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About Naming

Naming: It’s What’s for Dinner

If you were to take a walk through a California orchard in 1920 or so, you might come across a tree bearing a large, egg-shaped fruit. The fruit is covered in tough, green skin. Plucked from the tree, it ripens, turning a duller green. You would know it as the alligator pear. The avocado, as…

Deconstruct: 365 by Whole Foods

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. Last week, Whole Foods announced the launch of a new chain of grocery stores. Described as “a smaller-store concept where value meets quality,” the new chain is intended as a…

Deconstruct: Microsoft Edge

Introducing Deconstruct, a new propaganda venture from A Hundred Monkeys in which we perform close readings of names belonging to companies with large legal teams. With Edge, Microsoft rolled out a browser that boasts newer, leaner software, replacing the dated Internet Explorer. That’s a good thing, cause the IE name needed to go. Like fellow…

There’s a Word for That

To name is to swim through the deep order of words. It’s our business, and we keep sharp tools at hand to help us get the job done. Part of making sense of language is in classification. Take a form and examine it, then find all its recorded examples. We might take inspiration from a…

Kvlture Clash: Fake Bands and Live Brands

Earlier this year, H&M quietly launched a metal-styled clothing line. The collection, featuring band shirts as well as a diligently patched bomber jacket and jeans combo, would be unremarkable save one thing–none of the bands on the patches are real. Perhaps Corporate didn’t want to pay to license real bands, or maybe designers just needed…

Emoji Brands: Taking Names at Face Value

Doubters beware: emoji are here to stay. Their Western invasion (or welcomed arrival, depending on your point of view) began in earnest in 2010, when Unicode, the computer industry text standard, released Unicode Standard 6.0. At Google and Apple’s behest, that character set included 722 new symbols that would come to redefine the way we…

Descriptive Names: Wasting Space Since 1900

A name shouldn’t tell people what a business or product does. These names—descriptive names—are everywhere: Microsoft, General Electric, Carfax, Jacksonville Sports Store. The business version of occupational names like Smith, Carpenter, and Miller, they’re united by their flare for generic description. They do little to help the businesses and products they describe. “But that’s counterintuitive!”…

Naming Contests and You: A Cautionary Tale

Before you start that naming contest, take a deep breath. Choosing a name is a bit like choosing a spouse: you aren’t locked in forever, but it’s better for all concerned if you are. It’s a hell of a lot better to get it right the first time than it is to change midway. That’s…

How Company and Product Naming Shapes First Impressions

First impressions are pivotal. In one-tenth of a second, we decide how we feel about a person—we form a mental image to build on in the future. That image is unusually tough to change. It takes some doing to override millions of years of biological circuitry. We use that same circuitry when we think about…

Empty Vessel Company Names: The Fortune 500’s Secret Weapon

Cigna, Avnet, and Alcoa are all Fortune 500 companies. Each has what we call an “empty vessel” name—a moniker with little meaning for a given audience. Empty vessels are extraordinarily popular with large companies in most industries. Names are an opportunity to tell the world who you are. Why, then, would anyone choose an empty…