I do web development and graphic design as a hobby; I'm an enthusiast that's been immersed in these communities for more than 5 years. Recently I've been doing more serious work in these fields. I've been getting paid to do it, and I'd like to launch a freelancing brand for this work I do on the side. I would continue to go under my name, but my last name sounds nothing like it's spelled.
Naturally, I want a slick brand to go under, and the name is a significant part of that. I've been reading various articles on branding, and what I've taken away is to avoid names that reference a particular region, are silly, or aren't at all descriptive of what you do.
As for the descriptive of what I do part - I generally stick to web development, UI design, and digital graphics, although I've more recently become involved in print design and I'd like to be open to doing more in this ecosystem.
I've been brainstorming names over the past few months and haven't come up with but a few names that I'd like to use. I'd like to voice my concerns for each and ask for some advice on which one would be a better fit. Note that none of the names are taken and each have unregistered .com domains.
I'll pose this question in a shortened, answerable way:
TL;DR what's some good advice for a freelancer trying to create a brand? Which of these names would be appropriate/you could see yourself using? Sorry for writing a book. I tend to be perfectionist in most things I create, but I lack the experience to put my foot down and make a decision in this. Thanks for any help.
P.S. - I would've posted this in the freelancing stachexchange site, but it's not yet public.
What is in a name? Nothing and everything, for business it depends largely on the end goal ...
If you intend to be in it forever and you are solo... then name it after you, its your name on the line, in the right context that has value. "I stand behind my work"
If you intend to sell out in 2 to 3 years... don't use your name, use a brand name that can carry on without you being there.
If your in a niche industry pick something that has relevance to that industry or something people will remember. Microsoft, Apple, Google ... don't have a direct meaning but inspire people or allow people to remember them in their own ways.
If your in a generalist industry an inspiring name is likely to help people be drawn to you eg. "Trusted legal advice", "Toys are US" or my personal local favorite "Closing Down Rug Sale" ... (I'm not joking, its marketing genius, the sign has been there for 3 years now).
If you want brand name then "Virgin" ... seriously it had me noticing it when I was 15 year old ... a while ago now, and I have been watching it ever since.
If you are location based then a something that speaks to the location is important. "New York Real Estate", "Sydney Rd Traders".
Over where I am a multi billion dollar insurance company changed its name from location (Norwich Union) to allegedly inspiring (Aviva) because their location based name was lost on the now non-UK marketbase.
Really, the name matters as much as you let it ... if you have a name that inspires you, that speaks to others, that you and your team can stand behind and say "This is us" ... then it has value.
Are you doing simply generic design work or looking at specializing in servicing a specific niche? If so, it would probably be a good idea to to work a name towards that... or at least a catch phrase to attract the right market...
... But in all seriousness, the name while nice, isn't everything. Focusing more on what you're going to do for your clients is more important.
In the book "Positioning" by Al Ries and Jack Trout, they argue that the name is in fact really important.
They suggest choosing a name that describes what the product's major benefit is (i.e., People magazine, DieHard batteries, BusinessWeek to cite another magazine, etc.).
They caution against three things:
I agree with most every answer but want to re-emphasize the context.
Brand isn't that important for a niche-service B2B except if it sucks, and when you (anyone) tries to be cool or cute with a name that can easily alienate you from an opportunity.
It's so far better to have a neutral name, even your last name with "Group" on it, than using any word that could ever be trendy - especially words that other 'e-solutions-specialists-media-fast-clickmor-enStudio-captiveDezine-xenon-nomad' folks might use.
Time and time again I get the feedback that I am the only one that actually makes them feel like they're having a real conversation - reason is because I treat them like a mensche...look it up if needed.
The others seem to want to portray themselves like a huge agency with an account rep and want to sell - you guessed it!, BRANDING! - and that alienates these folks fast and quick. Polished = bad, personal = good. Confide. Be humble. Tell them the questions they're forgetting to ask. When they say "ok, what's next" that means you sold it. Send them a nice PDF work proposal, get 50% down, 50% on approval, and knock it out.
Why would a very small law firm want to spend $7k on a website and come in for 'development and branding meetings with the art director and marketing manager'... to them that's like being sold a $20 gallon of milk.
If you tell your prospect, and you literally can, "... everyone out there is selling a $20 gallon of milk. I know it's $4, I charge $5 because I'm very good and I turn around a site in a week.' you will really get somewhere... they will think "ahh.. finally... the master mechanic who knows it really takes only an hour to fix it and won't charge me for ten.. sold!".
You want something that conveys your 'brand' and is easy to remember. And you want something that has your main keywords in it if possible, for search-engine optimization. And you want something you can spell over the phone without sounding like an Army Signal Corp Operator.
People pay other people big bucks to come up with these things!
I love puns, and haven't checked any of the following domains, but perhaps -