel like you can’t get behind “the might buck” anymore, like it just doesn’t *fit* anymore, then maybe now is a good time to make a change. I spent a lot of time with various names in that “well, I’m just not sure” stage. Ultimately, I kept feeling them out until something else came along that I liked a little bit better, sortof…and then I used Preston’s From Passion to Profit to really nail it. I still can’t believe that his exercise worked as well as it did.

      I took a look at your portfolio, and I think you’ve got a great start for an ebook about photography. I’d buy it. Seriously, I’m an amateur photographer who doesn’t want to read the manual (if I knew where it was) on all the bells and whistles. I want a simple. straightforward explanation and some tips from someone who knows what they’re doing. So I go on with my cheap-ish camera taking decent photos, but who knows? I might be just a few settings away from amazing photos, especially at night time.

      As for your wax logo, I get where you’re going but I think you should add some simple shading to give your logo some dimension. With logos it is often the simpler the better, but it’s totally flat right now. With some shading/darker red in the right spots, it could really come to life.

      Good luck, Phill! Thanks for posting, and stay tuned for more posts here at GDB that help you realize your freelance business!

  13. says

    I love the name, and I think it absolutely meets your criteria. It rolls off the tongue really well too, and I instantly get the connection to “sheer genius” when I say it out loud. It also radiates self confidence without being too cocky.

    I had my own naming issues as well. When I first started out freelancing about 8 years ago, I used “Jennae Signature Design” for years, and I HATED it. I knew in my gut that it didn’t feel right, but I couldn’t come up with anything better. Then like Traci, my new name came to me in a split second one day, and I just went for it.

    I chose “Hibiscus Creative” first and foremost because I love my hometown: St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, where hibiscus flowers are abundant. I wanted something that referred to a personal connection without being as obvious as my name. Second, the hibiscus to me represented growth and blossoming, which is what I like to think I’m helping my clients do. And lastly, I didn’t want to use “design, studio or graphics” either. “Creative” describes everything that I do, and I love the way the phrase rolls off the tongue. My mother and sisters insisted that I should use “graphic design” or something else, because “creative just doesn’t make sense.” I’ve been using my new name for three years now, and I’ve never had a client complain or say they didn’t “get it.” So I think I chose pretty well :)

    • says

      Jennae:

      Just from your photo and your thought process, I think Hibiscus Creative is a perfect match for you. It’s beautiful, classy, and creative. You did a great job.

      I am in the same boat you were – everyone here has raved about my name – but (read below) my mom and two of my good business-y friends (in the baby boomer age) have told me the exact same thing. Meh. I really like it, and I can promote it because I love it and want to live up to the name. Hopefully they’ll come around when the business cards and the website are unveiled!

  14. says

    I agree April, your new name rocks, I’d love to see your website and more of your work….do you have a site up yet?
    Suddenly I feel so ordinary thought! I just went with Theresa Sheridan Designs, mostly because if I used my full name I wasn’t required to do the whole fictitious business name statement process, which was more money than I had at the time. So, it was the practical route for me, not the creative and now I’m stuck with it. Heck, it IS me after all, so I guess it works.

    • says

      Theresa,

      Thanks – I can’t wait to see my website, either! :) Ha ha. Truthfully, I reasoned that without a name I couldn’t create a brand, and so I have only my Behance portfolio – http://www.be.net/agreer – not that that’s bad. I have a great idea for business cards in the works, though.

      Ordinary is not bad! Practical is often a great solution, and impractical is definitely the wrong way to go. Cost-effective is also a great attribute, especially for starting up.

  15. Mom says

    I guess I’m going to be the only one with negative feedback. Sorry, I’m the mom and I can do that. I think it’s catchy but if I were looking for a designer I wouldn’t know that’s what you did. Now you must remember that I’m totally technically non-saavy. I guess the school teacher in me leans towards something creative but informative! If one of my students wrote that I’d have to say “Genius at what???”

    • says

      Well sheesh, Mom, you of all people should know…genius at EVERYTHING! :) Just kidding. Love you anyway.

      You aren’t the only one who has said that my business name should reflect what I do, otherwise it’s unknown. I am thinking of a tagline that might describe my genius. Also realize that Greer Genius would also rarely be stand-alone. Most of the time, like on a business card, “April Greer, Graphic/Web Designer” would accompany it, or my portfolio on a website, or some sort of aforementioned tagline in a business directory — online or printed.

      PS – Aunt Linda likes it.

      • Preston D Lee says

        April,
        While I am always nervous to argue with mothers (ha), I agree with you.

        I think the name is excellent and shows that you really put some thought into it.

        But to your mom’s point, you will always need to include a tagline or something to clarify. Good thinking, April’s mom. And thanks for commenting! I think that’s a first: having a writer’s mom contribute. :)

        • says

          Preston,

          Thanks for the vote of confidence, even if it does mean slightly disagreeing with my mom. :) She’s a pretty busy lady so she probably won’t have time to give you the steely “mom look,” at least until summer when school lets out.

      • says

        Don’t forget about SEO! Even if your business name isn’t literal, if someone is searching for a graphic designer, key words on your website will still lead them right to you! :)

  16. says

    Oh a business name… I think you did a fantastic job in choosing a name. It’ll be great to see your new logo that corresponds with this name of yours. ;) THAT will be fun.

    Everyone I know (almost) has their business name as “Last Name + Designs/Studio.” So boring, and tells nothing about their personality or what they do. And alas, I lump myself in with that vast majority as a “throw my hands up” result of long hours brainstorming, sketching, and trying to be creative with words. I’ve decided words just aren’t my strong point. ;) I took up this domain name “melody graphic design” in a panic that for sure someone was going to steal it as I pondered over something more clever. So that’s where I have pathetically settled for now. I, much like you, have very mediocre work to show from my last and current job. I’m the most creative when I freelance, or dig up those old projects from college (which I’m currently showcasing neither!). I hope I come up with a half decent name at least by the time I get my behance portfolio up and running. Thanks for the inspiration and thoughts-

    • says

      Melody (and the rest of GDB readers):

      I can’t wait to show you the new logo! (Of course, that means I’ve got to get to work!) Thanks for your interest!

      Melody is a great name – think of it in reference to songs – “Make your design sing!” Okay, a little corny? Maybe, but something like that could work really well for you. You’ve got to get all the bad and mediocre ideas out so that the good ones really shine.

      As for getting some great new portfolio pieces, see if you can partner with a non-profit organization in your area or take a CE (continuing education) course that provides portfolio pieces. See Preston’s post about how to improve your success rate on cold calls/emails/mail with a published ebook/book/pamphlet/brochure about why they need your business. I’m definitely going to employ that trick!

  17. Dawnese R. Mahaffey says

    Hello April! I enjoyed reading your story. The name of my business/ministry is Filled With Encouragement. I started off doing graphic designs and quickly became discouraged by the lack of business I was receiving and how hard I had to grind to get customers. Then, Jesus, helped me grow into my talent and created a GREATER niche for my design/crafts. Now, I create one-of-a kind gift baskets and publications to encourage others, to not only, pursue their passion but embrace the greater that is within them. May you continue to be blessed and a blessing. Dawnese

    • says

      Dawnese,

      What an inspirational name! I love that it hints at faith and religion but it doesn’t smack you over the head with it. It’s also really great to hear about you finding your niche – I love the idea and the name really compliments your work.

      Do you have a website? I’d love to see it.

    • says

      Oafy,

      Thanks for the suggestions. I think you’re only one of 3 or 4 people I’ve shared with who have given me alternatives.

      I keep finding cohesion with Greer Genius and my life, and I really dig it, so that’s what I’m sticking with.

      Thanks, though!

    • says

      Steve,

      Very interesting. I like the movement. My only caution is to beware of words your clients can’t spell! Makes it harder for them to remember the name (hopefully for a referral!), the web address, etc.

      Definitely not saying that counts it out…just something to think about.

  18. Vaikne says

    I feel I may have found this at the right time. While I’m not exactly starting a business, I am starting to post my work for the world to see and I’d rather not just use “Name Design” or something bland. It’s more difficult than it might seem especially the “not-already-taken” factor. I’ve been piecing together some things, but can’t come to a conclusion.

    I want to sound youthful (I’m only 15) and sleek but not immature at the same time. I’ve found that most things I think of, are taken.

    I would like some more input from someone who has been in this position before.

    Thanks

    • says

      Hi Vaikne,

      It’s certainly not easy to find a good, timeless name for the same reason I don’t have a tattoo – I haven’t found something I know I’ll still love in 50 years. Luckily I brainstormed mine.

      What are your passions? What things make your eyes light up or have a soft spot in your heart? What defines you as a person? (As a 15 year-old boy, there are some humorous responses here, and really, you’re still defining yourself, but soul-searching is a good start.)

      Have you read all of the comments here? Our GDB community has a ton of wonderful, talented people who have shared their stories, trials, and tribulations in response to my post. Take some time to read through them.

      Good luck and best wishes!

  19. Zainab says

    Hey April, I think I have the same story as yours…I am not sure if my portfolio is good or not..I am searching for some freelance work too….
    Please pray that I get as lucky as you and find some work soon…
    And as soon as I get some good amount of work..than i shall be thinking of my company’s name..

    • says

      Zainab,

      Post a link to your portfolio here so everyone can take a look. (I saw yours on Behance, and I think your infographic pop-ups are really neat!)

      It’s important to get your business identity together because if you don’t have one, it’s hard to sell yourself.

      Some really great tips to finding freelance work and other forms of income are posted right here on GDB. Do some searching around and you’ll find some great methods!

    • says

      You’re welcome, Zainab! And good luck on your business identity. You have a very cool and unusual (in English) name, so perhaps you can find something that works well with it!

  20. says

    Hey April,

    Your post are very entertaining and inspiring. Especially since I too have been looking for a job for months and have yet to land a job. Have had a couple of interviews, but no results so far. Luckily, while I was in college, I decided to start my own “freelance” company to make a little extra income while in school. I also had trouble coming up with a witty name.

    It started as just J. Ashley Design, but then it later transformed to Blue Fox Creative (because foxes are fast, witty, and clever and that’s how I wanted my company to be portrayed… quick clever designs). I decided that Blue Fox Creative was kind of childish, so then I came up with Collateral Perspective. That stuck for a few weeks, but then I decided I didn’t like that either. Then, I decided to take something I loved… mountains… and then something that represents mountains… Blu (because I’m from Blue Ridge, but my dog’s name is Blu)… and then what I wanted to do…. Expressions…. that’s when Blu Mountain Expressions was born. I think it’s quite catchy and has a great meaning. Plus it doesn’t have the word Design or Creative in it which I love because it’s not like every other design company in the world.

    After the perfect name was born, I then registered it to become Blu Mountain Expressions, LLC. So far, my company name and logo have served me well and have brought me over 20 clients within the past year strictly through referrals! I’ve almost decided that I can make a decent living focusing on my clients rather than spending all of my time searching for a job.

    Anyways, excellent post! Well done.

    • says

      J. Ashley,

      I’m glad you’re enjoying my writing! You made my day (the premiere of Game of Thrones is a close 2nd). :)

      Thanks for sharing your story with us. It sounds like Blu Mountain Expressions is working out great, and I really like that it has meaning for you (it’s my favorite of the ones you listed).

      As you read above, I realized I didn’t have time for a “real job” either, and work has continued to arrive on my doorstep! Hooray! I’m always working to promote my business, as if you stop you’ll soon find that you have plenty of time to do so!

      Good luck and best wishes with your freelancing, job, or your happy medium of both!

  21. says

    Hi April!

    I loved your post because I felt that naming my business was the bane of my existence. I went through the same trials you did trying to come up with a name. I love the name of your business by the way. Based on what you wrote it seems to fit you to a T!

    I’m a veteran retail manager/owner having been in the retail industry for over 25 years! Yikes! LOL. I earned my degree in Merchandising and I love most aspects about retailing but the hours are horrible when you have a family to take care of. After I had my daughter I started a hair bow and ribbon business that allowed me to stay home for a while with her. I started to spruce up my product images with typography and then realized that I wanted to pursue a freelance career in graphic and web design.

    Now I must mention that I’m a master procrastinator and in this situation grade A chicken Sh!t. So I never launched my business. I always felt like people wouldn’t take me seriously (not sure why)because I’m a former retail employee. I know I’m my own worst enemy. Anyway not to drone on, I was laid off last December and I thought this was my big break! Mind you I hadn’t done anything to get my name out there. So I started my blog “Shop Girl Speaks” which was my insight into owning and managing a retail business. I thought I would segway into e-comm/graphic/web design. So that is where I am now. Seven years after having the desire to start my freelance business I’ve finally taken the plunge. I chose to keep SGS as the name of my business…it sums up who I am and what I do plus it keeps things simple for me at the moment. Depending on how my business grows I may branch into a second site.

    Here’s to your continued success!
    Shop Girl

    • says

      Shop Girl,

      Thanks for sharing your story, and let me tell you – where you come from is often a testament to how awesome you are, not a detriment! A lot of people who start in retail stay there forever (not that that’s necessarily bad), but to start in humble roots and strive for (and achieve!) more is laudable! Good for you!!!

      You have some great content in your blog – I particularly like your topic about putting things in an order that people are used to. I don’t like shopping much, so I want to get in, find it, try it on, and be done! Knowing that things are where I think they will be makes the process much less painful for me. It also translates to web design – where do people normally look for links, for example? Makes sense to keep them there so they aren’t discouraged and leave.

      One thing I’d love to see on your website – more color and pictures! You mention that your workspace is beige, beige, and beige…and your website is white and black! I think adding some color will bring some vibrancy and life to your site.

      Here’s to OUR continued success!

  22. says

    So I came up with my site name without even really thinking about it. I was creating a piece for a design class when I FIRST started in the design-direction and I just made a quick little logo, and called it Design Glo. I didn’t think twice about it nor did I even think it could end up being mine. Later, showing my dad some off my stuff, he suggested I buy the domain name. I did and within about a year, I had a little site up. My portfolio is pretty limited at this point and I’m still trying to build and get more experience, but having something up with at least some of my work is better than nothing.

    To this day, I’m still not 100% sure I love it. I tend to spend weeks trying to decide on verbiage. And before deciding on something, I do exactly what you did, write down words that speak to me, pair them up, move them around, sit and stew, move them around more, so on and so forth. This wasn’t the way it happened so I sometimes wonder if I should go through my usual process. But then I think about what I already have. It’s pretty original. It’s not stuffy and boring like gloria stovall design. It’s personal being that glo is a long standing nickname. And really, there aren’t any other design glo’s out there.

    Anyway, I’ve never looked for any feedback on it. I love Greer Genius. I think it’s witty and memorable, and honestly makes me wish I had a name that rhymed with anything. ;) Would love any feedback or ideas!

    • says

      Gloria,

      So, small world. I worked with your parents at Highland Laboratories (the company that laid me off at the beginning of the story). Your mom hired me and I took over for her when she left HL as the supervisor of the graphics department. I own your old black VW bug. I think we may have met once or twice. Crazy, eh?

      Anyway, now that you’re reeling, back on topic! I like that Design Glo has a personal connection to you in your nickname, and it has a nice ring to it. It feels very warm, inviting, and soft to me, like that soft focus in photography that makes skin look velvety smooth and blemish-free.

      That you’re not certain you love it is reason enough to explore more names using the methods we both embrace, even if you realize after all of that work that your favorite is still Design Glo. Sometimes the best names are the ones that just occur!

      Good luck, Gloria – you have some really nice photography shots there (I really like the railroad tracks from overhead, as well as the mashed candy hearts). I hope the GDB posts and archives can help you find more business and prevent common (and not so common) mistakes!

