Word Play

Word Play

How I develop brand names through word association

The first professional design job I applied for asked for 5 to 8 years industry experience. I had 6 months worth at the time, but I applied anyway and (probably because I was fresh out of University and imaginably cheap), the General Manager at said company decided to give me a “trial project”. They were working on branding for a retirement village and needed a logo and a tag line. The name was “Evergreen Estate”. I had three days to come up with a concept, which I worked on in my bedroom for the entire three days. What I submitted was horrible. I tried to “relate” to the seniors in the retirement village by going for a quirky, disco-eque design from their era. Upon return, the Manager immediately discarded my logo, but my tagline “Time to Live” he quizzed me on. I explained that I used word association between “Ever” tracking through my associations until eventually getting to “Time” and “Green” eventually getting to “Live”. So in fact Evergreen was very closely tied to “Time to Live” (which eventually became the tagline of the Estate). He walked out of the room and came back with the company founder, asking me to repeat what I had just said. My tag-line saved me from a truly disastrous logo.

Fast forward to today. It doesn’t happen very often, but sometimes a client will come to me without a name for their business. I always think back to those first green steps into the professional realm and how following a meaningful and constructive process can result in some creative solutions to branding problems. Recently I was asked to come up with a name for an Australian Hosting company, the name went over very well with the client and – like my very first job interview – they were particularly impressed to see the meaning behind the chosen name. So I thought I would share the process with you! Below is my working out, so you can see how I get from what the company is, to what the company is called.

Show your working out.

How I get from the problem to the solution in branding.

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