Colour and Meaning

The best names use metaphor to allow both colour and meaning.

Choosing a product name is hard. There are two schools of thought:

  1. Spend time finding the right name, it should be memorable, unique and descriptive. Your URL should be easy to remember.
  2. Name isn’t important. Your brand builds its own meaning over time. Choose the first random words that come to mind. Any domain will do.

I’d suggest that these are both right.

Your name is important. Your brand does build its own meaning over time. Your name should be memorable, but only needs to be unique in your niche. Finding a good URL can be helpful, but isn’t that important.

Should your brand be descriptive, like Meetup.com, GitHub, or iPhone?

Or, should your brand be random, like Gimlet, Apple, or Drupal?

I believe the best names are a mix of both. They use metaphor to allow both colour and meaning. Consider:

  • Google – A googol is a huge number, a metaphor for the amount of results.
  • Amazon – The largest river in the world, just like the online store.
  • Basecamp – An area used for staging a long climb, or your project.

Find a metaphor for your product, and from that, find a word which is short and memorable. You’ll figure out a domain name that works.

Author: Luke Carbis

Luke is learning to trust his intuition, value Practice over Theory, and write.