The Cool 'Brand Naming' Hack

Posted on
November 5, 2023

One innovative way to solve the naming challenge is by using the Naming Grid, also called Naming Matrix. Don't worry, and it's not as complicated as it sounds!

Have you ever heard of the Naming Grid? It's an elegant trick for finding the perfect name.

The Naming Grid has twelve types of names, ranging from Descriptive to Fanciful. Each type brings its unique flavour to the branding game.

One innovative way to solve the naming challenge is by using the Naming Grid, also called Naming Matrix. Don't worry, and it's not as complicated as it sounds! The Naming Matrix operates on two axes: Descriptive to Abstract and Real to Coined words.

Brand Naming Grid

The Descriptive to Abstract axis spans from straightforward, literal terms to imaginative, open-to-interpretation words. Meanwhile, the Real to Coined Words axis distinguishes existing and newly coined words.

With the help of a structured grid, creators and marketers can easily combine elements from different sections to create an extensive range of potential names.

This method simplifies the process of exploring various naming styles, ultimately creating catchy, memorable names that aptly capture the essence of what is being named. So, what are you waiting for? Give the Naming Grid a try and see what fantastic names you can come up with!

Free Brand Naming Grid PDF Worksheet below.

Let's get started! below, you will find a description of different brand names, their advantages and disadvantages, and relevant examples for each type.


Descriptive Names:

Descriptive names clarify a product's essence.

Descriptive names convey the essence of a product, service, or industry. There are three types: founder-based, geographical, and historical. Founder-based names come from creators' names; geographical names indicate origin, and historical names connect to past events. These naming styles clarify essential aspects.



Descriptive-Founder - Named after the founders, the McDonald brothers established the first McDonald's restaurant.


Descriptive-Geographical - Named after the South American river, it reflects the vastness and strength of various products on its platform.

Ford Mustang

Descriptive-Historical - The 'Mustang' evokes images of the American wild horse, symbolizing speed, power, and freedom, while 'Ford' connects it to the company's historical legacy.


Clarity: Communicates the product, service, or industry.
Informative: Helps customers understand the brand's essence.


Lack of distinctiveness: Can be generic and blend in with competitors.
Limitations in scalability: This might restrict future diversification.


Evocative Names:

Evocative names create mental imagery and emotions, focusing on an emotional connection over direct product description.

Evocative names stir emotions, create mental pictures, and elicit feelings. They focus on building an emotional connection rather than describing the product. By tapping into the imagination with powerful imagery or storytelling, they leave a lasting impression and resonate with the audience.



This name doesn't explicitly describe its function but evokes the concept of concise communication. The name aligns with the platform's goal of facilitating fast, straightforward messaging.


Emotional resonance: Evokes feelings and creates memorable associations.
Flexibility: Allows for creative storytelling and brand narrative.


Interpretation variance: Different interpretations by consumers.
Lack of direct product information: This may need to convey the product/service.


Associative names

Associative names link attributes, functions, or qualities of a product or service.

Associative names directly link a product or service's attribute, function, or quality, triggering connections that align a brand with specific traits or features in consumers' minds.



The name combines "air" (travel) and "bnb" (bed and breakfast) to associate lodging with travel. It links the platform's purpose of offering rental services, emphasizing rented spaces for travellers.


Direct association: Links brand with specific attributes or features.
Memorable and descriptive: Communicates functionality or purpose.


Dependency on understanding: Requires consumers to grasp the connection.
Risk of limiting scope: Might confine the brand to a specific attribute.



Metaphoric names use symbols to convey deeper meanings.

Metaphoric names use symbolic language to convey deeper meanings and draw parallels between unrelated concepts to create a memorable representation of a brand or product.



The brand name implies purity, gentleness, and softness, just like the bird named after. It evokes a sense of care and tenderness, which aligns with the company's marketing message of providing gentle and nourishing personal care products.


Emotional resonance: Conveys deeper meanings and associations.
Evocative symbolism: Creates strong and relatable imagery.


Subjectivity: Different interpretations and associations by consumers.
Potential ambiguity: Symbolism may only sometimes be universally understood.



Arbitrary names lack direct association with the product or industry, relying on uniqueness and memorability.

Arbitrary brand names are created solely for branding and lack a direct connection to the product or industry. They rely on being unique and memorable through distinctiveness and brand-building efforts. These names are chosen for their originality, distinctiveness, and ability to evoke curiosity.



An arbitrary brand name created by George Eastman for his camera company. It was a unique, invented word chosen for its distinctiveness and ease of recognition.


Uniqueness: Stands out from competitors and creates brand distinction.
Brand flexibility: Allows for diverse future expansions.


Initial obscurity: Requires significant brand-building efforts.
Lack of inherent meaning: May need to convey product/service information.



Acronyms abbreviate longer phrases or words concisely.

Brand name acronyms combine the first letters or syllables from a longer phrase or group of words to create a new abbreviation. These acronyms are commonly used to represent a longer or more complex term briefly and concisely.



The acronym for the U.S. government agency 'National Aeronautics and Space Administration' that handles space programs, aeronautics research, and aerospace technology.