  23. says

    Hi April,

    I have been a freelance designer for a couple of years…and after moving back home (to a completely different continent) suddenly I seem to have struck lucky and got my work on the cover of magazines in my field of design…Also, with work ethics in this country being extremely slow and backward projects seem to take time, but i seem to have a good few clients that want me to do regular work for them along with clients now!!! These 3 together have made me kind of made me “pull my finger out” and get started with OFFICIALLY calling myself a design studio/company…”Licious Designs” is what I have decided to call it…

    Iv nver really been a fan of having my name incorporated into the name of companys…it works for some things…and doesnt for others…but Iv seen quite a few freelance designers naming companys after themselves…but the work does not quite seem very “there”, I mean we would ALL love to be Saatchi & Saatchi or Giugiaro Design or Seymour Powell but sometimes it doesnt quite have the same “feel” or “emotion”…this completely put me off wanting to name my design firm/studio/company after myself and I thought “Hell…Make yourself you own sales pitch, make yourself your own brand”…and so Licious Designs came about…well…my friends used to call me Farah-Ri-Licious…”Licious” ofcourse doesnt have a meaning…or rather i dont think it does its not on dictionary.com…

    My website has gone up…but I still have to put something up on the “under construction page”…Im at the tricky bit of what my logo should be…and have decided on not making it sooo “wtfs going on” and a bit more how i feel about design…simple, classy, elegant, sophisticated etc…

    All the best April…Im sure you will pick a great name…

  24. says

    Farah,

    Thanks for sharing your story – and congratulations on finding yourself with some good clients and on the cover of magazines! Very neat!

    I certainly don’t subscribe to the “a designer must use their name for their business name” theory – it works for some and not for others. I toyed with things I like rather than my name, but in the end I decided I wanted my name in the business name.

    I’m working on my website, too! It’s about 85% done at the moment.

    Good luck on your logo – I also wrote a post about designing my logo: http://www.graphicdesignblender.com/designing-my-own-logo

    Hope it helps!

  25. Autumn says

    Hi April,
    I like your name, it is a little cocky but well earned :).

    I am having an extremely hard time figuring out a name for my soon to be business. I’m not a design person, I’m more of a craft person.. I make journals, cards and a few fabric/yarn crafts as well. They are all decorative but I don’t want a “cute” name. I think I want my first name – Autumn- in there somewhere, but I don’t know what other word I could put with it, or even something that really fits the genre. I’m kind of stuck, any advice would be amazing! I’m stuck in “crafty corner” or that type of name, and I’d really like something more classy. (My last name is Mak, so I thought I might be able to use it as a play on words… Making?) I don’t really like any ideas I’ve come up with though.
    Thanks!

  26. says

    Autumn,

    Thanks – that’s my only reservation about my name. I prefer to think of it as self-confidence, but I’m certain to some it’ll come off as cocky.

    I encourage you to brainstorm like I did – spend about 1/2 hour writing down words that associate with your business, even if they seem silly at the time. Then start putting them together.

    The common perception is that some people “have it” (creativity for naming) and others don’t, and that it’s a simple art that just “comes” to people. In reality, most people have to work at naming their business well, even the ones with good names!

    A lot of people are using the word “Creations” or “Creative” in their names – see Hibiscus Creative above – that sounds very classy. Perhaps brainstorm on synonyms of “creative” (you can use a thesaurus!) and see what you come up with.

    Autumn Gifts – Perfect for any season? (A little cliche, but a start)

    Good luck, and remember, the really creative and unique names start flowing once you’ve gotten all the mediocre ones out!

  27. says

    Hi April,

    I loved your blog! I’m currently re-branding my image online and while I’m not a graphic designer, I work in the field of Social Media and Web Design. My husband and I are going to have a joint business, but do totally different things (I do Media, he does Music). It makes sense for our LLC to be one, since he just freelances on top of having a regular job (tax benefits!).

    What I name the business will need to reflect ME and HIM, but have a more neutral tone. Any thoughts to this? I’d love any feedback from your readers as well!

    Thank you
    Lisa

    • says

      Lisa,

      Thanks! (This isn’t my blog, but I post here weekly.) It’s got TONS of great articles for beginners and advanced freelancers, and while they’re mostly geared toward designers, they translate well into your fields.

      Hmm, a name…maybe something with the word “harmony” to reflect his music as well as the two of you working together? It could also work well with your web/social media being in harmony with more traditional methods of marketing. Perfect harmony is an obvious one – but I’m sure with some brainstorming you’ll find something great.

      Let us know when you’ve got some good ones to share – I’d love to hear them!

      April

  28. amina ansari says

    Ok!!!! I am all impressed with you ppls creativity in findin names for your business!! Cheers!
    Now I would be glad if I can get some smart advice from you all for naming my graphic design biz!
    I wanna incorporate my name ‘amina’ in it!! Or both names amina ansari !!!
    I was thinkin aminas art or Artistic amina or art by amina !!!??!!? I don know!! :-(

    • says

      Amina,

      It sounds like you really like having the word “art” in your name – try to brainstorm like I did on that word. You’ve got a nice alliteration with “Amina,” “Ansari,” and “art.” You may want to play on that.

      Amina Ansari Art? Ansartistry? Just a couple to help get the creative juices flowing. Think about what you want your potential clients to think of when they read your name. What feelings do you want to invoke?

      Good luck, and feel free to share when you’ve got some solid concepts (and reasons for them)!

  29. Katy-Ann says

    Hey April,

    Greer Genious, is great! It made me chuckle but I love the confidence it exudes and your work backs it up! If you have confidence in you then so will your clients! Definitely a keeper!!

    I am really struggling to find a name too at the moment. I am starting an Interior and Event design company. I am still in the baby steps with only 3 weddings and two interiors projects under my belt, but feel I need an identity. I really want the name to embody, elegance and style with individual creativity. I want to deliver affordable oppulance to events or interior space, corporate or personal. I liked ‘Timeless Designs’ but was told its a bit flat! My friend suggested ‘Swank’ but for obvious reasons has been rejected!!
    Please help, it’s so much harder when it’s your own!
    Good luck with your ‘genius’ and happy blogging xxx

    • says

      Katy-Ann,

      Interior and Event design – sounds like a LOT of fun! I designed the place settings for a friend’s wedding and really enjoyed it, and I also was responsible for designing every aspect of the memorial celebration for my dad, and while the topic was difficult, getting to “design” the experience was neat.

      Let’s start with the word timeless and my best friend, Roget. Endless, eternal, divine are all great synonyms. I think “designs” isn’t elegant enough for your business adjectives. Timeless Nights? Elegant Spaces? Simply Divine?

      Remember, your name doesn’t have to tell people what you do – I chose to pair my name with a tagline in the logo so that I could have the name Greer Genius without having to specifically state I’m a designer – my tagline is “Brilliant graphic & web design.”

      How is that for a start? Let us know what you come up with!

      Thanks for sharing!

  30. Ankita Gaur says

    Hi April,
    Im a freelancer since 3 years now, I wont deny saying this that I think of giving a identity to my work daily. But I often think that should I really include my name there, or keep it a reflection of my work skills.
    You article has encouraged me and the best thing is that once i finished reading it, loads of name popped up in my mind, so im sure giving it a sincere thought will give me “a good company name”
    Sheer genius skills will be required to come up with a unique name.
    Thanks
    A Gaur

    • says

      Hi Ankita,

      Thank you for your kind words! I’m glad to have helped.

      Please do share when you determine your company name – I’d love to hear it!

      Best,

      April

  31. Katy-Ann says

    Hey April,

    Thank you for your help! Thought you might like to know that I went for the personal connection in the end too!
    My surname is Sargent and I went for ‘Centurion Designs’ Centurion having the same meaning (roughly translated) as Sargent.
    It is also the name my father has for his Theatre Company.
    Your blog really helped me think of something personal and I enjoyed the journey it took to get here! Thank you and I look forward to reading more of your blog, despite our different sectors!
    Good luck xx

    • says

      Katy-Ann,

      Centurion Designs – I like it! I love that you found a personal connection, and isn’t the journey great?! I found that at the time I was a little frustrated, but the challenge and the personal pride as I neared the destination really made it a fun project.

      Good luck to you too, and I hope to see you around GDB again!

  32. Natalie Islas says

    Great story April. Thanks for sharing. I’ve been having the same issues on my end. A friend and I are creating a business together. He’s your jack of all trades, cooks/caters, paints, can build pretty much anything including furniture. We’re working on a recipe book and were also working on selling some of his items on etsy and a few other sites. We just cant figure out a great and catchy name to stand out. Were trying to avoid our initials and names. I feel like this is the hardest thing ever. Any ideas would be truly appreciated.
    Thanks a bunch

    • says

      Natalie,

      Hmmm, business naming isn’t easy, that’s for sure, even when your focus is quite narrow. Naming such a diverse business proves even more of a challenge.

      Let’s ask Roget, one of my very best friends. Diverse, numerous, copious, abundant, zillion. Jack of all trades, catch-all, factotum (ooh isn’t that a fun word?). Create, draft, design, blueprint, production.

      Since there are two of you, possibly a Jack ‘n Jill (or other duo) name? I’m drawn toward the word zillion, as well, as there seem to be many things your business is capable of. Maybe just Zillion(s) with a tagline? Design Factory (possibly taken)? Catch-all Creations?

      These are just a few to get you started – let us know if we get you off on the right foot, and update us with your progress!

      Thanks for your comment!

  33. says

    Hi April, and everyone else!

    I’ve had the same dilemma here, as you all have, in deciding a business name. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    Doing a freelance projects here and there using my real name is one thing, but is that what I want my business to go by? “Dave Garcia Designs”, just “DaveGarcia”, etc? It just sounds boring to me… partially because my first and last names are two of the more common ones out there! So there are plenty of other ‘Daves’, ‘Davids’, and ‘Garcias’ out there that do design work.

    My other idea, would be to stick to the online alias I’ve used everywhere for the last 15years or so: “galtdave”. That’s the name of the small CA town I grew up in; Galt. So the name was simple, always available (unlike my real name), and I thought it sounded catchy.

    But I no longer live there, and wouldn’t want to potentially turn away ‘big-city’ clients with my ‘small-town’ background, so I’m just not sure. I still like the nickname, and prefer the slight anonymity it provides, but am not sure how professional, others would see it. But hey, that Leornardo da Vinci guy did the same thing with his name, right?

    Thank you for any input you can give, and good luck to you all!
    Dave Garcia / (galtdave)

    • says

      Hi Dave,

      I agree – there are thousands of Daves and Garcias out there, so I think you might be served better by a nickname or separate business name altogether.

      If you really like galtdave, there’s no reason you can’t use it. Galt is not a well-known town, so I don’t think many of your potential clients would even understand the reference. It is a bit stilted, so maybe smooth it out into Galdave?

      My online alias has always been “Titan AG” and for a long time I assumed I would use Titan in my business name, but there is already a “Titan Design” and I wound up with something different entirely that I love even more.

      Don’t be afraid to use a thesaurus once you’ve come up with adjectives and words that describe what you want your clients to think of when they read your business name. I’m a huge fan of Roget. :)

      Does this give you a start and some direction? Please feel free to post your progress or share ideas with us, and if you have more questions, just ask!

      Thanks for sharing!

  34. Peggy Robertson says

    Hi April,
    I’ve just googled company names and your GBD came up. It was very interesting to read your story, as I, too, am in the process of going out on my own and trying to find a suitable name. It’s a home staging/decluttering business and I’m wracking my brain to try and come up with something that stands out from the crowd. I started off with my name “Robertson’s Home Design” but it just doesn’t sound right. My original thought is to use the word “home” in it somewhere but with any of my suggestions, someone else has already used it! I’ve also considered Beautifully Organized, but again just doesn’t seem to incorporate the home staging side of the business. Any ideas? Or should I just go out and buy the book!

    • says

      Peggy,

      Wow – I’m thrilled that a google search brought up my post! :)

      Let’s see – home staging/decluttering. Organization. Neat. Welcoming. Inviting. Captivating. Enchanting. Appealing. (Just brainstorming here.)

      What about Curb Appeal (maybe too outdoor-related)? Perfect Harmony? Houses to Homes? Neat Spaces (dual-meaning with the word neat)?

      There’s a start – keep going and let us know what you decide!

      Thanks for sharing!

  35. Peggy Robertson says

    Hi April,

    Thanks for your suggestions, some of which I’ve thought about but had to dismiss. I, too am a fan of Roget (my copy is falling apart from constant use), and found it helpful for alternative words. After numerious attempts at

  36. Peggy Robertson says

    Hi April,

    Thanks for your suggestions, some of which I’ve thought about but had to dismiss. I, too am a fan of Roget (my copy is falling apart from constant use), and found it helpful for alternative words. After numerous attempts and swapping words back and forth, I have come up with Simplicity – Home Staging and Decluttering Services. For me, it conjures up a feeling of calm, which is what staging and decluttering is all about. Thank you for your advice on how to go about it, it’s helped a lot!

    I am an American living in England and the concept of home staging is (hopefully) growing, so with any luck it will become a viable business.

    Thanks again for replying.

  37. Haley says

    Hello, ad thanks so much for posting this. I keep coming back to it because I’m having a hard time finding a name for my business. I’m in Alaska but most Alaskan names sound too cutesy or trite. My original idea was Blue Moose Design (can’t seem to get away from that “design”), but apparently there are a few grills and bars named that. I also liked Pet Moose Productions (with a great silhouette idea of a man petting a huge bull moose), but am afraid Productions sounds too much like TV and movies.

    My last idea was mostly based off your post but no one seems to like it but me (have asked around for some opinions, so far none are favorable to:) Mull Holland, or Mull Holland Designs. I like it, it makes me smile. My last name is Holland (and we already have a Holland Development in the family, a contracting business), so Holland Design(s) was always an option. I kinda like my last name a little too much and am not opposed to using it. But I know there’s a surname “Mulholland” out there, and I am the type of person to mull things over, so it says something about me. And… I don’t know, what do you think?

    I really liked your business name, and I also saw your logo design post and think that turned out wonderfully! Thanks again for such a great post. This site is pretty awesome.

    Have a great day!

    Haley

    • says

      Hi Haley,

      First, thanks for your praise and kind words!

      Being from Alaska you have a lot of interesting choices without being cutesy. From glaciers to moose to gold, the possibilities are endless!

      A few names to get you started – The Gold Mine, Gold Mine Designs, Glacier Creations, Moose Holland Designs, Holland Gold.

      Ultimately you have to love your name so that you can sell it every day. But it’s nice if others – including family, friends, and clients – love it, too. Mull Holland is a bit of a mouthful – maybe difficult to pronounce? It does have a certain ring to it.

      Let us know how your name search goes!

    • says

      Cassandra,

      Great last name for design work! StileStyles…just brainstorming a bit here: 2Styles, Stile’s Styles, Double Styles.

      PS – You’ve misspelled your business name in your comment. This is the most important thing never to do that with! Always double-check your business name and contact information are correct whenever you’re typing or writing them.

  38. tee mickens says

    April,

    If you love the name, work with it!! (as your doing lol). After reading this post and looking at your portfolio, i think it suites you!! I need help with my name!! I bought the domain name marievisualmedia.com, nothing is on it and hasnt been for almost a year now because im getting old of the name! I am a 25 y o art student graduating next year with a bachelors in fine arts (major web design and interactive media) and I do freelance graphic/web work as a side hustle. Marie is my middle name… but im so lost for company names! As you said, what you do doesnt HAVE to fit into the title, and I definitely agree with you, but i keep finding myself attaching the words “studio/visual/media/art/graphics” to the end of my ‘oh so creative’ names! Help please!

    • says

      Hi Tee,

      Thanks – I’m glad you like “Greer Genius.”

      You are in serious need of a brainstorming session! Start writing down adjectives and words that describe you, your business, your passion, your personality, everything that relates to you. Then start piecing them together.

      I highly recommend you get a copy of Preston’s From Passion to Profit if you’re serious about freelance design as a for-profit business. He’s got a TON of useful and simple exercises to get you started, and the book’s a quick read, so it’s perfect for a busy life!

