THE ART OF BRANDING

The Name of Success: 10 Brands That Prove Names Matter


Published on February 11, 2024


Credit: Nik Shuliahin

Naming a brand is not just a trivial exercise in creativity; it's a strategic decision that can make or break a business. Behind every successful brand name lies a carefully crafted narrative that resonates with its target audience.

Join us as we unravel the stories behind these 10 iconic brand names, showcasing the art and science of naming in the business world.

1

Winged Victory

Credit: Chris Henry

Co-founder Phil Knight was inspired by Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, to create the brand that today symbolizes athleticism and motion. The deity was often portrayed in ancient art as a winged woman, and it was associated with victory in any field.

With this in mind, and to complete the brand’s image, Knight contacted Carolyn Davidson, a graphic design student at Portland State University whom he overheard complaining about not having enough money to buy art supplies. After being tasked with creating a logo that was simple and inspired by movement, Davidson created several versions of the design until Knight finally settled for one of the samples that resembled a wing of the Greek goddess.

"Well, I don't love it", Knight allegedly told her, "but maybe it will grow on me." As we all know, and fortunately for both, today the iconic Swoosh and Nike’s brand identity have become one of the most beloved by athletes and consumers everywhere.

2

A Byte Out Of The Forbidden Fruit

Credit: Laurenz Heymann

Before Apple dominated the tech world, it was just a simple fruit. There are many theories as to how the company decided on its popular brand identity and iconic logo - the silhouette of a bitten apple. Some believe that it was intended as an homage to one of the tragic founding fathers of computer science, Alan Turing, who committed suicide by eating an apple laced with cyanide.

However, the truth is far simpler, as it often is. According to Steve Jobs, he selected the name "Apple" after visiting an apple farm. He found the name to be fun-spirited and non-intimidating, something that would set them apart in the complex world of emerging tech companies.

3

Medicinal Beverage

Credit: H.R. Kocher

Created as a medicine intended to regulate mood and temperament, Coca-Cola's name is a fusion of two main ingredients: coca leaves and kola nuts. The popular beverage’s creator, Dr. John Pemberton, had his bookkeeper come up with a catchy name and logo. Thus, the alliterative name and familiar typography were born. Although the product initially didn’t do too well - Pemberton never got to see his company succeed - it eventually became a hit, and can now be found almost anywhere in the world.

4

A Googol Of Possibilities

Credit: Mitchell Luo

Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin originally named their search engine "BackRub". It was eventually changed to Google, a misspelling of the mathematical term googol , which represents a very large number (1 followed by 100 zeros). Since Google's stated mission is to organize the immense amount of information on the web, the name is a clever nod to the vastness of knowledge.

5

The Deep River of E-commerce

Credit: Simon Bak

The world’s largest online retailer was once named "Cadabra" (as in "abracadabra"), but after a lawyer misheard the name as "cadaver", a search for a new name for the company began. According to Bezos, he chose the name by looking through a dictionary. As he stumbled onto "Amazon", he thought it was a fitting name for a unique company that strived to become just as compelling as the largest river in the world. Also, since the name began with an "A", it would always be at the top of any alphabetized list.

6

A Playful Idea

Credit: Xavi Cabrera

The name LEGO is an abbreviation derived from the Danish words leg godt, meaning "play well." Its founder and creator, Ole Kirk Christiansen—a carpenter by profession—wanted the name to encapsulate the brand's commitment to creativity, learning, and fun. Initially a company that focused on wooden toys, after injection molding was introduced to Denmark, LEGO evolved into the toy-making giant we know today, and the simplicity of its name reflects the timeless appeal of its colorful interlocking bricks.

7

A Name in Three Stripes

Credit: Sara Kurfeß

Adidas, named after its founder Adolf Dassler, cleverly incorporates his nickname, Adi, and the first three letters of his last name. The simplicity-oriented company chose its logo to stand out from the competition, but it wasn’t the first to come up with the three-stripe design. A Finnish athletic footwear company, Karhu Sports, had the rights, and Dassler allegedly bought the logo from them for two bottles of whiskey and the equivalent of €1600.