Conciseness: Short and easy to remember.
Memorability: Can become iconic and recognizable.


Lack of descriptive power: Doesn't convey product/service essence.
Interpretation challenges: Different meanings for different audiences.



Amalgam names blend parts of words to form a new term representing a brand or service.

Names, or blend or portmanteau names, combine parts of two or more words to form an entirely new word representing a product, service, or brand. This naming technique involves merging syllables, sounds, or entire words from different origins to create a distinctive and often catchy name.



This company's brand name is an amalgamation of "microcomputer" and "software," reflecting its focus on personal computer software. The unique term has become an industry icon, showcasing the power of combining words to create a brand name.


Unique yet relatable: Combines familiar elements into a distinctive name.
Catchy and memorable: Creates a distinct identity.


Potential confusion: Mixing elements may need to be clarified for customers.
Difficulty in balance: Creating a cohesive and meaningful blend.



Lexical names derive from a language's lexicon.

Lexical names are suggestive company names that use language to convey important information. They can include puns, phrases, compound words, alliteration, onomatopoeia, intentional misspellings, and foreign words, both real and newly coined.



is a lexicon brand name derived from the store's original hours: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Though stores now operate 24/7, the name retains its significance, symbolizing convenience and accessibility for customers.


Clarity and Familiarity: Draws from existing words or phrases, making it easily understandable to audiences.
Established Associations: Established associations benefit brands by providing prompt brand recognition due to pre-existing meanings.


Limitation in Uniqueness: Might blend in with competitors due to common language associations.
Less Room for Creativity: It might not stand out or evoke strong emotions compared to more inventive names.



Abstract names evoke emotions or concepts without directly describing the product.

Abstract brands create a unique, emotional identity rather than directly describing the product or service. They rely on symbolism, evoking feelings and aspirations and emphasizing values, lifestyle, or unique selling propositions to establish a deeper connection with their audience.



The name is abstract and doesn't directly convey its service (a search engine). "Google" comes from "googol," a mathematical term for one followed by 100 zeros. It implies vast info, aligning with the search engine's goal to organize and make data accessible.


Emotional Resonance: Evokes feelings and aspirations rather than directly describing the product.
Flexibility: Allows for creative storytelling and a broader brand identity.


Potential Misinterpretation: Subjective interpretations can lead to varied perceptions among consumers.
Lack of Direct Description: Doesn't convey the product or service explicitly, possibly leading to confusion.



Inventive names are newly created without prior meaning, aiming for memorability.

Inventive brand names are unique, newly created words that don't have any existing meaning or emotional connotations. They are implied to be memorable and stand out in a crowded market.



This is an inventive name blending the founder's nickname 'Adi' and part of his last name 'Das' to create a brand-new term. It's both descriptive, honouring the founder, and coined for its uniqueness.


Distinctiveness: Stands out in a crowded market due to uniqueness.

Brand Versatility: Offers flexibility for building a brand identity beyond traditional associations.


Initial Recognition Challenges: Requires significant effort to establish recognition and association.

Risk of Misunderstanding: This may be difficult for some audiences to relate to or understand.



Misspell names alter spellings for uniqueness.

These kinds of brand names intentionally change the spelling of words to create unique and memorable identities. They deviate from standard spelling for trademark purposes or to stand out in a competitive market.



It alters spellings to be distinctive and trademarkable, aiming for memorability and uniqueness. These names rely on consumers associating the misspelling with the intended meaning, often requiring robust marketing efforts for effective communication.


Trademark Potential: Offers uniqueness and distinctiveness for trademarking.
Memorability: A deliberately misspelled name can be memorable and eye-catching.


Communication Challenges: May need clarification or difficulties in conveying the intended message.
Risk of Misinterpretation: Misspellings might only sometimes resonate or connect with the desired brand image.



Fanciful names are entirely made up of unique branding.

Fanciful names are made-up words created solely to serve as unique brand identifiers. Unlike descriptive names, they convey no direct meaning or qualities and are often whimsical, creative, and easily trademarked.



Verizon is a name coined by the telecommunications company to represent clarity and reliability in communication services. It is distinctive and has no prior meaning in existing language.


Unique Brand Identity: Completely original and distinctive, often more accessible to trademark.
Creative Freedom: Provides ample creative liberty to shape the brand's identity.


Initial Recognition Hurdles: These can be harder for audiences to grasp or remember initially.
Clarity Concerns: A lack of inherent meaning may require extra effort to establish brand associations, which could impact clarity concerns.

Free Brand Naming Grid PDF worksheet

Download your free worksheet here

It's important to note that some brand names may fall into multiple categories or incorporate elements from different types. New naming trends and approaches continue to emerge, further expanding the range of brand name types.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to creating a successful brand name. Different strategies depend on the industry, target audience, brand values, and competition.

Brand naming is a critical aspect of successful branding. A well-crafted brand name can make a lasting impression, differentiate a business from competitors, and forge an emotional connection with consumers. By following a thoughtful and strategic brand naming process, companies can create a name that reflects their brand's essence, resonates with their target audience, and paves the way for a solid and impactful brand presence.

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