      Good luck, and give us some names once you’ve done some thinking! (Some starter names to get the creativity flowing…Epiphany Web Solutions, The Creative Mind, Kaleidoscope Media.)

        • says

          Tee,

          I hope you find it as useful as I do – even now that I’m profiting, I still find words of wisdom and useful tips in there, especially regarding creative marketing. I’ve done that chapter exercise more than once.

  39. says

    I like the name “Greer Genius”. I would hire you for that name :). I love your story I can relate very well. Most of all I love the tips that you have developed from that wonderful adventure you had of finding a good name.

    “I realized I had almost nothing to show for 5 years of my career. My portfolio sucked. I had more work from college than I did from my previous company.”

    Me for 10 years and now just starting to do some freelance jobs. Before I quit my job more than a year ago, I thought of “themissingsquare” but now I don’t feel liking it anymore. You can see my site is missing the design theme that’s because I can’t think of a good name for it. My focus would be for motion graphics and animated videos.

    • says

      John,

      I am for hire, if you find yourself or someone you know in need! :) Thanks for your kind words – it’s great to be part of a community that can relate, and I hope my story helps others realize there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

      A few names to get your brain churning: The Missing Pixel. The Finishing Touch. Motion Redefined. Guinto Animations.

      Let us know when you narrow it down!

  40. says

    Again a great post April, I have to agree with John that yours is a story I can relate to… I am 5yrs out of University wishing & wanting to freelance but no portfolio as such to show, thanks for sharing your experience… It make me feel more positive that I can get there with my freelance career!

    As for a freelance name… I have always gone with tenpens creative… On initial look I think people may think it is a bit silly and not really understand it, but there are actually a couple of reasons to the name…

    1) it is a daft nickname I had for a brief period at university, when the ‘Daddy Cool’ song was doing the rounds on a car advert… My song was Heather, Heather tenpens… Heather she has tenpens… Relating to me often holding up in my room completing my design course work.
    2) Also this is an anagram of my surname Penten
    3) I wasn’t sure people would understand what I was about simple with tenpens, so creative is there to reflect my interest, passion and skill in various creative pursuits such as handprinting, sketching, photography as well as graphic design as a whole!

    I would love some feedback as I often swing between loving it then thinking it isn’t suitable!

    • says

      Hi Heather, and thanks for commenting!

      There’s nothing wrong with exploring more options even though you have a name you’re waffling on. In fact, I highly recommend it! Challenge yourself to find something even better, and if you can’t, well, you already have a name you think you like.

      I find that Tenpens Creative could be suitable – it’s certainly not unsuitable, but you have to ask yourself if you can sell that name day in and day out and really get behind it.

      Good Luck, and check back in with us after you’ve done some brainstorming to let us know what you’re thinking!

  41. says

    I am a student in SCAD and I am majoring in Graphic Design and Minoring in Photography. I need help coming up with a name for my designs. My artwork is inspire by asian culture.

    • says

      Hi Perla,

      If you intend to do freelancing after college, Preston’s From Passion to Profit would be an excellent start for you. From there you can work through the exact same process I used to create my business in the “naming your business” chapter, as well as learn how to get your finances, marketing, and frame of mind set for the world as a professional rather than a student.

      Reread my post here and follow the same structure I did. Brainstorm words that remind you of you, of Asian culture, of what you want others to think of when they read your business name. Think about the criteria you have for your business name. Work at it, but have fun too!

      After you’ve done some brainstorming, let us know what names you’ve come up with and we can help you narrow them down or take your creativity to a new level.

      Good luck!

  42. Mia Trevelyan says

    Hi April
    I am going into the final year of my degree in graphic design and I’m beginning to put together my portfolio website, however I’m having trouble with the name. I’d quite like to use my surname – Trevelyan, as it’s quite unusual. However, I’m not sure if it’s memorable/easy to pronounce and spell. Any ideas surrounding it?
    Many Thanks
    Mia

    • says

      Hi Mia,

      Trevelyan is certainly unique and has a nice ring to it, but you could easily run into pronunciation/spelling problems. That doesn’t mean you can’t use part of it, try to make an anagram of your last name that would be simpler, or use it in its’ entirety but make your URL simpler to remember.

      I encourage you to do some brainstorming on what to put with your last name (unless you want it to be stand-alone). Examples to get your creativity flowing are Trevelyan Art, Blue Trevelyans (illustrate unique blue flowers and incorporate in your theme), or I Am Revel (anagramming Mia and using just part of your last name + the I am legend style).

      Good Luck and thanks for sharing! I’d love to see your portfolio when you’re ready.

  43. Diamond says

    Help me! My name is Diamond. I’ve been rolling with “Art of A Diamond” for a while now, as the name of my company, but I feel as if something is missing or that its too long. HELP!

    • says

      Hi Diamond,

      I think you’ve got a great theme going with diamond, but I definitely agree you can hone your business name. You have to be careful not to make yourself sound like a gem dealer nor a tool company, but I think you can still think up something great!

      Let’s get the creativity flowing with a few diamond adjectives…sparkling, crystal clear, brilliant, rich, beautiful. Hmmm – Diamond Art, Diamond Creativity, Brilliant Diamond Designs, Diamond in the Rough. You can also use a diamond as your mark and use a name that suggests diamonds but doesn’t directly use the word.

      Good luck and let us know what you come up with!

  44. Mtabazi Simon says

    Hey Apri, i am really amused by the way you solved this problem. I am a student doing computer engineering in a university here in Tanzania and i want to also start a freelance designing company. And i was looking at your story adn you know what? if i had a company and i was looking through company lists, the genius would get my attention. Speaking of easy to spell out and pronouse, Greer is kind of hard for me… lol April Genious would not be good coz it might mean seasonal genius.. lol but Greer Genius, is a good name. Thanks, i am looking at making my own name too.. but i dont know where to start.. help me out..

    • says

      Mtabazi,

      Wow – We’ve reached Tanzania! :) Very cool, and thanks for commenting!

      I can imagine for some non-native English speakers, Greer isn’t easy – even for native English speakers it can be difficult over the phone in particular.

  45. Mtabazi Simon says

    Here is something i have been playing around with.. I thought of clear as a theme for my company and so i looked up the greek word, which is delo, so now am thinking of delo creative, delo illustrations, delo … i dont know how to make it clear and eye catching to the customer.. help me pliz

    • says

      Mtabazi,

      Delo – I like that. I can imagine someone asking who designed that great logo and the response being, “I worked with Delo.” I really like names with some thought behind them. Maybe it’s just Delo, with a tagline like “clearly creative design” or something with clear in it. Delo Imagination? Simon Delo? – Simon being much simpler to pronounce (for me anyway) than Mtabazi.

      Clear makes me think of water, a starry night, a bubble, and a mirror. Perhaps you can use some sort of imagery (maybe the o is a droplet of water?) to convey a concept of clear. But that also may make it look like you’re in the water business.

      Does that help you get started? Keep brainstorming and let me know what you come up with!

      • Mtabazi Simon says

        Wow, am soo pleased with your help and surely, this is a nice kickstart for my studio. I dont know if its more advisable for a freelance designer to have his/her name in the name of the studio.. do you think thats necessary? simon delo… is somewhat no good sounding for me.. but on the other hand, it has my name in it.. delo imaginations is perfect but doesnt have my name in it,,,.. and mtabazi is hard to pronouse and i dont think i should put it in my logo.. and .. for the start i have this personal blog at http://mtabazis.wordpress.com and i dont know what your advise is.. about being just a mtabazis designer or a more company name.. like delo imagination designer..

        • says

          A freelancer does not have to have their name in the business name – see the other comments! There are many great names here that don’t include the name of the designer.

          If Delo Imaginations is perfect for you, go for it. My criteria aren’t the end-all to all naming criteria; they were simply what I wanted in my business name. I like Delo Imaginations, and if that’s where your heart lies, then run with it. You have to love your name, because you’re going to be selling it every day.

          Thanks for keeping me updated!

          • says

            Thanks alot. I love DeloImaginations and i am taking it. Thanks alot for your contribution and i am realy gratefull. I am going to update my blog and also register it as a business.

  46. says

    Hi April,

    I’m a creative UI/UX designer from Sri Lanka, and I need your help/suggestion on renaming my previous brand name “MadebySaji” because I feel its a bit off and common. I love “me” on my brand name and I agree with your points on naming myself/brand..

    I would really appreciate your help on this.. thanks in advance…

    Cheers,
    Saji

    • says

      Hi Saji,

      Made by Saji is a bit, well, non-descriptive. What about Saji Interactive? Or Saji GUI? Haha – a bit of a rhyme. Saji Web Solutions?

      Don’t be afraid to use a thesaurus to find more interesting, descriptive words for “user input”, “interactivity”, etc.

      Good luck, and let me know where it takes you!

  47. Saeed says

    Hi April,

    I am bit confused on name .. I am looking into starting business on Trading and services side.. Trading in industrial side parts/equipment requirements we have locally. Name decided earlier was Trade2Serv which means anything Trading too Servies, Just wanted to keep domain open incase I have to move to different industrial segment :D but it looks odd in introducing urself to some one :) then i thought of Techroll or TecWelder since these domains are not available with Tech… Sugesstions please..

    • says

      Hi Saeed,

      I’m not quite sure from you description what exactly it is you sell and what you’re expecting in return. I get that you sell parts/equipment, but for what industry (construction, technology, etc.)? But you want to generalize a bit as you’re not sure where this will lead. Are you actually trading product for services? Are you just using the term trading for monetary transactions?

      If you can give me a bit more information, I might be able to point you in the right direction.

  48. Doncheree Frye says

    I love your name! I would love to come up with something with similar creativity and personalization. I design stationary for weddings. I like that you pointed out not to use Design in my business name but that’s the only thing I can think of…I like alliteration too, which is good, but has been throwing me off as the only thing that’s been popping in my head is Doncheree’s Designs. Which I don’t like, too boring.

    Any ideas?

    • says

      Doncheree,

      Thanks – glad you like it!

      Brainstorm on synonyms for wedding stationery and design. Don’t restrict yourself to D or F words, just let all of them flow. Also think about the feel you want for your name – are you going for elegant, fancy, opulent, delicate, quirky, fun, modern?

      Also remember that your name could be something like Delicate Designs by Doncheree. (Still has ‘design,’ I know.) Or The Fancy Flow, which needs a great tagline, but it can be done. :)

      Does this help get you started? Good luck, and let me know when you’ve got some new ideas to share!

      • Doncheree Frye says

        Yes that definitely helps! What do you think of Creative Fryedeas? This is what I came up with before I saw your reply. I think I want it to be kind of quirky and modern but still somewhat elegant because it’s for weddings.

        PS. You’re so awesome for helping all of us out! It helps to bounce ideas off others!

        • says

          Doncheree,

          Love it! Very creative, and with a great logo and tagline, you can give it the feeling you’re going for.

          And you’re quite welcome – GDB truly is a community to help designers, and this type of give and take embraces the community philosophy.

          Thanks for sharing!

  49. Erica says

    Hi April!

    I am currently a student designer trying to start myself up as freelance and my goal for this summer is to start a website showcasing my portfolio, but I don’t feel that it’s right to do that without coming up with a proper business title. So far, I’ve been able to come up with one thing – Wednesday Designs. Want the backstory? Here it is – friends in my program are always asking me why I am so good at what I do and thinking back on it, they always seemed to say that on a Wednesday when we had our Design classes in the wood shop, the drafting lab, and the wardrobe. So when they would say ” Erica, you’re just too good at everything.”, I would answer ” Only on Wednesdays.” Do you think this is a good name for me?

    • says

      Erica,

      Great story – I think Wednesday Designs works very well! You’ll have a much easier time promoting yourself if you love your name, logo, and business identity. In your about section would be a great place to explain your name to those who are curious.

      I’m so glad to hear you’ve got goals! Already you’re ahead of so many who keep saying “tomorrow…” and “someday…”

      Good luck, Erica, and keep coming back to GDB as we have a TON of material to help you achieve your freelance dreams.

  50. says

    This was such a great article and very informative, April. I am a graphic design major at The Art Institute and I am trying to put together a creative group made up of freelance creative students. The name I came up with for my creative group is Generation88. As a design student, I know how difficult it can be breaking into freelancing, getting jobs, and building experience. Generation88 brings some talented students together to work on various projects for local businesses. I’ll mainly be focused on aspects of company branding, such as logo design, print design, web design, photography, video, and marketing. I came up with the name, Generation88, because well, 1988 was the year I was born and I’ve met so many young individuals that are extremely talented in the creative field they chose.

    • says

      Aaron,

      Thanks for your kind words.

      I think you’ve got a great idea going – why not get a group of talented specialists to deliver the best possible solution.

      I also think your name is pretty great, especially if your freelancers are in that same age group.

      Thanks for sharing, and keep us posted on your progress!

  51. says

    Hello My name is Jenna,
    im currently a student in graphic art and design.
    I am already taking orders for simple things i know how to do and i need to name my business, get a bank account for it, and a website. I thought about Black Water Dragon Designs since my son was born in that year and it can be abbreviated to BWDD for short i just was not sure if it was too long or possibly was taken as a name for another company already. Any help or advice that i can get would be awesome as i need to get this done ASAP. Thank You!!

    • says

      Hi Jenna,

      First of all, slow down! There’s no rush. I did business just as myself until I knew I found the perfect business name. Sure, there’s a lot of work to be done, but you have plenty of time.

      You definitely need a bank account – go to your bank of choice and open a second checking account in your name. Don’t tell them it’s a business account or they’ll charge you the business account fees. Just use it for business only.

      If you’re in love with Black Water Dragon Designs, that’s great. You need a name you’re going to be able to sell day in and day out. If you don’t love it, it’ll be hard to sell yourself. BWDD is rather long, so you’ll definitely want to get a web domain that’s shorter if you go with this name.

      As far as choosing a name goes, determine how you want the world to recognize you and think of you. What feeling do you want them to get? What associations do you want them to make? What do you want your name to say about you? If Black Water Dragon Designs fulfills these questions (and you love it), it’s the name for you. If it’s just okay, keep thinking up new names!

      To find out if your name is already taken, check the copyrights and the trademarks (google it).

      Good luck! Let me know what you decide!

  52. Lawrence says

    I am planning on re-starting my graphic design business. For the most part, I have done printing projects for small businesses as well as a few billboards. I have used the name precision graphics. I like the name because it speaks to my desire to give each client “precisely” what they need. There are times that I think the name is too long. What are your thoughts?

    • says

      Hi Lawrence,

      Precision Graphics isn’t too long, in my opinion. Precision is a well-known word, and it’s not a mouthful to say. Adjectives like sharp, clean, crisp, professional, straight, and precise (duh) come to mind when I hear it. So if your work tends to be soft or flowing, precision is too hard a word. I like it though. Your tagline “Precisely what you need” can definitely help soften precision into the way you think of it.

      I would brainstorm words similar to precision and the idea of providing exactly what your clients need, because you don’t sound sold on the name yet. But keep it around, say it out loud, and write it down – if it’s hard to part with, you might have found your match. :)

      Good luck, and let me know what you decide!

  53. Kate says

    Hi April,
    Thanks for such a great article and I love your name, also liked the article about your logo ideas.. I went on & purchased from Passion to Profit and it has so many good ideas, also it is really easy to read. I am studying Graphic Design and hope to one day freelance or own my own design business. My Mum would like to go into partnership with me also. I am also stuck on the name.. as my name is Kate I really liked CMYKate but it is taken. I also like the design technique Ombre, so was thinking of calling it that. I like the idea of just 1 words. My concern is that it may not be easy enough to spell or pronounce and will get confused with hombre.. I am only in the very early days of graphic design so really have no idea thought..
    Really looking forward to your feedback & have a lovely day :-)
    Kate, Cairns Australia

  54. Kate says

    Hi Again,
    Just spoke with my Mum and she doesn’t like the word Ombre… it doesn’t grab her, and now that I think about it I do agree. Aaah this is so hard..