8

Nautical Mythos

Credit: Sorin Sîrbu

If you are a fan of Melville, you probably find Starbucks’ name quite familiar. This is because the company got their name from the first mate in Herman Melville's Moby Dick. However, the name was mainly chosen because the company’s founders thought that names beginning with "st" were powerful, not because of any direct link with Melville’s magnum opus.

But no one can deny that the name, paired with the mermaid logo, creates a compelling brand narrative that helps draw customers into a world of exotic and premium coffee.

9

A Fortunate Name

Credit: Jason Leung

Originally a playing card company, Nintendo is often assumed to mean "leave luck to heaven" in Japanese. However, since Japanese kanjis are often not so easily translated, various meanings could be at play in the entertainment giant’s name. Recently, Hiroshi Yamauchi, great-grandson of Nintendo’s founder, admitted that even he is not sure of the true meaning of the company’s name. But after 130 years of history, the mysterious moniker keeps the company firmly attached to its roots.

10

A Sonorous Name

Credit: Florian Schmetz

Derived from the Latin word "sonus," meaning sound, and a play on the colloquial term for hip young men of the day "sonny," Sony’s founders sought to imbue their company with youthful and innovative energy, as well as an international sounding name. After the huge success of their first pocket radio, sold everywhere in the world, the name got a place among technological legends. Sony continued to build on this success, expanding its product line to include a wide range of electronics, like the beloved Walkman and the hugely popular video game console PlayStation.

11

Tribute to Genius

Credit: Paul Steuber

Sporting a magnetic name and promising unbridled innovation, Tesla became one of the most hyped companies of the last few years. Its name is actually an homage to the brilliant Serbian American inventor Nikola Tesla, who, among many other things, developed the alternating-current power system that today provides electricity to homes everywhere and to the AC induction motor found at the core of every electric car manufactured by the company.

12

Superlative Ride

Credit: Paul Hanaoka

Uber is a German word that means "above," in line with the brand's goal to provide a service that goes above and beyond. Originally called Ubercab, the name was quickly shortened to just Uber because of potential legal issues with cab drivers. But this turned out to be a good thing since the name became easier to remember and has now become a verb!

Also, concepts like "uberization"—making products or services available from smartphones—have become prevalent in the tech industry, and other companies have embraced the term.


PUT AN ASCOTT AROUND YOUR NECK AND READ ON

Impress Fashionistas with these 12 Stylish Terms


Published on February 11, 2024


Credit: Freestocks

To be on the inside, you must talk like an insider. Each niche, no matter how big or small, has its own language, its slang that separates the ones in the know from the outsiders. The fashion world is no different in this sense and it has many terms to describe and define the countless aspects that make it what it is today.

From haute couture to prêt-à-porter , the fashion world has countless terms and expressions. Whether you're a seasoned fashionista or a casual observer, this lexicon exploration will provide explanations for some of the most used words in the industry.

1

Haute Couture

Credit: Fernanda Garcia

In its French original, haute couture translates to "high sewing", meaning the most exclusive, handcrafted fashion. The term is synonymous with the superb craftsmanship associated with custom-made garments.

To be officially recognized as haute couture , designers must adhere to strict criteria outlined by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture , ensuring that each creation is a masterpiece of craftsmanship.

2

Embroidery

Credit: Elio Santos

What might seem like a granny activity to some, actually has roots that date back to the Iron Age. This meticulous craft involves decorating textiles with needle and thread, creating intricate patterns, and adding texture to garments. Across centuries and civilizations, embroidery has been a means of showcasing the skilled hands of artisans.

Today, embroidery continues blending tradition with contemporary design, adorning everything from traditional garments to modern streetwear.

3

Cruise Collection

Credit: Vidar Nordli-Mathisen

The term originated in the 1920s when Coco Chanel introduced cruise wear for clients vacationing on cruise ships. Also known as resort or holiday collections, they cater to a global clientele seeking stylish ensembles for winter getaways or transitional seasons.

