It’s fun to talk about bad names. We do so often. Our Creative Director Eli started an instagram hash tag for just that purpose: #dontcallitthat.

Eli also documents all the names he comes across in the wild and discusses them on Medium. Round one. Round Two.

As a group, all of us at A Hundred Monkeys host an annual event called Burning Ears where we all bring our favorite good and bad names, and vote on the best of the best and the worst of the worst. Recap here.

We also catalog and discuss great names as a way to get better at naming and to share these examples with clients when they ask us what names we admire or as a way to open their thinking around how a name should look, feel, and sound.

These are some of my favorite examples of names that I admire and why I love them. A Hundred Monkeys was not responsible for any of these names.

Mesa Boogie
I have no idea what’s going on here, which is why I like it. I don’t wish to look up how they got their name because I love living in the mystery of it. All I know is their amps sound great and their name makes me smile.

MSR PocketRocket
A backpacking stove that, you guessed it, fits in your pocket. Sexual innuendo aside, it’s a great example of marrying descriptive naming with evocative naming, evocative being the driver. MSR is all over the map with their naming: they have another stove called the SuperFly, which is a great name, and another called the XGK™-EX. All said, I appreciate their willingness to be creative.

Farer
A watch brand for “free-spirited modern adventurers,” whatever that means. Farer, as a name, is unusual enough to get me to stop, come closer, and investigate. Near the top of their home page is the payoff: “Farer (Noun) Explorer, Wayfarer, Seafarer, Farfarer.” Click. A lovely name attached to some lovely watches.

DrummerFromAnotherMother
Made by Moog, the DrummerFromAnotherMother is a drum machine. A lot of names make me smile, this one made me laugh.

Nike Pegasus
Horses are fast. Put some wings in the mix and I imagine they’re even faster. Which shoe do you want to run in: the Nike Pegasus or the New Balance 850v9?

Most products by Fenty Beauty
Rihanna’s beauty brand does a great job reflecting her attitude and personality. A few of my favorites: Killawatt, Fu$$y Ballerina, Bomb Baby, Stunna Lip Paint, Flyliner, and Fairy Bomb.

This is the work I look up to as a professional namer, the types of names I’d like to see more of in the world. Notably absent are names like Sanitation Solutions or IAXNAWERAPDWA. Notably present are a pulse and some personality.


Bonus round: A shortlist of a shortlist of shortlists. Some of these brands suck but they all have great names.

Teenage Engineering
Concrete After Lightning
Lucky Peach
Alpine Houdini
MoogerFooger
Fig Newmans
Dixon Ticonderoga
Big Ass Fans
Lonely Planet
AIAIAI
Synchilla
Skate or die!
Diaspora
Dream Sequence
Marine Layer
Smokey’s Tangle
Homeroom
BAGGU
Field Notes
Tiny Splendor

Share on