    • says

      Kate,

      Glad to hear From Passion to Profit has been so useful for you, too!

      I agree with your mum, and Ombre (at least near Spanish-speakers) will be confused with Hombre.

      It’s kinda corny, but it’s a start – A-OKate. Or Great by Kate. Aussimaginations. Maybe you want to generalize a bit more – start with Perfect Solutions or Pure Magic and brainstorm on different ways to say this.

      Your name also might reflect your niche, or what you’re best at…and you may still be learning what that is.

      The great thing about 1-word things is that they don’t have to start out that way. They can be longer, and then be abbreviated purposely. For example, Ford Motor Company is just called Ford.

      Overall, remember to take your time – you don’t need a name instantly, especially since you’re still in school. Better to do it right the first time then rebrand once people know you. When you find a name you like, think it over for a while. You don’t have to know instantly, but you might just keep coming back to it.

      Good luck! Keep me posted on your progress!

  55. Roop says

    Hi,

    April, I think Greer Genuis is a really cool name! This post is very helpful. I would love some advice.

    I used to run my own design business in an area that was populated with a lot of Indians. I called my company ‘Roop Designs” as it is my nickname means, appearance/beauty. I have since moved away from the Indian population and I am now thinking of freelancing. Do you think I should keep the same name?

    My full name is Manroop, which means Man = Mind and Roop= Beauty, so was thinking maybe Beautiful Mind Media? Really can’t make up my mind. Roopstar Design, ??

    Roop
    Scotland

    • says

      Roop,

      Thanks – I’m glad you like it!

      Your name’s unique, fun, and easy to spell. What about just going with Roop? Your tagline can specify what you do. Or Roop Media?

      Think about what you want your customers to think when they hear/see your name, because Roop gives off a much edgier vibe than Beautiful Mind Media. How do you want your target audience to view you?

      Let me know what you decide. Thanks for sharing!

  56. Kay says

    Ladies and gentlemen, please help me.

    I need a name for a brand new business. We will be providing graphic design, web development for our clients. I though of so many name but its all taken abd domain is not available. Please give me some ideas……… I really need help!

    • says

      Kay,

      A name is SO much more than what you do. It’s who you are and how you intend to help your target audience. Define yourself, and then you can start to find a good names. Once you have some names, brainstorm how to say those differently.

      I’d love to help once you give me some direction!

  57. says

    Greer Genius is a great name. Like you said, your customers will know exactly who they’re dealing with and there is a great sense of whimsy and creativity that comes with the name. Since you are in a creative field make sure your name is equally creative.

  58. says

    I think you came up with a great idea “Greer Genius.” Just make sure that you can get the exact match .com domain name. In your case you might be able to use Greer Genius Designs but the shorter the name the better. Nice job on the naming though.

  59. says

    Ever consider a “brandable” domain name? These are company names that are made up and don’t have and specific meaning. You could also play with the word design or look at foreign translations as well.

    Thanks for the post.

    • says

      I think the more meaning a brand name has to the owner, the better fit it is. This attaches the owner to the brand emotionally and helps them sell their business because they believe in it.

      • Mohammed Gulfraz says

        Hi April,

        I’ve been reading all the comments from people and love how you are guiding everyone based on your on your own experiences. I love the name Greer Genius, you really are a Genius.

        I was wondering if you can help me, I am stating my own freelancing business. I am a graphic designer and I specialise in creating logos, photo edits, leaflets, album covers for music artists, and I have also started making funny comic/sketch cartoons. I need help with a name that is unique and not so boring. I’m currently using MG Designs as a temporary name but I’m not comfortable with it now. I tried merging my first and last name and also rearrange letters from my surname but had no luck. I don’t want to have ‘graphic designer’ at the end but something like ‘creations’ or ‘visuals’ would be great.

        Any ideas April?

        Thanks in advance.

  60. says

    Hi everyone! I am an interior designer and I ve decided to start my own corporation with painting and designing! Any name ideas? I am sooooo tired cause I filled up a 4 subject notebook with names,brainstorming words and still nothing……. I agree that you don’t have to say design if you are a designer e.t.c. But still nothing! Heeeeeeeelp!

    • says

      Ellizay,

      Painful, isn’t it, when you know the perfect name is out there but right now it’s just beyond your reach? Sorry to hear of your frustrations.

      Just going to throw some ideas out – sometimes hearing something from someone else sounds so much better than the ideas in your own brain! Feel free to run with them if they have potential. PS – Ellizay is a GREAT name. :)

      E Interiors. Ellizay Today. Polished. Refined Interiors. Angles by Ellizay. Chroma.

      I used your website for inspiration. You seem to use a lot of modern, sleek, square designs, so I tended to go for modern-sounding names.

      Note on your website – what entices people to hire a particular designer? Images! Make your designs the heavy focus of your website. Big, bold, beautiful pictures with minimal background. Check out the Hatch wordpress theme – http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/hatch or something similar. Even TwentyEleven provides a nice big picture element.

      Good luck! Keep me posted on your progress!

  61. Nauman says

    hi
    i am a designer and want to launch my own brand .. i run my mind across, ask my friends and family but no one can gave me any good name .. what i need is short and meaning full name with uniqueness … i really appreciate if u can help me

    regards

    • says

      Nauman,

      I need more information than that! What are YOU about? Why should someone hire you? How do you want your clients to perceive you and your business?

      Love to help when you can answer those questions!

  62. says

    Hi April
    Thanks for you inspiring post. I think you met all your criteria.
    I am close to retirement and want to create a business selling mobile designed web sites to LOCAL Business. I have several programs and templates and ready to start.
    I chose http://DynamicMobileSolutions.us which will highlight my services: SEO, G+ Registration and Optimization, hosting,domain name registration, competative research, Market Samurai Reports etc.

    I had a logo developed as 3 Smartphones overlapping..

    I want the word mobile because of the mobile websites, Solutions as opposed to designer to show I offer more services, and dynamic to show things are changing rapidly.
    The .com version was registered to non US company. I just found out it is for sale so i will see how much they want. Also I have backordered the dynamicmobilesolutions.mobi

    Thanks for your comments
    Joe

    Thanks for your input.

    • says

      Hi Joe,

      It sounds like you’ve met all your criteria! Sometimes a direct name is exactly what you need, and it sounds like it’ll be easy for you to market that name without having to explain it to people.

      Great job!

  63. says

    Hi April;
    Thanks for the great article~you are just what I need! My husband Bill is a graphic designer and I’m a mural artist. We set up an S corp years ago in Florida but we had such a hard time coming up with a name for our company! I thought MY ideas were very clever but we couldn’t agree on anything, ending up with BC Art & Design. Boring, huh? Well, we have decided to move to Utah and so we have the perfect opportunity to change the name of our business! But to what? We would like something “catchier” but I think we should keep the Art & Design on the end to reflect both of our fields. Any ideas? Any input would be appreciated. Thanks!
    Cathy

    • says

      Cathy,

      What about Pixels & Ink? Or Brushstrokes Art & Design?

      Brainstorm some words that are common to both of your jobs as well as those that are unique to each of them. Mix & match those words to create duality for your name, or find one that works for both and see how it sounds in front of Art & Design.

      Good luck! Let me know how it goes!

  64. says

    April,
    I stumbled across this website/page and I am soooo glad that I have. I have read all of the feedback & comments and I am in a very similar position. I am gearing up my own business as well, although my offerings are a bit different. I love graphic work, but I am also doing studio Voice-Over work, so trying to come up with a proper name that encompasses both aspects is difficult. I have a LLC already set up that I had in the past (NITLIFE Designs) but my wife feels like no one is going to understand it. I have been involved in the nightclub/nightlife business most of my life and am now trying to break away from that work schedule, so the Nitlife name is part of my past & who I am. The spelling actually comes from my license plate on my vehicle. I know the ‘design’ part is boring, but I had put the LLC together quickly, without thinking that I ultimately use it for a Freelance business. The other name that I came up with is: “A Sound Design”
    I feel like it really encompasses both aspects of my offerings, but it just doesn’t hold much personal meaning to me. Would love to read or hear some other insight, from non-biased people…..Any takers??

  65. says

    OJA,

    Welcome to the conversation!

    First, so I read NITLIFE (pronouncing it “knit life”) until you mentioned nightclubs/nightlife. I wasn’t sure if NIT was supposed to be an acronym or just “nit” (rhyming with knit).

    I think you can come up with something more interesting than “A Sound Design,” too. Have you thought about using Audiovisual in your name, since you do both?

    Audio & Visual
    Boom Sticks & Clicks
    AV Master
    A Clear Message – Sound + Design
    Talking Pixels – An audio and visual design co.
    Sensory Overload – Making eyes and ears happy

    Good luck! Take these names and run…your perfect name is out there for the taking…put some ideas on paper and make it happen!

    Let me know what you come up with!

  66. Jessica says

    I need help also my name right.now is Jess Design and I don’treally like it… You create it I Jess Design it was my catch phrase … Can u help Wit a better name …

    • says

      Hi Jessica,

      I need more information! What are YOU about? Why should someone hire you? How do you want your clients to perceive you and your business?

      Send some details and I’ll be happy to help.

      • Jessica says

        I mostly .. Design club flyers business cards take pics album covers etc. I’m a college student… And I have to come up with a brand identity …

        • says

          Better to find the right identity than rush through the process and have to redefine yourself later. As a student, you’re still defining yourself, your niche, and your abilities.

          I think you’d be best off designing under your own name while you discover your name because your focus and your client pool is most definitely going to morph as you exit college and become a design professional.

  67. nicole says

    Such a wonderful post and very inspiring!
    I have always named my work after my name and added ‘designs’ to the end as I thought it’d sum up that I’m a designer. However I purchased the domain vencole.com years ago as the ven is the last part of my family name Ruthven, and the Cole from Nicole. However I didn’t feel vencole looks or sounds like anything at all since it’s not a word, especially relating to graphic design. Adding anything extra to it just seems like too long of a name so I gave up with it. I don’t feel that branding myself with my own name has gotten me anywhere recently. Here is my portfolio to see my sort of style, although it needs updating it’s step for me I guess. http://www.behance.net/SabrinaNicole

    Today I have been brainstorming for a new business name but it keeps popping back into my head, maybe it’s meant to be?
    Hope you can help :)

    • says

      Nicole,

      Remember, your name doesn’t have to explain what you do. You can use a great tagline in your logo to explain your business services.

      I find it a bit confusing that sometimes you go by Sabrina and other times you go by Nicole – stick with one for consistency, or you clients might get confused.

      Vencole Designs – Bringing your vision to life. From your portfolio, you seem to gravitate toward hot pink and black/grey. Seems very punk, neon, nightlife, edgy, lots of movement and lots of energy, to me, so you’ll want a name that exemplifies that (if that’s how you want to be perceived). Maybe Vibrant! – Designs that excite.

      Ultimately, if you feel like Vencole is a part of you – go for it! It doesn’t need to be a real word, and it’s pretty easy to spell/say.

      Let me know how your progress goes!

  68. ISAIAH says

    Hello April,
    i have loved every little bit of your personal experience in coming up with a business name and from the firm i have come while reading your replies to a thousand post on this blog, i could certainly see a genius in you. i have a business which i called INSPIRED DESIGNERS, its a boutique with a wide range of accessories. i picked up this name because i have been a very big source of inspiration to so many in all aspects of life. i saw an inspirational personality in me and in whatever i laid my hands on to and yet i had a good test when it comes to picking and matching accessories. the business am doing is not what i studied but is what i had passion at. all i do is employ a couple of professional designers to do the rest.

    • says

      Isaiah,

      Thanks for your kind words.

      I must admit, Inspired was a word I heavily considered in my own name! It sounds like you picked a good one and that you have a good reason behind it.

      Thanks for sharing!

  69. says

    I love this article. anyone have any suggestions. My current name is annie Kuhn Designs but I was thinking of using Design is Everything. Changing my name etc. I should be working on getting business and not names but I’m wondering what name would get more hits in searches.

    • says

      Annie,

      Find a name that suits you and then you can sell it and worry about search hits.

      Keep in mind that while “Design is Everything” might be searched for more often, there are a LOT of sites with that phrase on them, so you have a lot of competition for the top spots. Going with something more unique will be less searched for, but when it is, they’ll be much more likely to find you.

      As for what you should be doing – you should always schedule time for both your clients as well as your business. It’s important to work for yourself at all times, whether it’s naming, updating your website, creating business cards, or creating a marketing plan.

      Kuhn Kreations? Annie’s Art and Design?

      Do some brainstorming about how you want the world to perceive you. Let me know how your progress goes!

  70. r-faan says

    hi april and rest gdb readers,

    its been a pleasure reading through all the comments relating to your original post, and has given a lot of positive motivation to carry on searching for the “one” name which will explode into a “apple” “sony” or even “samsung”. all of these names don’t say what they do but are embedded into everyones heads, i too am in the same situation as many before me in this discussion hopefully will stumble across something soon.

    good luck all with your work!!!

  71. Naomi says

    Thanks for the article!
    I use to have go under the name ‘Miss Nomie’ when doing my childlike illustrations. It worked okay back then, but now I want to expand into design and I’m about to be married (I won’t be a ‘Miss’ anymore). I’m struggling to find a name that covers both my child like illustrations and my mature design work. I think I outgrew Miss Nomie a long time ago but I just haven’t found the perfect new trading name.

    • says

      Naomi,

      It’s tough to both combine and make distinct two separate parts of your business! Keep in mind that you don’t have to tell the world what you do with your name, but your name should reflect adjectives of how you want your customers to describe your business.

      Have you come up with any ideas, even ones that aren’t yet perfect but you think are a step in the right direction?

      Here are a few names to help you get the creativity flowing: Sketches Illustration and Design. Outside the Lines Designs. Imaginations. Crayons & Pixels.

      Good luck, and let me know when you narrow it down to a few choices or pick that perfect name!

  72. says

    Great article April. I’ve always used my own name but when trying to decide on a website name, all the decent domain versions of my name were gone, so instead I thought of hellogriff, which turn became my logo, now a lot of clients have my as that on their accounts etc. Just about to become a limited company and I’m thinking the name has a good ring to it, so why not make it official!

    • says

      Paul,

      If you like it and your clients know you by it, there’s no reason you can’t use Hellogriff as your business name (cool logo btw). You may want to develop a tagline that describes your services.

      Good luck, and thanks for sharing!

      • says

        Thanks April, just filling in the paper work now, and trying to decide whether to add the word ‘design’ or ‘creative’ etc to the end of my business name. Notice a lot of people do but then also noticed that even with it there on official company accounts they don’t use it on the logo.

        • says

          Heh, it’s kind of like Ford. Ford’s full name is Ford Motor Corporation, but they never spell that out except in legalese. So if you want to add a descriptor you’re welcome to, but you don’t have to use it all the time.

          For example, I just use Greer Genius with the tagline “Brilliant graphic and web design” Then I don’t need to add “design” or “creative” to the end of Greer Genius.

  73. Shawn says

    Hi April.
    I think you came up with a great name. I have struggled with naming my bridal and formal design business for years. It is now time to get really serious and I am just lost. I really think Divinely Decadent would be good, what do you and others think? I design somewhat over the top gowns.

    • says

      Shawn,

      Do you have a website or is that coming with your new name (PS – I know a great web designer. :))

      Divinely Decadent uses great adjectives. You’ll need a great tagline to go with that name, too. It has a lot of syllables, which might be a downside.

      Some other names that might help spark creativity or seal the deal for your name: Elegance Formal Wear. To the Nines. Lavish Brides. Divine Dresses & Formal Wear.

      Good luck, and let me know what you decide upon!

