How to Choose a Good Company Name and Logo

How to Choose a Good Company Name and Logo

Coming up with a company name and logo are exciting steps. They are also important steps for any entrepreneur.

Your name and logo are two vital pieces of your brand. They’re the first things customers and clients encounter as they learn about you.

Whether you’re picking a name for a new business or rebranding with a new name, you might be wondering how to make a good decision that will enhance your business for years to come. This article provides guidelines for choosing a name and logo and explains what to avoid.

Brand name guidelines

As you brainstorm, consider a few characteristics of a strong company name.

Simple

It may be tempting to give your company a name that is cute or clever—or even a name that is descriptive. While those ideas are good, it’s also important to keep your name simple. Doing so can help your business in a variety of ways.

First, let’s talk about what we mean when we say “simple.” Choosing a name with only one word is ideal. Think about brands like Apple, Amazon, or Nike. All three companies have built strong branding with a number of factors, including simple and short names. The names work—even though they are not at all descriptive of their products—because of how memorable and easy they are to recall.

We highly recommend staying away from names with three or more words. Long names typically make your job harder. The more words, the harder it will be to secure a domain name or get your packaging right.

A short and simple name also means counting syllables. In an interview with Axios, the founder of Expedia, Zillow and Glassdoor, Rich Barton said he made a mistake with Expedia. It had so many syllables, his son had trouble pronouncing the name as a child. Simple names are believed to be easier for customers to process and remember.

Easy to spell

When potential customers are searching for you, having a name that is easy to spell—and pronounce—is key. If you make it tricky, you increase the likelihood that your customers won’t find you (which means they may end up doing business with your competition).

Easy doesn’t have to mean boring. In that same Axios interview, Barton explained his philosophy on rare letters. Using a letter that you don’t see all the time, like an X or Z, will make the name jump out in people’s memories.

Clear

Finding a name that clarifies what your business does can help people connect with you and your products. Ticketmaster is a great example of this. The Ticketmaster brand name makes the purpose of the business very clear.

Cumberland Farms is an example of an unclear business name. While the name implies something with animals or farming, the business is actually a chain of gas stations. Choosing a simple name that clarifies what your business does can help potential customers easily recall you as an option when they need your product or service.

Not too literal

Let’s say you plan on launching a baking business that sells cupcakes. It might be tempting to pick a name like “Candy’s Cupcakes.” If you only ever plan to sell cupcakes, that name works fine. However, give some thought to where you might want to expand your business later. Choosing a name that too narrowly defines what you do can create customer confusion if you launch additional products or lines of business.

Unique

Creating a unique name will help customers associate the name with only your company and not link it with the competition. You can come up with a catchy name with a couple of tricks.

  • Word combinations. For example, if you have a landscaping design service, you could do something like “LawnMasters.”
  • Alliteration. Names that start with the same letter are easy to remember, like Best Buy.
  • Rhyming. Names that rhyme are actual music to our ears. Choosing one for your business can help train a customer’s brain. Think of Famous Amos or StubHub.
  • Homophones. A homophone is when two or more words have the same pronunciation. For example, “new” and “knew.” Consider the ice cream brand “Aice,” which is pronounced like “ice.”
  • Founders’ names. Naming your business after yourself can separate you from a crowded field. Having said that, naming a company after yourself means you will undertake additional costs to build your brand and make your name recognizable to the general public. Few people can build on existing name recognition, as Michael Jordan did when creating Air Jordan.
  • Acronyms. Many companies take their names and shorten them into the acronyms or abbreviations we know today. One example is the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, better known as 3M.

Available

Before you fall in love with one of your business name ideas, make sure you can actually use it. Better yet, narrow your list down to a few options and search which names are available to you.

There are several searches to run. First, you’ll want to do a trademark search with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Next, run a similar search with your state’s Department of Corporations. Note that the name of the department may differ between states.

Use a search engine to run keyword searches and see what you find. You should also do a search to ensure the domain name you want is available. Once you make your final selection, register your company name and trademark it. That will help protect the name you have picked out from being too closely copied by another business.

Not a branding expert? Project Catalog™ can help. Browse services by type and choose from an extensive list of predefined projects. Work can begin as soon as you purchase and provide your requirements.