Today, the cruise collection showcases innovative designs that anticipate upcoming trends while offering a glimpse of what's to come in the world of high fashion.

4

Atelier

Credit: Ugandan Crafts

In the world of fashion, the term atelier signifies the place where the magic happens and haute couture garments are created. It transcends its literal French translation, which means workshop or studio.

Ateliers have always served as the spaces where meticulous handcrafting transforms fabrics into exquisite garments. These workshops, often associated with iconic names like Christian Dior and Coco Chanel, embody the synthesis of artistic vision and technical wizardry.

5

Diffusion Line

Credit: Chalo Garcia

The term "diffusion line" in the fashion realm is the name given to a secondary collection launched by a high-end designer label, offering a more affordable range compared to their main line.

This trend originated in the mid-20th century with designers seeking to broaden their reach by creating these diffusion lines, making their clothes more attainable for a wider audience. These collections retain a connection to the designer's style but often incorporate simpler designs and materials, allowing fashion enthusiasts access to the brand without the premium price tag.

6

Fad

Credit: Highlight ID

A "fad" is a trend that experiences a sudden intense popularity burst that's typically short-lived. Originating from the Middle English word fadde , meaning to fade, the term describes these fleeting fashion phenomena.

Fads can emerge from various sources, including celebrity endorsements, social media, or runway showcases, among others. Often characterized by their rapid rise and fall, fads capture the public's attention before evolving into the next wave of trends.

7

Bespoke

Credit: Yasamine June

In the world of fashion, "bespoke" is a term that symbolizes the top of individualized craftsmanship. It refers to clothing made to order, tailored precisely to the client's unique measurements and preferences. This artisanal approach ensures an impeccable fit and allows for personalization in design, fabric, and detailing.

Yes, it comes with a higher price tag and longer production times but, still, no one can deny that bespoke garments exude excellence and exclusivity.

8

Silhouette

Credit: Sasha Freemind

When talking about a silhouette in the fashion realm, the term is used to describe more than its literal meaning of an outline or shape. It becomes a fundamental concept representing the overall form and structure of a garment.

Whether it's the dramatic hourglass of eras gone by or the more minimalist lines of contemporary fashion, the silhouette is the form through which garments communicate the style and identity of their designer.

9

Knit

Credit: Nik

In the fashion lexicon, "knit" refers to a versatile technique of fabric construction, done by interlocking yarns with needles or machines.

Knitwear can range from cozy sweaters to intricate lace patterns. This technique allows for stretch, comfort, and breathability, making it a classic in various styles and seasons. From casual streetwear to high fashion, knit fabrics are just about everywhere.

10

Knock-Off

Credit: Nguyễn Dang Hoang Nhu

A "knock-off" is, quite simply, an imitation. In the fashion world, it refers to a copy or imitation of a popular and often high-end garment or accessory. It can be a suspiciously cheap high-end handbag sold from the back of a car in an alley or a garment sold in a big store. Knock-offs aim to mimic the aesthetic of original items, often more expensive, at a fraction of the cost.

11

Patchwork

Credit: Raul Cacho Oses

The concept of putting pieces together to create something new is nothing new in itself. And neither is its use in the fashion world, where is referred to as "patchwork".

The whole idea originated from the very practical necessity of mending garments. The assemblage of different fabrics into a cohesive whole adds texture and visual interest to clothing and accessories. In modern fashion, patchwork allows designers to blend styles, colors, and patterns, resulting in garments that are not only unique but also tell the story of the diverse materials that comprise them.

12

Pret-a-porter

Credit: Korie Cull

Also known as "off-the-rack", this is a quite straightforward expression used to describe ready-to-wear clothing available for immediate purchase, as opposed to custom-made garments. Literally, taken right off the clothing rack.

Prêt-à-porter clothing is produced in standard sizes and can be found in retail stores, providing a quick and accessible option for those seeking fashionable pieces without the wait or expense associated with made-to-order items.

Looking for an extra scoop of literary fun?

Learn more with our Word of the day

quibble

/ˈkwɪb(ə)l/