  74. Stacie says

    Hi April! I found this and thought maybe you could give me some feedback. I currently have started a business called Stacie Danielle Event Design. I focus primarily on children’s events, showers, and some events for adults. I do not want to do weddings or high-end corporate events. My niche is children’s events, but I of course don’t want to limit myself to just that. I want to change the name, but am also unsure about doing so, as I feel that Stacie Danielle Event Designs sounds professional. Here are my other choices. I’d love to hear your feedback! Thanks so much!

    Party Party Please
    FireFly Festivties

    or do I keep the name that has my name in it already?Any other suggestions? Thanks!

    • says

      Stacie,

      Professional is good, but I don’t think it relates to kids’ events well. I like Firefly Festivities best – it has a more playful and fun approach. You want your audience – the parents – to associate your name with entertainment.

      A professionally-designed logo, business collateral, and website will promote your business seriously and professionally for you – and if you’re in need of a great designer…I happen to know one. :) Think Crayola – professionally fun, right?

      Good luck, and thanks for sharing! Let me know what you decide.

  75. Primoz says

    Hey April!

    I read this article a few months ago when I began to think about creating my own design business (i know right? there are so many of us!). I was in a phase of brainstorming (or maybe I should say webstorming) when i came across this site. Your story really influenced me back then and I really felt the issues and dilemmas you were going through. And I was glad that you came up with a winning result – a catchy name. Since I don’t live in an english speaking enviroment, I wasn’t too familiar with the phrase ”sheer genoius”, but ever since I’ve read it here, it is kinda stuck in my head. It surely was a great idea to combine your name with it and made it sound even better than the original! :)

    Anyway, I’d be really thankful if you gave me a feedback on my situation. I have a degree in architecture, but my real passion is graphic design. Now I am trying to combine both in my own company. The struggle was to find the right name. First, I used my initials and came up with PS Design or PSD, but since i read your article, I don’t like it anymore :)
    I tried to find words, that describe me, and came up with creativity, passion, simplicity.
    You can find some more information and see my style in my cv: http://www.urossrna.com/primoz/infographic.jpg . I figured that my name Primoz has some power to it, so I came up with Prime Design. I am not sure about it and would love to hear some comments and maybe some ideas from different perspective.

    Thank you April, and good luck with you geniality! ;)

    Primoz from Slovenia

  76. says

    Primoz,

    Great infographic! I love the addition of very little complaining – it adds humor professionally. Might I mention that your headings Who I am? and What I do? should either not use question marks – Who I am and What I do – or to make questions, should be – Who am I? and What do I do? Personally, I’d just drop the question marks.

    Prime Design is very clean and simple with a connection to your name. I like it. You might make it Prime Plans & Design to include your architect planning. Or maybe you separate the two and have Prime Plans and Prime Design, depending on who you’re working with.

    Thanks for sharing and good luck! Let me know what you decide!

  77. Vinayak says

    My Name is Vinayak, Nick name is Vinay, Vinu.. i need my name with suitable title.. or nick name with suitable title like vincenza, suggest me like this type of words..

    Thank u..

    • says

      Vinayak,

      Who is your target audience? What language do they speak? This will have a big impact on what name you choose.

      For example, Vinayak is very difficult for English-speakers to say and remember because it’s unusual in our culture. So you might just use the letter “V” instead of your full name.

      Also you need to determine (and share with me if you’d like my help) how you want your clients to perceive your business. Are you grunge, modern, classic, hip, funky, professional? That will shape your business name as well.

      I look forward to hearing your answers!

  78. says

    I have designed my identity as a designer and to use it at the same time for my blog.
    The name is COLA W CALSET (cola and socks.) It is a mix between Arabic and English since I am Lebanese and my work includes both Arabic and Latin design.
    The name clicked when I first heard it from someone who read it posted on a small banner on the window of a small local shop.
    I designed the name and icon to match the name and to reflect the bilingual work.

    The whole story is posted here on my blog
    http://hishamad.wordpress.com/about/

    I would love to know your opinion (April and fellow readers) about it

    • says

      Hisham,

      Your story is interesting and your name has a touch of humor in it…I like that it’s fun. The most important thing is that you embrace your identity and it shows.

      Your English is also very good – occasionally you have a few typos in your verb conjugation or phrases that sound “funny” to native ears, but I’m very impressed.

      Thanks for sharing!

      PS – Read your post about your grandma. I, too, miss a family member…my dad (died suddenly Oct 20, 2011).

      • says

        thank you April, I appreciate your words, and I am too sorry for your loss.
        I will work more on my English (and learn to proof-read my posts before posting them)

        Thanks a lot :)

  79. says

    Greer Genius,

    Simple. Clever. Brilliant. I also work as a graphic designer in my profession and I also do freelance design/illustration work. I read this article at the perfect time. My freelance work is really starting to pick up, I just redesigned my business cards, and I have been really needing to come up with an official company name for my freelance business. I enjoyed reading your article and I am now inspired to come up with a name for my company. Thanks for the tips and the great read. Well wishes with your company’s success!!

    Julius

  80. Barney says

    Interesting article, really of much help… I have been trying to define myself and I came up with my two nicknames from the hood, I decided for the nicknames because I don´t like to sound too formal (I don´t like to dress formal :P). But one of the points you remark on the article helped me to decide even better on wich name I should go… can´t say it cause nobody has it right now, and I don´t want to spoil that… when I get the domain and register the name I´ll share it with you guys.

    Thanks April.

  81. Regina says

    Late to the party, but thank you for posting this. I’m trying to put together some sort of design/photography freelancing business for myself (and writing… and web coding… and whatever anyone will pay me to do that will get me out of cubicle hell…), and I’ve been wandering around the web looking for inspiration/motiviation/etc.

    I loved reading this, because the whole name/branding thing is being a particularly knotty problem for me. I registered Vitoriadesigns.com last year, as a play on my middle name of Victoria, but now I’m not loving it so much :(

    I keep feeling like I could do something catchy with my first name, Regina, playing on the fact that it means “queen,” but… I don’t know, I have a long history of not loving my first name so it’s hard to find anything. But your post has given me home (and if anybody has any ideas, feel free to share… :p)

    By the way, I really like the name you came up with. Greer has a different association for me so it sounded weird at first, but the pun is cute and has a nice, playful vibe. Glad you found something that fits for you!

    • says

      Regina,

      if you’re not a big fan of your first name, I’d not use it. It’ll just make marketing yourself that much harder. That doesn’t mean you can’t go with the “queen” theme, though.

      Regal Design & Photography. The Red Carpet – fit for royalty. Red Carpet Creativity. Crown Art & Design. Using Victoria: VictoriArt (a bit hard to spell, though). Flashes of Brilliance. Pics and Pixels. Sketches & Shots.

      Good luck! Let me know if any of these help you narrow it down.

      April

  82. Alexandra says

    Hi there! Great article – I really like the name you came up with. Very clever and catchy! I think mine needs to be something with the word Sassy, or maybe just Sassy… not sure. Any ideas? Thanks!

    • says

      Alexandra,

      Hmmm, Brainstorming here: Sassy! Design with a kick. Sassy Scribbles / Sassy Sketches. Classy ‘n Sassy. Sassy Pixels. Sassy Solutions. Reckless Art. Sassy Creativity.

      What types of design do you do?

      April

  83. Seth Garman says

    Hi April et al,

    I have a similar story as a lot of you here. I retired from the Army and got a fantastic job in advertising but was permanently laid off in 2009. I had already been freelancing in my spare time so I did some soul searching and came up with SPLASHPAGE. I use the tagline Web & Graphic Design. As I’m sure you all know what the splash page is I won’t go in to it. I liked it and it has served me well over the past few years.

    I just found this today and thought I would join in the fun. I like a lot of the names I have read here. For those of you still struggling just stick to what April said about having the name connect with your passion. Good luck to you all!

    • says

      Seth,

      Great words of wisdom for those still hunting for a name. I think a lot of freelancers (myself included) got caught up in the rush of finding a name…and then the creative block hit. Once I relaxed and became patient with the process of finding the perfect name, it was smooth sailing!

      Thanks for sharing!

      April

      PS – Splash Page is a great name – share your website when you get it up and running! Love to see your work.

  84. says

    I am justarting to freelance. I have have only designed a few logos, updated a few websites, and designed a few tshirts for others business owners. I was sitting in traffic one day thinking about what I do and thought of using the name Willistrations.

  85. says

    I like it April. Simple, concise, to the point. In fact, we graphic desginers have to deliver communication solutions, don´t we?

    Congratulations, Genius!!! ;-)

  86. says

    Hi April!

    Great name and WONDERFUL blog!! I’m so excited to have stumbled upon it as I am just starting my business- Love Life Creative. I’d love feedback on the name. I chose it because my love for life inspired me to quit my job and start my own business. I live in a mountain town and was working 9-5 for much less than I’m worth, staring at the beautiful mountains I wanted to be hiking or skiing and realized… I can do all this at night or whenever I want and live the life I love!! Hence came Love Life Creative. I’ve already designed my logo and am working on my site. Most of the feedback I’ve gotten is from friends (who love it) or my parents (who don’t… get it… and think it sounds like a creative dating service). Anyways– I’d love feedback of like-minded folks, good or bad!!

    • says

      Shannon,

      I love it, and if you love it as much as you sound like you do, go for it! Most of my friends and family weren’t sold until they saw my logo and tagline. It was only then that they started to come around.

      Thanks for sharing!

      PS – Wherever you live sounds lovely!

  87. Laura says

    I stumbled across this looking for a way to determine how to name my business. I’m in a similar situation with the layoff… mine is partial and hopefully temporary, but I still want to cover my bases and go ahead with a business license. If I go back full time, great! I can still handle freelance in the evenings and weekends. I was thinking of using my last name, but it’s too hard to pronounce and doesn’t have a “ring” to me. It’s Tuele. Pronounced 2-L-E. I was even thinking of using the 2LE but I think people would be like “huh?”. Then I was thinking of something that had to do with the area. I’m in New England (Connecticut), so was thinking of simply New England Graphics or New England Design, but that’s kinda ho-hum. Then I’m thinking something with “Yankee” in it… hmmmm. Probably overused in this neck of the woods. I’m tossing around using my birth last name of Kenyon. Kenyon Kreative? Maybe…
    The graphics field I specialize in is print graphics, but I do design logos, collateral, branding, ads, even billboards. I always wanted to learn web design but never had the time, with a full-time job. I have a friend in Albuquerque, where I lived for 18 years, that started a print brokering business years ago and named it “Ms Print”. I think that’s AWESOME!
    Passions? I really can’t think of anything that I’m truly passionate about except for graphics! I used to draw a lot, but I’m so rusty now… I also was a tattoo apprentice years ago, so tattoos is a “passion” I guess you could say. (I’m seriously thinking of breaking out that tattoo equipment and brushing up – it’s another option). I love cats, and had thought of Phat Kat Graphics at one point, but “Phat” is kind of passe now.
    Any thoughts?

  88. says

    Hi Laura,

    It sounds like you’ve explored a lot of different areas, which is an excellent start to naming your business. Often getting those “ho-hum” ideas out of the way paves the road for the really good ones.

    I’m just going to throw out some names based on your post – maybe some of these will get you pointed in the right direction.

    Feline Design. Laurink Graphics. The Design Lady. Inkpressions. Original 13 Designs. Design Damsel. 2LExpressions (probably will be read by most as 2L Expressions). Whiskers Creative. Purrfect Design/Graphics/Solutions. It’s Purrfect! The Creative Colony. Doodles.

    Let me know when you narrow it down.

    April

  89. says

    Hello April,
    I’ve read many of the comments, but not all, and I haven’t found anyone that has taken you to task on your choice. That is unfortunate because the comments lack balance and do not provide gris for the wheel.

    I think your name choice is a good one, in a way, and also a little “been-there-done-that.” I’ll get to that in a minute.

    But first, I want to mention that when Steve Jobs took over ownership of Pixar he conducted weekly meetings in which people were expected to offer critquing for any new ideas. This was not in the nature of “Brainstorming” which is always polite and careful not to offend, but rather an open criticism to stimulate the best ideas. It was also considered important to “plus” the original idea, but to not hold back on what could be improved upon.

    In that same spirit I offer you a little critiquing that is simply my humble opinion and not a hard line “I-know-better” approach.

    My first thought, after I decided the name Greer Genius was a cute play on your name was… This name has a playful feel to it and may not be taken seriously, or at least not at first glance.

    My next thought was that I have seen this before in names like Tayor where the business is called Taylor Made. Same kind of fun tone, cute but not fully mature. Mind you, being mature is not all it’s cracked up to be. Still, maturity counts big in business.

    I get what you mean about a business name not having to say what it does, but this hasn’t hurt IBM or 3M (which used to be Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing). I wouldn’t know what Greer Genius was all about unless the name was explained. A lot of the explaining would follow naturally and maybe a tagline would help in this way. Still, just hearing the name doesn’t put a picture in my head.

    And finally, there is always something a little narcistic about using a family name, but it is also common practice.

    As much as I like the simplicity of Greer Genius I would ad a single word to provide insight into the industry. A literation of say… Greer Genius Graphics could be the formal business name and the common usage could be shortened to your preference. A triple “G” logo may not be easy to do.

    As your portfolio states right up front that presenting information is at the top of your list then a business name could be Greer Info Genius. GIG for short, but the acronym was not intentional.

    My objective was to give you something different to think about. I hope this has been accomplished.

    • says

      Edward,

      Thanks for your critique. I’m open-minded and always willing to hear out others’ suggestions, comments, and thoughts.

      I specifically did not designate an industry in my name because I want the flexibility to expand into other avenues such as public speaking and/or marketing.

  90. Chuck Ballard says

    I love the thought process of coming up with names. I indeed was stuck until I thought about how to associate my company name with me and what I really love to do. My name is Chuck and I love to design. So it came to me rather quick that my company should be named “Chuck Of The Draw” And I see from this site, I am not the only one in the business that can be punny as heck… when they want to be. Happy Drawing everyone!

  91. Laura says

    UPDATE: Ok, here are a few I came up with, but still thinking!
    Kenyon Kreative
    Norwood Graphic (the street I live on)
    Designities
    Designify
    Graphical
    Divine Design

  92. Patrycja Whipp says

    Hi guys,

    I am a Polish graphic designer with 6 years experience. I live in Australia. I am about to start my own freelance business and I am stuck with the trading name. My last name used to be Jachimowska, so people at work call me “PJ”. Since I got married I am now Whipp, however my middle names starts with J so “PJ” is still a nickname. I was thinking about something like “PJ Kreations” or “MadeByPJ” or something with Polish and Aussie in it. Please help!

    • says

      Patrycja,

      PJ is a great start…and from your initial ideas, I like Made by PJ. Let’s look at some other options. PJ Down Under. PJ’s Possibilities. PJ’s Down Under Designs. Pixels by PJ. Pixel Jamboree.

      Good luck! Keep me posted.

      PS – I’ve got a Polish heritage. My mom’s maiden name is Rogucki, and there are lots of “ski”s in my ancestry.

  93. Patrycja Whipp says

    Hi guys,

    I am a Polish graphic designer with 6 years experience. I live in Australia. I am about to start my own freelance business and I am stuck with the trading name. My last name used to be Jachimowska, so people at work call me “PJ”. Since I got married I am now Whipp, however my middle names starts with J so “PJ” is still a nickname. I was thinking about something like “PJ Kreations” or “MadeByPJ” or something with Polish and Aussie in it.
    Please help!

  94. Tiffany says

    i need help with a name that doesn’t limit me to what i do, just in case a new opportunity comes up. My focus is oing parties. My last name isnt catchy in any way and i am looking for something trendy now but could still be cool later. I was thinking Urban Events but its so plain. Or Pure Passion but that sounds sexual. Please help!

    • says

      Tiffany,

      A party-throwing business…let’s see. Good Times Party Co. Unforgettable Evenings. Picture Perfect Parties. Nights (or Events) to Remember.