Logo guidelines

Once you’ve selected your business name, it’s time to work on your business logo design. Keep reading as we discuss some tips for choosing a logo that will work for years to come.

Logo Guidelines

Coherent branding

Take your time to ensure that each and every piece of your brand fits together seamlessly within your larger branding strategy. What customers encounter in your emails should look, sound, and feel the same as on your social media channels or traditional advertising.

Relative but not too abstract

You can use your logo to represent something in your business; for example, a stopwatch if you’re doing something particularly fast. Ensure it’s easy for your customer to connect the image to the service. If it’s too abstract (e.g., a series of geometric shapes that in no way tie to your purpose), it will be forgettable to the customer.

Easy to read and understand

When designing your logo, experiment with fonts to find the combination that works best. A good font will complement the image you plan to use and ensure a clear message for your customer. Think about a few things when choosing colors. Use colors to create your company’s feel, which will help increase brand recognition. One way to do this is to look at a palette of potential colors and decide how they make you feel. Color is another place where you want to keep final choices streamlined and simple. Too many colors will overwhelm a customer. Think about how negative space can help keep your logo clean and easy to read.

You will use your logo again and again in many different ways. Creating a logo that is easy to scale up or down in size will help it work for a business card, website, or billboard. It should also be easy to reproduce so you don’t have to worry about color issues. Speaking of color, make sure your logo looks good in full color and black and white.

Creative and smart

Design a logo that shows what your business does in a creative and memorable way. A great example of this is Twitter’s blue bird logo. Avoid being overly trendy. As trends change, you will be forced to update your logo more frequently. This can cost your business money and confuse customers.

Simple

Keeping your logo simple helps your brand avoid aging. The less complicated your logo, the more likely it will last for a long time and the more flexibility you’ll have to update it as needed. For example, the Nike swoosh has become iconic and gone through slight updates to remain relevant.

Graphic designers can turn your vision into an even better reality. Finding an independent designer to help your business is as easy as visiting our Project Catalog. Search today to find the right design project for you.

What to avoid when choosing a name and logo

Your business name and logo are the first impression you make with potential customers. To pick a great business name and design the best logo, avoid some common mistakes.

What to avoid

Don’t make it too complex

Keep your name easy to pronounce, spell, and remember. If you make it too complicated, your customers won’t be able to find you, and your business may suffer for it. The same can be said for your logo. If there’s too much going on in its design, it’s hard for your customer to read and process what they’re seeing. This makes your company more forgettable.

Don’t forget to research

Research potential names before making a final decision. In addition to checking government sites and doing a Google search, check if the domain name you want is available. It’s also a good idea to check social media sites to see what handles are available.

Another good step to take is benchmarking your potential logo. Make a list of competitors and see what elements they have included. If you want your brand to stand out, you don’t want to accidentally copy the competition.

Don’t make it purely decorative

Your logo is more than something pretty to look at. It serves a vital purpose for your business brand. A well-designed logo helps convey your brand identity. It invites customers to learn more about you. A good logo will separate you from your competition and inspire loyalty from your customers.

Don’t make it too colorful

Too many colors, or colors that are too bright, can be overwhelming. This includes colors that stray too far from those we see in the natural world (e.g., neon green). These colors are likely to reflect more in people’s eyes, which makes them want to turn away rather than tune in. Small accents of neon green with black or white as the main scheme can be far more effective. Whether you’re looking for green, red, blue, yellow, or another color, try to stay in a palette that can be found in nature.

Don’t overlook sizing

Make sure your logo is scalable. You’ll use it in a variety of ways—business cards, websites, letterhead, and social media. You may also use it on a sign or truck. Play with the logo to ensure it can easily change size to what you need without creating a mess for a customer to read.

A good company deserves a good name and logo

Creating the right name and logo for your business can take you a long way in building a successful business. However, as a small business owner, you may find it hard to find the time to sit down and focus on branding. Upwork can connect you to independent professionals who can help you develop a brand identity that conveys exactly what you want to say, including coming up with a good company name and attractive logo.

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How to Choose a Good Company Name and Logo
The Upwork Team

Upwork is the world’s work marketplace that connects businesses with independent talent from across the globe. We serve everyone from one-person startups to large, Fortune 100 enterprises with a powerful, trust-driven platform that enables companies and talent to work together in new ways that unlock their potential.

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