Speaking of simplicity, it’s important that your business name is easy to say too. “[Think about how the pronunciation [will go] for those you work with,” Maione explains. “Does it translate well in the countries you work in or anticipate working in?”
If you’re stumbling over your words when telling a friend or former colleague about your new endeavor, you might want to rethink its name.
Be Careful of Copyrighting
You finally came up with a short list of potential names, so the rest will be smooth sailing, right? Not quite. Before you make the big decision, you want to make sure that your potential name is unique to your company.
“Aside from the legal troubles that can arise if you choose a name that’s already in use, you might also run into issues buying a web domain or setting up usernames on social media,” Casey says.
A simple web search is a great way to start the vetting process. Want to think a step ahead? Check for available web domains, social media handles, and any associated hashtags. “This research will help you understand the popularity of the name and [the] competition,” Guadron adds.
If your potential business name seems to be in the clear, Casey recommends using the USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Search System) to browse trademarks and pending trademarks. “If you want, you can apply for one yourself,” Casey adds. “It’s not absolutely necessary, but it will protect your name from being used by competitors.”
Use Your Name
With so many options to choose from—and the risk of accidentally using another company’s name—it might be easier to name your design firm after yourself. According to Maione, this is an easy, common move. “It can feel heavy to bring in a word or words into such focus, so resolving with the name of the designer or partners can relieve the stress of reading too deeply into language,” she says.
That said, many designers choose to pair an end phrase with their eponymous business name: LLC, Designs, and Associates are just a few examples. When choosing that perfect word to complement your name, Maione encourages you to think of your overall vision for the brand.
“Each of these end phrases can reflect an ethos about collaboration and authorship, how one sees the studio as a space and as a mindset,” she explains. “LLC, for example, might be a business structure decision and looks official. That said, a name on the door doesn’t need to say all the business details.”
While adding the word Designs will provide clarity into your firm’s services, phrases like “& Co.” or “and Associates” opens the doors for growing your team or adding partners down the road. Before you make the decision, think about the highest vision for your business and choose accordingly.
Make Room for Growth
Design trends may come and go, but a great business name is meant to last forever. That’s exactly why Casey always recommends choosing timeless over trendy.
“It’s incredibly important to think about the longevity of your business name and how it will come across in the future,” she shares. “If your goal is to become the largest firm in your area, you will want to choose a name that could eventually represent a diverse collective of professionals.”
Casey encourages designers to avoid using buzzy words or jargon that feels too literal or pertains to a location. Ultimately, the right name will be the backbone of your business and support your company’s unlimited growth and potential.