      I hope these get you started! Good luck, and keep me posted!

  95. says

    Oh gosh i’ve just stumbled across your website when I need it most! So i’m searching for a business name. It is causing me so much grief! I am not very creative. I am opening a fitness studio that will specialise in pilates and group fitness. Target audience is mums and pregnant women for group fitness (I already own a franchise specialising in this) but my studio will also do pilates for children, pregnant and elderly. (So much going on!). I fell into my fitness career almost by accident. My passion is my children (2 boys named Will and Max) and also assisting people in both health and fitness. We’ve travelled alot to hawaii recently and I love the colour pink so I though of calling it Akala Active (akala is hawaiian for pink) I know this isn’t really in the scope of your business or even this forum but i really need help. I also considered Core Philosophy with tag line fitness for life. A big of a play on the term core relating to pilates. HELP if you can!

    • says

      Virginia,

      I’m glad to help regardless of your business type. Core Philosophy is very clever, but I’m not sure if it’s clear enough.

      Let’s take a look at some other options. Family Fitness. Active Fam. Core Fitness. Core Care. Slimmer. SlimCore Family Fitness.

      Good luck and let me know when you narrow it down!

  96. Abi Shuman says

    Hi April,
    I love your business name. I like the alliteration and the fact that it is a take on “sheer genius.” Quite creative.
    Just as with,most people who have commented, your story mirrors mine in many ways. I was lead designer for an international company for 10 years. Then they let me go due to an illness I was suffering from. However, I was 62 y/o! Who is going to hire an old designer? I kept getting told I was “over qualified.” Right…
    My specialty had been print design (which I still prefer) but everybody wants web presence. So, I went back to school and took classes in social media marketing, SEO and Website design. Then I lucked into 1 steady client. He has been very supportive of my new business efforts. But, what to call myself?
    I had been using A. Shuman Design on freelance projects for several years. But that was just a sideline. Now it’s a business – MY business. I wanted something different, fresh and catchy. Well, I live and work in an eccentric little home that is covered by a 2nd giant roof over the whole thing. I have 2 dogs and 3 cats. Something crazy is always happening around here. I started referring to my house as “Abi’s Big Top” right after moving in. So I decided to name the business after it’s unique location. I call it Big Top Design Studio. I know you don’t like having the words “design” or “studio” in a business name, but I felt it necessary to clarify what I am offering. And, lucky for me, the domain “bigtopdesign.com” was available.
    So, that is my naming story. What do you think?

  97. Tania Wright says

    Hi April! Love the business name! How is it going these days? I have recently been thinking about starting a freelancing business and am stuck with the same problem!
    Firstly, it makes me feel loads better knowing I am not the only one with this struggle!
    So far, I have had a few suggestions to use my last name ‘Wright’ in the title but I also don’t want to go for the obvious – after something a little more creative, don’t you think? My Mum has suggested calling it ‘Creative, To a T’, which does fit my name in a less obvious way, but I don’t think I’m completely convinced on that one. I am very interested in the e-book you mentioned and am considering the purchase because I have NO idea what to call myself! If you OR ANYONT have any ideas that would be much appreciated!

    • says

      Tania,

      Wright Right Design. Left Wright Design. Wright Mind Creative. Oh So Wright. The Wright Pixel. Pixeltania. Illustania. Designeriffic.

      Let me know if these help you get started!

  98. says

    Since I’ve had my artist name about 10 years, then I didn’t really want to drop it and leave it behind. There were a lot of reasons why I chose that name. It’s totally me.
    Mathu Matic + Graphic Design = Mathugraphics (Ideas With a Twist).
    Logo gave me a lot of inspiration (also for the slogan).
    It’s a twisted pencil with a shape of letter M.

  99. says

    So I just read your post because I’m currently, in this exact moment, going through the same issue. I totally got Sheer Genius when I read Greer Genius and I’m jealous of your last name to lend you the ability to do that play on words. It’s great. I’m a “recent” grad and I’m sick of labeling all my individual freelance works and feel it would look better, and make myself feel better, if I clump them up my own design company. I’m a little “out-of-the-box” with my personality. I little large, a little bit of a morbid humor and I like to laugh. Christina Kennedy Designs sounds boring to me and my nickname Stina doesn’t lend much either. I recently came up with Brainchild Schemes (since it’s kind of totally me) but I know schemes is a questionable choice to words. I do love Brainchild though. Any ideas?

    • says

      Christina,

      Thanks for the kind words!

      Brainchild Schemes is really unique, and I’m a bit drawn to it. A little quirky. It’s definitely not “safe,” and it has to match your personality and style, but I think you could build a brand around it. You’ll need a tagline to help people understand what you do.

      Other names…Stina Brainchild. Brainchild Solutions. Brainstorms. Kennedy Brainchild. Pixel Brainstorms. Brainchild Creative.

      Let me know what you decide!

  100. Gary Williams says

    April,

    I must say that your article is truly inspiring. Thank you for sharing your story and experiences allowing us to see your progression. I’m going through the exact same situation right now (when it comes to naming my graphic/web design business). I feel that I have such a boring name and well, I live a pretty laid back life (aside from being a husband and a father). I’m still starting from the very bottom though so I still have a lot more work to do. Greer Genius is such a catchy name! I’m so glad to see other graphic artist thriving in the market. Again, thank you for sharing your story. I’m working on having one of my own one day. :)

    -Gary

    • says

      Gary,

      I’m glad to be a source of inspiration – thanks for your kind words.

      Think about what defines you as a designer. What adjectives do you want clients to associate with you? Maybe those would make good names.

      Good luck! I’d love to hear more when you have some concrete ideas!

  101. Samantha Freeman says

    What a response you have had April! Congrats on finding a name you love :)

    I am in the process of finding one myself.. I’m a freelance designer currently working under my name – Samantha Freeman. My logo consists of an SF monogram which is black and white.. needs a revamp!

    So i am trying to come up with a business name which is clever, or representative of me.

    I am thinking “Samantik” or “Samantiq” meaning “semantics” which are meanings..
    “Samantik” with a biline “design with meaning” but I’m wondering if it’s too much? if i need to condense it down a bit…?
    The other path was something to do with me being a shorty… I’m a mere 5 ft :P I liked something like “little fish” designs, but i think its taken or something similar is anyway!

    any ideas?

    • says

      Samantha,

      Samantic is pretty cool – and I love (LOVE!) the tagline “design with meaning.” I can see how it’s a little hard to spell, but it’s unique and has deeper meaning.

      To go with “short” names, here are a few ideas. 5foot Design. Petite Pixels. (But really, I like your first idea better.)

      Let me know what you you decide!

      • Rhiannon says

        Samantic is awesome! I love it! I know if I were a potential patron I would be sold just by the cleverness of the wordplay in combination with the subtitle :)

  102. Samantha Freeman says

    otherwise something to do with my eyes.. i have blue eyes and did an assignment at uni called “Behind blue eyes” which was cool.. but i’m just not sure!

  103. says

    A good name should be short and memorable. I started as Gregory Richard Design, then Gregory Richard Media when web got hot in late 90s, then added a dba pelhamprint.com because there were no print or copy shops in our area. Then when printers started closing left and right I couldn’t shed the word ‘print’ fast enough. At this point in time with so many different media streams, very few of us are just digital and/or offset printers or designers or web developers. So I came up with OnPoint Image & Design to emphasize that we build and sell image (another word for marketing and/or advertising, if you will). Our tagline is On Time. On Budget. On Point. I started 30 years ago in print pre-press, then typesetting, then print design. These days we’re all marketing firms now. Among the services I provide that I didn’t as recently as a year ago is setting up social media for clients. A typical package 3 years ago would have been a logo, bc, website and perhaps a brochure or palm card. Now it’s often a logo, website, linked in, facebook and twitter pages. Caveat: Twitter for most of my clients is a complete waste because they rarely tweet. Especially people older folks (40 – 60). I don’t even design as many sites as I used to. I’ll set up a template site with GoDaddy and then train the client how to upgrade it themselves. I charge a consultant fee slightly below a website fee but the client is saving money over time because they’re not paying me every month to edit their site. Win-win.

  104. Jenn says

    Great article and the follow-up discussion just makes it better! I’ve been freelancing for 5 years – very part time but hope to ramp it up a bit in the next couple of years now that my babies are a little older and my time is easier to schedule! My business name is Crazy Dog Creative and we usually just go with “Crazy Dog” my tag line is “Graphic Design & Marketing” my clients love the name, I like it, like my logo and it works for me! The other bonus – it’s easy to remember and easy to spell!

  105. Chasity Brown says

    I do alot of designs for local companies…just did one for a guys recording label….but have no idea how to begin to name my company…any ideas

  106. Andrea Lifton says

    Hello Greer, I have enjoyed reading your blog and all the comments. I also love your name and the confidence it implies. :) I have been searching for a business name for myself for a long time. I provide both graphic design and marketing services. Years ago I had a company where marketing was the focus and called it Creative Carrots, now I am wanting a more grown up name with design being the primary focus. As I also have an event planning background I want a name that can possibly encompass many different service offerings in the future. I have thought of using a play on words with my last name, though am cautious about using the full last name as it is almost always misspelled, liston and lipton usually. Creative Lift would have been great, but is used. Lift Off Creative? My childrens’ initials are both FL, which would have personal meaning. Create Lift? Uplift Designs? A Lift On Creative? For Lift Designs? Studio Lift? Most of my clients are women and I don’t mind a more feminine name, currently I am using the name wildplum creative which was random, but happy to me. I am stumped and would like to move on, funny how hard it is to make decisions for your own projects at times. Any suggestions would be welcomed and appreciated. Thank you!!

    • says

      Andrea,

      Your last name works really well for creating interesting names. From the names you listed, I like Studio Lift and Uplift Designs. But if they don’t speak to you, keep looking!

      I really like your “happy” theme. Very bubbly, optimistic. What about Positive Lift or Positive Lift Designs/Creative? Or, in a new direction, Great Impressions.

      Good luck! Let me know how when you’ve narrowed it down further.

  107. says

    Hi April,

    Thanks for sharing your story and journey. It’s inspiring and helps me as I am in the beginnings of a small start up as well. Again, the issue of the name is such a challenge!

    I am from Northern Ireland and as a design project I have set out to brand one landmark or location in NI, each day for a year. I’ve taken this inspiration from http://www.branding10000lakes.com/index .
    I promote this blog through my personal social media sites, but as I hope to get work through this 365 Day Challenge I’d like to host and promote through a name, or a ‘face’ which isn’t my personal one.
    What’s your opinion on using your own personal name as the sole brand ‘Ben Connolly Design’ for example, or ‘BC Design’. Or would you encourage a name with a word?

  108. Kirsten Schlebusch says

    Great site and useful information. I hope that you would be able to help me…

    I’ve recently left the UK (London) and have moved back to South Africa (Durban). I’ve always gone the permanent way in terms of jobs, but now I have the opportunity to freelance as a DTP/Designer.

    Now the problem I’m facing is naming myself. I was going along the lines of being personal: KS Designs, but like all the names/ideas I’ve had, have already been taken.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • says

      Kirsten,

      I’m just going to throw some names out to help you brainstorm. Kirsten Kreative/Creative. Kreative Solutions/Studio (KS initials). Schlebusch Solutions (kind of a mouthful).

      Do you specialize in anything in particular? I feel like we need something to spice it up.

      Let me know and I’ll help you with your search.

  109. Grace Landman says

    Hi April,

    Thanks for your story, I’m inspired!

    I’ve always loved art, but art wasn’t encouraged in my family as my parents believed only the very good can make a living out of it. But through the years, due to interest and a bit of talent, I’ve been helping out with little design jobs for friends and now I’m getting serious, I’ve actually enrolled in a design course! YAY! I’m planning to take up freelancing as well, partly to gain experience and partly to build up my portfolio. It would be even greater if I could make a career out of it. The name I’ve used in the past is Smiling Face Productions, as I used to draw a smiling face at the back of the cards I made, but it kind of can’t be taken seriously. So, I’ve just come out with this idea – playing with my last name – Landwoman Artisserie with the ‘wo’ superscripted with ^ like how we add missing words to a sentence. It doesn’t sound that impressive, but it should look pretty fun, not as immature as smiling face but doesn’t sound that expensive either. Artisserie is a play of art + patisserie, to cook up some nice artwork, I hope. Now the challenge is to create a logo to match. :) Wish me luck!

  110. says

    I loved your article as I found myself in the exact same boat about 8 years ago. It took me forever to come up with a name.

    I was a graphic designer, just starting out in web design. I had been away from the field for 10 years and my life and “environment” had changed drastically. All good! I needed to choose a name that was emotionally where I was at as a now older business owner.

    I came up with “Dark Horse Solutions”
    DARK HORSE: A Symbol of something ordinary that “comes from behind” , but comes out a winner. (Targeted to small business owners who think they are not large enough to have/afford great design solutins.)
    SOLUTIONS: The process of identifing and solving a problem.

    I didn’t want to limit my services back then to just design. Little did I know how design and web and marketing etc. would evolve! ~ patty

    • says

      Patty,

      I’m in the same boat you are – I didn’t want to limit myself to just design. (Great minds think alike!)

      I’m also thrilled with how you created an identity around your name. Your marketing plan is great.

      Thanks for sharing!

  111. Desmond Allen says

    Thanks for sharing your story, Am in the the situation now, finding a name for my multimedia production company (graphic design, printing and advertising)
    for the past 5-6 months i have been thinking of HD STUDIOS.
    I need help. thank you. Desmond

    • says

      Desmond,

      HD Studios sounds more like video-based solutions. Trifecta Studios/Solutions. Triple Threat Creative. Message Studios.

      Can you share some more information about what types of clients you’re looking for and how you want them to perceive your business?

  112. says

    It’s nice April, however, it seems to me more like a tagline…
    Just like Apple … Think Different
    It can be like BrandName … Greer Genius

  113. vicky says

    Hi april,
    I want to start my small printing bizness(mug,plate,cap,t-shirt,bag printing). Please suggest name

    • says

      Vicky,

      I need some more information – can you answer some of these questions?

      - Who is your audience?
      - What pricing do you plan on having (economy? luxury?)
      - What 3 adjectives do you want people to describe your business as?

      Talk soon!

      April

  114. says

    Hi April,..

    Long time!! i dont knw if u remember me. but i was the one struggling with my Freelance biz name.
    Well i have finally named my business, PIXELSKETCH!
    And i launched it on 12th February this year!

    I am very happy.. and have a couple of projects on hand!

    Do check my website if you get the time,
    its http://www.pixelsketch.biz

    Thanks again!!

    Love
    Amina Ansari

    • says

      Amina!

      So glad you found a name and decided to share! I visited your website and I really like your new look – very friendly and inviting. The butterfly and it’s meaning are super-cool.

      So proud of you! Congratulations and well done!

      April

  115. Aude Nevius says

    Hi April, wow, great article and so many answers/comments! You could become a consultant in naming your business! Your story was fun to read, and what a cool name you came up with. It must be serving you well.

    I am about to create my site, and need to decide on a name for my business. I do graphic design and illustration, and I’ve narrowed them down to:
    - Auden Creative, which takes my first name and last name’s initial, I kind of like the sound of it, and it’s easy.
    - Aude Nevius Design, I don’t have an issue with something as simple as that, and I don’t have to worry about that name being taken, but it’s three words, long.
    - Lazuli Creative, because I love the stone and hue, and it’s simple, easy to say.
    - Lazuli Design, as I like the zzz sound it makes.

    I’m curious to get your comments, although ultimately it will be up to me, yet asking for reactions from various people doesn’t hurt!
    Thanks ahead.
    Aude

    • says

      Aude,

      You know, I’ve considered consulting, but I’ve decided to mentor instead for a couple of reasons:

      1) People trying to name their businesses generally can’t afford paid help.
      2) It’s a personal choice, and not one that I think many people can make for you. I can help get the creative juices flowing, but ultimately I think the owner needs to find it.
      3) It’s harder to sell a service where I provide a starting point and tell them to do all the work.

