How To Pick a Name For Your Company

Question:

I am working on my first Indie title, and I am obviously in need of a company from which this could be released to the portals. My current problem is finding a good name for it. What should think of when coming up with a name for your organisation.

Answer:
This question might seem trivial, but it can be quite tricky to find a good company name. Here are something that you might want find useful when figuring out possible candidates:
- Backward naming: Instead of “game” use “emag”. Instead of “dev” use “ved”. “Gamedev” would turn into “Vedemag”. Or “gamer” would be “remag”.
- Use dictionary: dictionary is a nice place to find names. Remember to check out dictionaries of different languages. You might find interesting names from there.
- Brainstorm: Put every idea on paper. Don’t ignore a single one word. Put all of them in paper… and play with them. Select parts of different words… and combine and use them together.
- Naming forums: There are forums where you can ask for help when it comes to naming your company. See if they can help you.
- Other people: Ask other people – your friends or family – to help with you. You’ll get plenty of ideas.

After you have found a proper candidate:
- Test the name: Ask what other people think about your name candidate. Ask 5 to 10 people what whether they like your name or not. Remember: There’s always somebody saying bad about your company name – no matter how you name it. There’s just people who think your company name is too short/long, too boring, too wierd, too similar, too this, too that. Accept the fact that other people’s recommendations are only their recommendations – and it’s up to you to name your company. Listen to them, but feel free to ignore them if their feedback doesn’t seem useful.
- Use Google: Remember to check that there aren’t companies with the same name. Go to google and search with your company name. When I checked name for my company I saw that ‘arctic productions’ was taken, also ‘arctic games’. I finally managed to find no companies with ‘polycount games’ (or ‘polycount productions’)
- Legal issues: In Finland they always check if the name is legal and not trademarked when you try to register it. You should consult a lawyer or registration office to make sure your company name is not already trademarked.
- Domain name: Make sure you have a website address available. Go to register.com and type your company name – and check that it’s available. I think either .com or .net should be available. Well – they are the best. If you have other ending (like .co.uk) you can use it – but I personally think .com would be the best choice.

Other recommendations:
- Shorter the better: My company name (Polycount Productions) is not a short name so it can be bit difficult to remember. If possible – get a short & catchy name. Something that’s easy to remember.
- Pronounce: Make sure you know how to pronounce your new company name.
- Say it out loud: Try saying your company name out loud and see how it sounds in your ears. Is it pleasant to the ear?
- Brands: You might want to stay away from those big brands – don’t get anything too similar with big companies. Invent your own stuff.

Finally:
- Make sure you are happy with the name: After all, it’s your company. Make sure you are happy with the name – and go for it.

Hopefully you find these hints useful. There’s lots of material in google about naming a company. If these tips weren’t enough, go check out google for some more.

11 thoughts on “How To Pick a Name For Your Company

  1. shang

    I currently have the registration process ongoing for Opioid Productions, but I’m a bit worried that the trade office might think of it as a drug reference and reject it.

    We ended up with Opioid when going through tons of words in latin, base elements, chemicals etc. Opioid was chosen because it looked and sounded nice as a word, and the link to games and entertainment was via endorphine, which is a natural opioid (a bit far fetched, yeah, I know :)

    Reply
  2. Ken Bowen

    Marketing gurus usually say the best title/name etc… is a name with around 7 letters and an unusual consonant like Z or X. The Legal issues mentioned are important. Is the name trademarked or indistinguishable?

    When picking a name, I feel that if the name means something to the founders it can make for a more thoughtful company name. The name is the first thing that represents the company and can also set the tone for the company. “SlapHappy Monkey Studios” might sound a little more rambunctious and less professional.

    I prefer a more professional sounding name, if I can tell a complete stranger “I own _______ Studios” then it’s a good name for me. Although some don’t agree which is fine too, it can be a matter of personal preference.

    Reply
  3. Ville

    When naming games I’ve lately used a random generator, along with google to check whether the name is used anywhere. It sure produces weird game names though.

    Reply
  4. uli

    Always check with some foreigners and people whether your company name means anything, whether it sounds like anything bad or insulting in their language. For instance, “schick” means “fashionable” in German and “crap” in Lithuanian. Similarly, the word “Pajero” (a 4WD car) is actually an insult in … I think it was Portuguese or Spanish.

    Reply
  5. smat

    great article! :) to tell you the truth, I’m not very interested in reading blogs et al(even dislike that), but I have to say your blog is the first one which I check every day and read the articles, they just interest me :) keep up the cool work :)

    Reply

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