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About Naming

Branding the Outdoors

  • About: Naming

  For most people, the word “Patagonia” conjures up images of adventurers summiting a snowy peak (which may or may not be in southern Argentina.) North Face is a jacket or a sleeping bag, not the harsher side of a mountain. A big part of outdoor outfitters, and a key to their success, is their…

In Sports, Your Fans Are Your Brand

Branding sports teams is tricky business. The team already has a brand, whether they like it or not. Player styles, rivalries, fanbases and team performance combine to create athletic brands before ads and stadium deals enter the picture. We’ll look at the major league teams from the Bay Area (we’re a Berkeley company, after all)…

Does Our Philosophy Hold Up to the Facts?

  When you’ve been in the naming business for as long as Taylor Swift has been alive, you learn a few things. Over the years, we’ve tirelessly revised our naming process, honing in on what works and what doesn’t. If you can imagine a creative process, we’ve likely tried it. The results are names that…

What Do We Call Bill Clinton?

  Hillary Clinton will be the 45th President of the United States. We’ll almost certainly address her as Madam President: the NIH and the USGS already plan to. (The ITA is a bit behind the times.) “Madam” is also the standard term of address for female Senators and Speakers, as well as many female heads…

Eli teaches Ryan how to name things

In Episode 1 of Ryan Learns Something, Ryan quits his job and gets $15,000 to start his journey of self-directed learning. He learns how to name things by seeking out a company naming expert: Eli Altman. Ryan learns the history of naming companies and the trends that affect brand names. He reads “Don’t Call It…

Brand Grab: How Yosemite Gave Up Its Name

  Shortly after midnight on March 1 2016, Yosemite National Park was quiet. Tucked in the park’s backcountry, tent campers snored in their sleeping bags. Nocturnal animals emerged from the conifer forests to hunt. But the silence was broken as workers drove from landmark to landmark, tearing down old signs and riveting new ones in…

Dismasted: The Rise and Fall of Mast Brothers Chocolate

The branding efforts of Mast Brothers Chocolate typify the American craft-culture renaissance. We’re told the chocolate bars, ground from premium beans of tropical origin in a small city loft, are the pride and obsession of siblings Rick and Michael Mast. In promotional photos, the brothers pose in front of burlap sacks in their factory, dressed…

Deconstruct: Freeform

Deconstruct is a propaganda venture from A Hundred Monkeys in which we perform close readings of new names belonging to companies with large legal teams. “Freeform … free to take whatever shape feels right, free to push beyond the expected. Free to get from point A to point B in a line that’s nowhere near…

What the Wu Tang Clan Can Teach You About Branding

In 1993, nine New York rappers dropped an album that would go on to… I don’t need to finish it, do I? You know who the Wu Tang Clan is, and if you don’t, you can read one of the many pop-cultural accounts of their rise to stardom, power, and a place in the hip…

On Re-renaming Denali

  • About: Naming

In June of 1896, a gold prospector named William Dickey was digging on the banks of Alaska’s Susitna River. Towering over the river valley was a giant peak, rising over 20,000 feet. While Dickey labored at the foot of the mountain, news arrived that William McKinley had won the Republican presidential nomination. Elated, the prospector…