      Onto your naming!

      I like Lazuli. It’s just fun to say and sounds creative. Personally, I think Creative goes best with it and it allows you to expand if you want. But Design certainly isn’t bad; it, too, has a nice ring to it.

      Thanks for sharing!

  116. says

    Finally after reading this article and others from this site, I gave the big jump to freelancing… I have my brand now, and on the first week signed my first contract… that is cool. But I must say, thank you April, thank you Preston for this great blog. I’ll continue reading and learning from all design blender posts.

    • says

      Barney – glad to help! Welcome to the GDB family.

      If you have any questions that our archives don’t answer, feel free to ask and we’ll see if we can help. You’re likely not the only designer who has needed the answer.

      April

  117. Bobbi K says

    I have been doing interior design and decorating but usually for friends and bartered with others. You sheetrock my garage and I will design a new kitchen kind of deal. Now …..it has exploded and I am including furniture and cool things but I don’t know what to call it. I am going to specialize in rustic, ranchy and western design because that is my passion…however, I would consider other design as well. What do I call myself. I love rocks!! I love wood, leather, creeks, cabins. et …. I like Greer Genius!!

    • says

      Bobbi,

      Sorry for being MIA – life’s been a bit hectic.

      Rustic, ranchy, and western, eh? What if you made your name (and logo) similar to a cattle brand? K Bar Designs, Rockin’ K Interiors, BK Decorating, etc.

      What do you think?

  118. chengeh says

    Hi
    I Like the name Greer Genius. I am also trying to come up with a name for my new company that i want to form. I attend to offer Creative Concepts not just do design and web but offer more than that. I was born in 1982 so below were some of the names i came up with not in order of choice though

    1. Born82 – (Smart Insights) as the tagline or byline
    2. 82Media Cafe
    3. EightyTwo – (Media Solutions)

    Help !

    • says

      Chengeh,

      Hey, I was born in 1982, too (right at the end).

      Of the three you’ve listed, I like #3 best, but I like the phrase smart insights. What types of services are “more than that?” I think once you start narrowing down your focus and intentions for your company, you’ll be able to find a great name.

      Let me know how it goes!

  119. Darling Awemba says

    Hi April, thanks for your good work you are doing. I want to set up a Graphic Design firm.I will appreciate it if you give me a helping hand relating to the name for the firm.

    Awemba Darling

    • says

      Awemba,

      I need some more direction to help you get started. Can you tell me a little bit more about your business, your likes, what sort of services you intend to offer, etc.?

  120. says

    Hi April,
    I think your names is very clever and achieves your criteria, except for saying what you do. However, I am of the train of thought that the name does not necessarily have to spell out exactly what you do as long as it is interesting enough to catch someone’s eye and peak their interest to explore what you do further.

    I’ve owned my own graphic design business since 1988 and waaaay back then I started with the the name Diamondesign because it represented to me aspects of my business which were brilliance, beauty, simplicity and clarity. I used that name until July of 2012.
    In January of 2012 I felt that I needed to make a change and shake things up in my business by reinventing myself and my business. Plus I was sick of getting calls from people that wanted me to reset their ring or fix their jewelry! When I first started using the name I didn’t take that into consideration (I was young and didn’t know better I guess!), but put up with it and just dealt with the people. Anyways, it took me until May of 2012 to come up with a new name. I didn’t want to use something like Flynn Design, I wanted a unique name that had a nice sound to it and also reflected another love of mine besides design which is nature illustration. I put together hundreds of name combinations, used multiple name generator websites to flush out something that would work, but nothing resonated with me. Until I was talking with a friend of mine who is a copywriter and he pointed out an important aspect of my business which was how quickly I turn around projects for my clients and that I offer my clients a new twist on their creative.

    So, what word works with both of those aspects…Spin. So I tied that into the idea of nature and that my design helps my clients business grow and came up with a symbol of a leaf to represent nature and growth. Plus in some cultures, the leaf means success.
    Thus my new business name was born…Spinleaf Design! I will eventually lose the “Design” portion of the name within the next 2-3 years, but I felt it needed to be there in the names’ infancy to benefit my current and future clients. After a while, I believe most people will be referring to me as “Jim from Spinleaf”, and when that starts to happen that’s when I drop the design portion of the name. I’m pretty excited for the potential the name has for self promotion materials as well as marketing and possible merchandising, especially with the logo I designed.

    One or two of my clients did not seem thrilled with my decision and a couple of family members as well, but I think it’s more because those people are not the type to accept change freely. On the other hand, I’ve had a lot of positive feedback and have not lost any business because of the name/branding change.

    So I guess the moral of the story is like you said, embrace in what you believe and make sure you love the name you decide on so you can promote it to others and hopefully generate more business!

    Sorry for the long story, but I just had to share it!

    Take care, J.

    • says

      James,

      Great story, and great name! Thanks for sharing!

      You’re ALWAYS going to have people who think your name could be better, or who liked the previous one, or who don’t like change. That’s life…and that’s art – we know it so well already, don’t we? My family wasn’t thrilled with my new name, either, but after seeing the logo and the website and the business cards…well, I won them over.

      You will too!

  121. says

    Boy am I glad I stumbled across this post (and the blog itself!)
    I also just got laid off, and I am still in the entry-level category. My portfolio is weak, and everything I did in the last year at my recent job–I am unsure it is legal to use in my portfolio.

    1. I am pregnant with my first child (thus finding a new job is going to be preettyy darn tricky)
    2. I was going to stay home with our baby for about a year and leave my most current job anyway
    3. I have over 5 yrs experience running another small business which is doing nicely

    Therefore…
    it’s time to get to freelancin’!!

    Aside from beefing up my portfolio, I am working on some branding/business cards.

    My last name is Litvak. Initially, I just immediately decided on “litvak creative”. I still like it. But—I can see it being a bit boring.

    Then I thought about my nick name at home, that my husband and his family call me: “Misa” pronounced “Mee-sah”. Then I thought of:

    misa media

    But then ( I know I keep saying “then”) I did a google search, and found this:
    http://www.classicsonline.com/MISA_Media/

    I cannot find any other info on this company. The are not a design firm, so that is good.

    I nixed “Misaesthetic” (Misa + Aesthetic) because it sounded like a medicine or new prescription drug. The spelling is just not visually pleasing to me. Another nix was “Litvak Workshop” because workshop reminded me of Pinnochio for some reason.

    I still like “Misa Media” because it is personal and sounds fun and quirky (like my personality), and I don’t think “media” is just for sound and tv, it can apply to print media. However there’s that issue of the mysterious company I found online (link above).

    Any thoughts on this? Headed in a good or bad direction? Should I keep brainstorming?

    Thanks April for sharing your story (which I can relate to) and for everyone’s help.

    • says

      MJL,

      I really like Misa Media, too. Really like it – it flows nicely off the tongue and has a nice ring to it. :)

      Doing a quick search on Google, I would look into if anyone has trademarked it, or doing so yourself so that you don’t have a war over the name later.

      Good luck! Let me know how it goes.

  122. says

    I am an Indonesian graphic and web designer and I did encounter this problem years ago. I carefully made a list and brainstorm anything possible to combine between names and designs. I had to find a name that easy to remember by both Indonesian and English speaking clients. Finally I made a name of “mustbuzz” that has a double meaning in pronunciation.

    1. MustBuzz is easy to remember by english speaking clients.
    2. Mustbuzz is pronounced Mas Bas, Mas’ (sir or brother) is a friendly term for contemporary males, and Bas is my nickname.

    Soon I register http://www.mustbuzz.net to become one of my marketing tools.

    • says

      Basuki,

      Great job – memorable in both English and Indonesian! Took a look at your website – very nice. You might consider working with a native English-speaker on a few tweaks to polish your copy, but you’ve done a nice job. I love the outer-space imagery at the top!

  123. Mohammed Hassan says

    April, you’re such a genius.. Greer Genius really suits you.. I always find your comments helpful.. Feel proud to be a part of GDB
    While the same problem persist me as well.. Basically I own a firm which designs/print business cards, covers, banners for the organization. I don’t want design/studios to be a part of my name
    Seeking for some sort of creative name.. Under the theme ” on demand, neat, precise”
    I thought for dexterous but cant figure it out
    Help would be highly appreciated
    Regards

    • says

      Hi Mohammed,

      Here are a few ideas to get you started:

      Creative Precision, Design Perfection, Pixel Precision, Graphic Gold, Imaginations, Perfect Prints, Perfect Pixels, Creatif, Pixelmaster, Design Masters.

      Let me know if you get any closer to a name.

      • Mohammed Hassan says

        Thanks for your kind suggestion, But unfortunately I couldn’t find any proper domain for those :| : A Bit change of mood , I am now searching for some about 4-5 letter quirky words : Unique, Easy to remember/Pronounce, The one never used before, Words other than pixels/ graphics/ designs Like apple, Lacoste etc.

        I hope you’ll help me out with this too..

        Regards,

        • says

          It’s harder for me to help out when you’re looking for a name that has meaning to you (and not necessarily related to design), but here are a few more ideas:

          Spot On, Hassan, Printed, You-nique, Right Hand, Solutions.

          Good luck!

  124. says

    Thanks April for this post. I need to re-brand myself. First thing I need is a new name that is dear to me. Your name criteria really helps. A business name should have as much thought put into it as a tattoo, IMO. My only gripe is that “Greer” is pretty hard to say.

    • says

      Ron,

      I agree on the tattoo bit! Greer can be tough to say, but alas, if at present, I were to marry, it’d be Michael Genius…doesn’t have quite the same ring, does it?

  125. says

    Wholly smacks! What a bounty of comments! April I think Greer Genius is a suitable name for you. I really think you hit pay-dirt with that one. I produce print, web and video design. My name is Benj which audibly sounds like binge, I wanted to incorporate my name into my business name. What would you all think of Design Benj? But I really want something that incorporates every dimension of my work.

  126. Lissita says

    I love how you came up with yours! It really is Greer Genius!

    Well, my name is Lissita and I have been playing around with TLC (tender loving care) and I want to put “Lissita” in the middle and perhaps “Creations” of “Co.” for the care, because that’s all I can think of and unfortuneately I cannot think of a ‘T’ word other than “The”.

    Any recommendations?

    • Lissita says

      Although… Looking at domains if I were to have “thelissitaco.com” it would look like The Lissi Taco….

    • says

      Hi Lissita, and thanks for your kind words!

      TLC is a great start – I really like it! That’s exactly what you want your clients to think of you.

      Let’s see if we can’t find some good T words: Truly, Terrific, Thoughtful, Trendy, Twisted, Totally.

      How’s that for a start?

  127. tara says

    Hi there, I have stumled across this link by chance, and am hooked already!!! Really really empowering comments left and such a joy to read. I am just about to launch a very niche market interior design company, for the housewife at first with room to grow into corporate level design. My name is Tara, my daughters name is Scarlett (no, I did not realise the “Gone with the wind” connection) and we live in a lovely old fishing village on the Thames Estuary, Leigh on Sea……Any suggestions?????? I like Scarlett Haus and having a red logo type house in top left corner of stationary, but, feels its too safe and a little boring? Thanks for any advice, cannot wai to read suggestions!!!!! Tara x

    • says

      Hi Tara,

      Scarlett Haus is a great start. I like that it has meaning for you, and that you can envision the logo. That’s a big part of finding the right name…seeing it in use in your head!

      I don’t think Scarlett Haus is too boring/safe. It’s all in the details, depending on the use of font and styling in the logo. It can be rustic, comfy, sleek, artsy, etc…whatever you think fits you best.

      Sometimes, you just need some time to say it, think it, and feel a name. You might mull it over and see what you think for the next few weeks and see if you really like it.

      Good luck – let me know what you decide!

  128. Hayley says

    I think its great… really wish I could think of a name like that… I have “Ellestree Designs” and I dont love it. It was a street I lived on, but doesn’t really stand out and sounds kinda girly which I really dislike, I want something powerful…. I want a name that says ia kind of help with branding or help starting your business. I was thinking of reborn like names, or new era new beginnings…heck i dunno!

  129. says

    I think it’s cool, unconventional and the right amount of cocky for your business image, I started working freelance a couple of months ago and your article helps a bunch. I struggled with finding the appropriate name to represent me.

    I tried my name then my initials but that was short lived thus back to thinking, my second attempt was design assassin (but the thought of a hit squad designer isn’t that appealing to potential clients), that has now changed to design ninja just the right amount of subtle to talk about my expertise and not too abstract.

    • says

      Hi Tara,

      When you click the orange “reply” button in the corner of a comment, you are responding directly to them and you’ll see that designated by indentation.

      Happy commenting!

  130. Malory says

    April,

    I think it’s super catchy! Plus I like that it uses your name, but doesn’t scream it yanno? I think it will be super easy to remember.

    I am currently super struggling with the same problem. I know pretty much 100% I don’t want to use my name. For some reason, I’ve always hated Malory. My last name is super long and people wouldn’t spell it correctly. The only thing I’ve toyed with is using my middle name (Jane) because that is simple, easy to remember, and easy to spell. But I also live by a lake, so I’ve been trying to think of something creative to use that. I’ve started a notepad of a bunch of words to try and see if something will stand out to me.

    I’m definitely considering buying that book you keep talking about. I think that would help a lot. But yeah I’ve been mulling over this for a few weeks now and nothing is standing out!

    • says

      Malory,

      What about Not So Plain Jane Graphics? Do you happen to like airplanes? Plane Jane Design. Lake Jane Creations. Clearwater Creative. Skinny Dippin’ Designs.

      Does that get you started? Love to hear where you go from here.

  131. Monica says

    Hey April,
    i love the name , it great.
    I’m also struggling with coming up with my business name. I came up with two names i.e Nixxy Creations and monico Designs. i wanted something with a personal touch to it and not so tech at the same time, a name clients would relate to. I preferred nixxy creations though a friend said it sounds to personal, so im still trying to find a name that will stand out.

  132. Kimberly says

    I love the name! I’m currently trying to use my name, Kimberly Long, in a fun way as well. It’s so important to find one that feels right and makes you feel proud to say it. Looks as if you found the right one for you! Your story was inspiring, Thank you for sharing. Good luck and cheers!

  133. Jessica Gilpin (Jessie) says

    Hi there – I am a year two Interactive multimedia design student at university of ulster, Jordanstown.

    I have started working from home on different web sites and logo designs YET I cannot think of a good name for myself – never mind design a logo!

    I love your portfolio and have fallen in love with your name! WELL DONE!!

    please help – im getting annoyed :(

  134. says

    i was scratching my head for the last month to come up with a new name for my business, and i think This is one of the most great writings ever about that topic, i like they way you write it’s really inspiring.

    and April …Greer Genius is GENIUS ;) i remember the 1st project i saw at Behance was yours “Junior Trainers Camp T-Shirtand” its just a brilliant clean catching idea for the project.

    i think what you did to the i ” the logo” gives me that polish, smooth Spangle feeling.

    Wish you all the best April :)

  135. Darrell says

    Hi April, I can relate to naming my future graphic design business. I also need help!
    I think I have a twist on your name and business name. How about:
    April Fresh Designs – the logo can make all the difference.

    Thoughts? Darrell

    • says

      Darrell,

      Thanks for your input! I’m pretty happy (still!) with Greer Genius, so I’m sticking with that for now. I’d be glad to help you with yours, though!

      April

      • says

        i design logos/graphics and products. sometimes i help a friend with her wedding planning service making placement cards, invitations etc. i also make jewelry. so where do i start in making my business name?

        • says

          Keshna,

          I would advise you to follow what I did in this blog post and if you can, purchase From Passion to Profit (see the link at the bottom of this page).

