A day in the life of a professional namer for major brands, companies


  • With an training in linguistics and a profession in typesetting, branding, and advertising, Anthony Shore was in a position to develop into a professional namer.
  • He labored as a namer at Landor Associates for 13 years, then began his personal company known as Operative Words.
  • Shore’s naming course of lasts six weeks and contains three phases: briefing, inventive, and presentation.
  • A good identify cannot develop previous, have to be multidimensional, and may encourage individuals, he informed Business Insider.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for extra tales.

For Anthony Shore, changing into a professional namer — a one who makes a residing out of naming issues, resembling companies and merchandise — was “always in the stars.”

As a younger little one, he was obsessive about particular person phrases. His favourite guide, he informed Business Insider, was the “American Heritage Dictionary,” in which you will discover the origin of hundreds of phrases and elements of phrases. For instance, “dinosaur” comes from “deinos,” which suggests monstrous, and “sauros,” which suggests lizard.

“What interested me about this specifically was that there would be a little root, a little utterance, that means something like ‘hand’ or ‘give’ or ‘tree,'” Shore mentioned. “And this root begat hundreds of different words across dozens of different languages, ended up having all these different meanings, some of them literal, some of them metaphorical.” 

The path to professional namer

Shore went on to review linguistics at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Post-graduation, he landed a job as a typesetter, which is somebody who codecs textual content and will get it prepared for publishing. This led to a profession in branding and, ultimately, advertising. His broad expertise in inventive companies and linguistics background set him up completely to develop into a namer.

“To do it well, you have to think about the implications of what you’re putting out there,” Shore mentioned. His basis in advertising technique and public relations allowed him to see the potential influence and flexibility a identify might have as soon as it is launched into the world.

In 1996, Shore received his first official job in naming, as a naming supervisor at Landor Associates, a giant branding company. Besides a one-year stint at a firm known as Lexicon, he spent 13 years at Landor (ultimately changing into its world director of naming and writing) earlier than leaving to begin his personal company, Operative Words.

Across the naming trade, the value of a identify might vary from a few hundred dollars to greater than $50,000. This does not embrace trademark-related charges or the worth of creating a visible id (e.g., a emblem) for the identify.

Shore collaborates with a selection of purchasers, from giant established organizations to boutique branding businesses and early-stage startups. Typically, he is engaged on one to 5 shopper tasks at a time.

“I can’t imagine doing anything else,” Shore mentioned. “I love the challenge of articulating what makes a company different in one or two unique words. And I am so happy when I see a name that I midwifed.” Over the course of his profession, he is labored with huge names resembling Fitbit, Accenture, and FedEx.

The naming course of

Each venture Shore works on consists of three distinct phases: briefing, inventive, and presenting. In complete, the complete course of lasts about six weeks.

During the first week (the briefing stage), Shore learns as a lot about the firm as he can, together with what its most important aims are relating to the identify it desires.

Next, he immerses himself in a two-week inventive section, adopted by two to 3 days of presenting his proposed names to the shopper. He then repeats the inventive and presentation phases yet another time.

How he comes up with concepts

Shore’s to-do record varies relying on what the “creative call” is for. He’s not the sort of one who can stare at a clean sheet of paper and give you infinite concepts.

“I need stimulation,” he mentioned. “I need to look at things. Much of what I do in naming isn’t creating things out of nothing; it’s identifying things. I want to have an onslaught of stimuli that’s going to beget ideas.”

Movies are all the time taking part in on the tv whereas Shore works, and there are infinite tabs open on his pc, each holding a completely different useful resource he can probe for inspiration. And it actually does not harm that he can view lovely surroundings by means of the home windows of his house workplace in Oakland, California.

For some tasks, Shore leverages machine studying and synthetic neural networks to assist him generate concepts. One of his purchasers, for instance, had a sturdy curiosity in romantic poetry and literature. So Shore dug up all the work of the 18th-century poet John Keats and others and fed that content material into a corpus-linguistics engine, which spits out 10,000 key phrases and phrases for him to begin with.

This course of nonetheless requires a ton of creativity on Shore’s half. First, he has to determine what to feed to the engine. Then, as soon as he will get these key phrases and phrases, he has to coach the neural networks on them. 

Every as soon as in a whereas, Shore will search inspiration outdoors his workplace. When he was tasked with naming an outdoor-recreation firm, he purchased a fishing pole, received a fishing license, and spent a day fishing in California’s Berkeley Hills.

“I wanted to get a taste of what” their clients expertise, he mentioned, including, “What is it that they crave when they go out fishing or do any of these other kinds of outdoor activities? Some of that’s going to be intuitive — I like the outdoors as much as anyone — but some other things I just really want to experience firsthand.”

Of course, a good portion of Shore’s inspiration comes from the briefing course of with the shopper. 

For instance, Shore as soon as renamed an structure agency from Pollack Architecture to Rapt Studios. When he met with them, they listed “scribe,” “slate,” and “tablet” as phrases that had “the sound and feeling they sought.” So Shore explored “words that were short, strong, and suggested creation,” he mentioned. Using particular linguistics software program, he mentioned he regarded for “all one-syllable English words ending with a ‘stop’ (P, T, K, B, D, G).” He ended up with 1,000 identify candidates. One hundred made it to the presentation, and Rapt received.

What he does when he hits a inventive block

When Shore simply can not seem to give you any good concepts, he stops working.

“The creative process works effectively when you immerse and then you forget,” Shore mentioned. “Then you go back into it.”

This is one of the causes he allots two weeks for this section. He’s not working nonstop — he builds in time to step away. He’s diving in and out,  “consciously decoupling from the project in a useful way to sort of let things happen.”

Shore mentioned he tends to work “abnormal” hours.

“Every day is ‘Blursday,'” he mentioned. “I tend to be more productive in the morning, but lately I’ve been naming into the night.” Sometimes he’ll take calls in the evenings or on weekends to accommodate his purchasers in Asia. 

Sometimes brilliance strikes throughout these breaks. Recently, he got here up with an thought whereas showering and requested Siri to jot down down a memo for him to recollect it for later.

What makes for a good identify

First and foremost, a identify have to be obtainable, Shore mentioned. It’s ineffective if it is already trademarked. 

Other than that, listed below are two qualities which can be a should relating to a good identify, in response to Shore.

A good identify will not develop previous — it might probably final without end

This signifies that it will by no means develop into out of date as a result of of modifications in tradition or expertise. A firm known as “8-Track Now,” for instance, would’ve made a lot of sense in the mid-’60s to mid-’80s, however right now it will fall brief.

You also needs to keep away from basing the identify on a pun or joke, he mentioned. Just as a result of it makes you snicker now doesn’t suggest it will have the identical impact without end. All jokes develop previous ultimately.

A good identify is multidimensional and may encourage

The identify you select ought to have completely different meanings for completely different individuals, Shore mentioned. 

“The more a name allows someone to have their own interpretation, their own story,” the higher the identify is, he mentioned. “Because it engages a person and compels them to make a connection.” Shore suggested that in order to lure individuals in and trigger them to make their very own distinctive affiliation, the identify should not be too descriptive.

The finest names are additionally ones that may be tailored to numerous conditions. For occasion, the Rapt crew calls staff “raptors.” Monday morning conferences are named “Rapture Mondays,” and there is a neon signal in their studio that claims “RAWR.”



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