          That’s how I found my name.

          Good luck!

    • says

      Roselyn,

      That’s a wide variety of talents! You’ll need to find words that are more generalized so you can encompass such a large spectrum.

      You also might think about separating your talents into multiple businesses with names for each or having multiple logos that are related so that you mark isn’t too vague.

      Good luck!

      April

  136. says

    Hello everyone! I am also stumped…I currently have a business where I do interior decorating, as well as event design/event planning. My name now is Luxe Decor and Design, but EVERYONE in the Houston area is using Luxe nowadays, so I fear I don’t stand out anymore. Also, when I began the business, I was only doing interior decor; had no plans on event planning/design. But things have evolved beautifully! I’ve been told that I’m really good with details, so I thought about incorporating that into a new name…help please! :)

    • says

      Ashley,

      From your current name, it sounds like you do upscale decorating/events. If that’s true, you’ll want to keep a sophisticated, modern name.

      Here are a few suggestions: Every Little Detail (Decorating & Events). The Finer Points. Spectacular Evenings and Environments.

      Good luck! Let me know what you decide to do.

      April

  137. RV says

    I loved your thought process. I am a freelance industrial designer and now diversified into lighting design. I couldn’t think of anything else but including my name in it. I am thinking of using the first two letters of my name RAjan VErnekar i.e RAVE and add the term design to make it RAVEDESIGN. Does it sound too immature and frivolous?

    • says

      RV,

      RAVEDESIGN sounds like you do work for the downtown scene – clubs, parties, music venues, etc.

      What about RAVE Lighting? RAVE Environments? The Perfect Glow? Look into adjectives surrounding your work and see if you can’t find something creative with your specialized industry.

      Good luck! Let me know what you decide.

      April

  138. Stefan says

    I need help with name for design studio,I;m working with my frined…our goal will be to make 3d photorealistic interiors and CAD drawings…but we are looking for name for our studio and we dont want “design” or “interiors” to be part of our name….we want some unique name , meybe some geometric form or I dont know…i need help.
    If u have ideas , plese tell us
    Marko and Stefan
    Thank you , and sorry for my english…

    • says

      Stefan,

      No worries – your English is quite good.

      You must be very talented – I’ve found that sort of work to be quite challenging and a little too tedious for me. :)

      Some good geometric words: pyramid, parabola, helix, torus. Oooh, I like Helix. Helix 3D. Envision 3D. Torus Imagination. Helix Conceptions.

      Lots of good terms relating to geometry, envisioning or seeing something not yet built, and 3D environments.

      Let me know what you decide – good luck!

      April

      PS – I’d love to see your portfolio. Do share a link!

      • says

        Hi April!

        I stumbled across this web page and am in need of help for a name for my freelance company.

        At the moment my website / name is just katie. however i have been building my design contacts/ jobs and now am needing more of a business name , rather than just personal folio based.

        I am currently setting up my own business a Graphic Design outfit based in Melbourne,Australia including: Branding, Graphic Design and web design!

        My name is Katie Beckert Berger, but all my clients know me as Katie Beckert, as a lot of the time people tend to misspell it so i just went with Katie Beckert.

        I am both German and Australian so i was thinking of incorporating this somehow….. was thinking Kreative Knights (but knight’s doesn’t really make sense), Klever Kreativ (Kreativ german spelling for Creative), Kreativ Graphics, Kreativ Designs, Kreativ Pixels.

        Was also looking at Studio KB2 (the 2 being for the double BB last name – Beckert Berger) or KB2 Kreativ

        I’ve been told that I’m really good with details and putting in the extra yard to get the project across the line, so I thought about also possibly incorporating that into a new name.. i liked in one of the comments above You-nique..

        ……help please! Anything would be appreciated :)

        Thanks!

        • says

          Hi Katie,

          When you say German and Australian, I think of a kangaroo in lederhosen. :D No disrespect meant…and I’m sure when you think of American you can find plenty to giggle about!

          From the ones you’ve mentioned, I like Kreativ Pixels or Studio KB2 the most. Studio KB2 sounds very hip and in-the-moment. Do you think the Aussie crowd would get the German connection with Kreativ, or would it just be a creative spelling to them?

          Here are some more ideas: Beckert Branding & Design (can go BB with this, too), Klever Katie, Kreativ Branding (also your initials), The One-Stop Design Shop, Good to the Last Pixel, or The Design Girl.

          One word of caution, in the US, KKK stands for a white supremacy group, so I would advise against anything with three Ks. You’ve only listed two, but in case the urge to add another arose…

          I look forward to hearing about your next step!

          April

  139. Bernie says

    Hello everyone I too am at a total lost when it comes to my business name as well I am going to be selling authentic designer products and for some reason I love the names couture and royal and luxe I really liked the name royaluxe and thought that it was original, however, it was taken and so was royal fashions…and so was a long list of other names. My mind is spinning out of control with names …

    April if you have any ideas please help!!!

    Bernie.

  140. Héctor says

    I really like Greer Genius! its clever, fresh and as you said “NOT Design/Studio/Graphics” is needed. Sometimes it looks great but its not your case, you dont need that! Im glad you didnt used that.

    I really like your infographics! You have a clean style. Im a freelancer too and Im looking for a studio name… thats hoy I got here (everyone, I guess).

    Thanks for the tips, Im gonna keep sketching and brainstorming for now,

    Hugs from México!

    • says

      Thanks for the nice comments, Hector!

      Love to see your work – do post a portfolio link if you have one.

      Let us know when you find the name you’re looking for,

      April

  141. Alee says

    Hey!

    Great job, I really like Greer Genius!

    I dnd my naming exercise a year ago, when I started a full time job with a friend as a frealancers, we did a brain storming and we name our company “wepix”, it comes from “we pixel”, we make pixel, images… something of that.

    Now I’m lonely without job, and I’m starting a full-job freelance, but don’t know what name use, maybe the same as “wepix” should be an option, but I prefer to use my name. I want to concentrate in “I” and not in “we”.
    What do you think about?

    Thanks a lot and have a good week!

    • says

      Hi Alee,

      Sorry to hear you’re without a job…hopefully that’s changed or is changing soon!

      I bet iPixel is either taken or under Apple’s copyright. What about Pixalee or Pixalee Perfect? Or Graphicalee (sounds like graphically)?

      You didn’t post your last name so I can’t work with that…let me know if that gets the gears turning!

      Best,

      April

  142. Wasi Ul Akbar says

    Hi April,

    while searching just read our blog, haah the same issue has caught me too. Trying a new work but name is still under “thinking”.. help me out. My work relates with I.T consultancy.

  143. Ghazal Modarresi says

    I am a graphic designer and I graduated last year. I want to promote myself as a designer and I have been struggling to name my business for months, it seems every name I came up with that I liked has already been taken. I took your advice and did a brainstorming session but it didn’t help. I need to come up with a unique name, I was thinking of maybe using my name in it because not many people have my name. Any suggestions?

    • says

      Hi Ghazal,

      Without some idea of what you are interested in, what type of design you do, or a portfolio to look at, it’s really difficult for me to steer you in the right direction or come up with good starter ideas.

      Using your name, here are a few ideas: Modesign (Mod from your last name), Moda Design, RESolution (like resolution or solution), or GraphiZal (from Ghazal).

      Good luck, and check back in with us when you have an update!

      April

  144. says

    One thing I’ve been struggling with naming mine is do I go the conventional, traditional route or go all out crazy or weird with the name to it’ll actually be remembered. I wonder if a weird name would deter clients from wanting to work with you, even if it might show some creativity. I guess it depends on what kind of clients you want to work with…but when you’re first starting out, I would think you would want to almost take any work you can get.

    • says

      Hi Joe,

      When you’re first starting out, it’s true that you’ll take pretty much anything that comes your way, but it’s also true that if you start defining your niche early, you can more effectively market yourself to people who you want to work with AND who want to work with you.

      Surely, a ‘weird’ name will turn some people off, but think again, there’s no reason to market to people who you’re not going to like working with, especially if you yourself are a bit ‘weird.’ (What’s normal anyway?)

      What’s a weird name to you? What’s conventional? Do you want to work with nightclubs and music venues or suits and ties? It’s hard to appeal to both (or another group entirely), so pick which target market interests you and go for it!

      Thanks for sharing, and I look forward to hearing and update.

      April

  145. says

    April,

    I love your process. You’ve obviously thought long and hard about how to work through a naming process comprised of multiple steps. And as a designer, you’re great at producing new ideas and concepts on demand.

    From a customer’s perspective (not yours) Sheer Genius is a weak name because it doesn’t echo:

    1. Any outcome/result that the customer gets
    2. Your field of work – in a way that’s clear, self-evident, understandable and 100% obvious

    One formula for a great name is this 2 step process:

    Outcome/result + field of work

    Let’s break this formula down into 2 steps:

    Step 1: Outcome/result
    Step 2: field of work

    We’ll begin with step 1.

    Let’s start with 3 words or concepts that echo the outcome/result. In your case, that would be a stunning identity or brand or logo that can increase sales.

    People want the outcome of an identity that’s:

    Sharp
    Stunning
    Distinct

    Now, let’s combine the outcome/result from step 1 with your field of work in step 2… in the ways that customers perceive it, or search for it.

    * Sharp Logo Design Inc. ———SharpLogoDesign.co (15 characters, social media ready, .com taken, .co available, no conflicting US trademarks or servicemarks)

    * The Sharp Business Card Company Inc. ———SharpCard.co (NOT social media ready, .com taken)

    ( D ) The Distinct Logo Company ———-DistinctLogo.co (social media ready)

    The Distinct Branding & Logo Company —– distinctbranding.co (.co available, social media ready)

    You really have 5 ‘names’, and not 1:

    1. Long form company name – e.g. The Distinct Branding & Logo Company
    2. Short form domain name – distinctlogo.co (or dot com if available)
    3. 15 character social media account name – @distinctlogo and /DistinctLogo
    4. Your business or corporate entity – Distinct Branding & Logo Design Company Incorporated
    5. Your ‘doing business as’ or DBA – Distinct Branding & Logo Co. (or, minus the co part)

    The final comparison:

    DistinctLogo.co vs. GreerGenius
    DistinctBranding.co vs. GreerGenius
    SharpCard.co vs. GreerGenius

    Which ones are catchy, memorable, and obvious right away… for people who don’t know who or what Greer is (100% of your prospects who don’t know you yet), or what Greer might mean, or what genius means?

    If you’re only making a name for the people who already know you (friends, family, peers, existing or past clients) then Greer Genius will work.

    These are just 3 free sample ideas and concepts. If we did our full Business Name Pro 3 step naming process and 30 minute idea generation workshop there might be 20-100 name ideas and concepts that would come out of the session. Just like you, we pick the top 3 names, research them some more, and then select 1 to be the final winner.

    Would love to hear your response and ideas about our response to your article April.

    Again, I love your process.

    I think you could really benefit from a stronger name that’s focused on the outcome/result the customer gets, plus a self-evident and obvious reference to what you do to make it catchy, memorable, clear and understandable.

    Email me – joe@businessnamepro.co, and let’s connect to discuss more ideas and concepts!

    Thanks for an insightful and well written article April!

    Joe

    P.S. Business Name Pro also offers a unique naming workshop experience that’s fun, high energy and full of creative exercises and brainstorming. Let me know if you’re interested in going through this unique, fun and educational experience!

    • says

      The other reason to include step 2 – the ‘field of work’ part is to do with advertising, keywords and targeting.

      If you want to run Google Adwords campaigns (and you should consider doing this to have an ongoing automated campaign running 24/7/365 to increase repetition of your marketing messages) you would be well advised to include some type of keyword in your name.

      Yes, it’s a bit more generic, and I get that. But, customers are buying the experience THEY get plus the end result, outcome, feeling and emotion THEY get, not your name, and most small business owners can use any marketing boost they can get.

      There’s something called “Quality Score” in Google Adwords, and the keyword relevance of your ad copy, plus your URL and landing page is critical to increasing QS, thereby lowering your pay-per-click advertising costs on Adwords

      Since having the lowest advertising cost in your niche or local area can be a serious competitive advantage (you can out-advertise) it’s worth considering a keyword somewhere in your brand name and website/blog URL.

      A so-so name with a stunning customer experience comprised of distinct steps and experiential elements is the winning formula.

      Name matters, but using your creativity and brainstorming skills to design each step and element of the customer experience is what creates the feelings and emotions customers desire from you (and that’s what they’re buying, by the way – not your products or services).

      • says

        Hello again, Joe:

        I appreciate all of your input on advertising and marketing, as I’m sure the GDB community does as well. It’s very insightful, and I agree that the customer is buying an experience as much as they’re buying a service (see one of my newer posts on being invaluable: http://www.graphicdesignblender.com/what-designers-with-endless-clients-and-referrals-do-but-you-dont-yet).

        Personally, I don’t think pay-per-click advertising is an effective form of marketing for freelance designers. Anyone searching for a designer isn’t going to click on their email ads, isn’t looking on Facebook, and 99% of the search terms that people use when Googling to find a freelancer are used by millions of businesses. The chance that mine is going to land up there is slim to none. I use a more targeted, personal approach to attracting clientele, as I’ve found the shotgun method wastes bullets and brings in the crow when I’d prefer the quail.

        Maybe others have had more success; I’d love to hear tactics and success stories from other designers if pay-per-click advertising is effective for them.

        Thanks for sharing!

        April

    • says

      Joe,

      Thanks for your very complete and thorough dissection of naming a business. I’m sure this thought process will help other readers look at naming their business from another perspective.

      Let me discuss your points, if I may, so perhaps you can understand how I derived my name and why I feel it’s effective based on my marketing plan:
      Step 1: For my business, it’s not about what they’re getting; it’s about WHO. I want a prospective client to hire me over another equally-talented designer because of the ME that I bring to the table. If any ol’ freelancer will do, I really don’t want to work with them anyway.
      Step 2: My fields of work are: graphic designer, web designer, web developer, custom programmer, brand developer, project manager, author, and creative director, to name a few. I don’t specialize in a field of work; I specialize in a style of doing business and in simplifying data for the average human. I need a flexible name that encompasses all of my areas of expertise. (And if you check out my logo – http://www.greergenius.com – you can see the tagline that’s always attached, clarifying things a bit.)

      I really appreciate the offer, but Greer Genius has been a total hit for me. I’ve had multiple clients say something to the effect of, “wow, you really are a genius!” and those ongoing, long-term relationships are my bread and butter. As for finding new clientele, I’ve been very fortunate to find new clients via my portfolio, referrals, and other designer-based job postings.

      Thanks again for sharing!

      April

  146. Heather says

    Great name and process. Surprisingly, after reading through everything and all of the comments, I’m still finding myself stumped.

    I’m a recent web design grad who will be focusing on building custom HTML5/CSS3/JS sites geared toward small businesses and individuals. My approach is minimalistic and clean. Functional, optimized, and responsive portfolio sites showcasing photographers, models, actors, etc. is the niche I appear to be falling into now. I’m not a graphic designer, but I have layout and functionality down :) I’d say I’m more of a web developer than a designer.

    For my final project in school I choice the domain Ross Creative Design (ross is my surname), but have let that go because I just wasn’t feeling it. I have considered just Ross Creative/Creations, or HR Design/Designs/Designz, or Ross Web Studio/Ross Creative Studio, but they seem a little dull. I like the idea of maybe incorporating some meaningful family names like Ruby or McKenzie. I’ve also considered Craze Studio/Designs/Creations, and Vibrant Designs. A friend suggested RossEnginz which I think looks cool, but I don’t think that really fits.

    So, for someone who develops sleek, clean, minimal designs, who is bold, full of energy, passionate about coding (and life in general), and needs a little help collecting her thoughts, any suggestions? I’d like to try and keep the name as relevant to web design/development as possible.

    Many thanks for any help.

    Heather

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