Coined Names – Pretty & Pretty Bad

Posted by Alexandra Watkins on February 9, 2014

I have great respect anyone who can invent a pretty name that sounds a like real word and suggests something about the brand. Some of my favorite coined names are Recology, Silk, Dreamery, Groupon, Scanadu, Pictionary, Cinnabon, Chillow, Pinterest and San Franpsycho. These names, also known as “portmanteaus, work well because they cleverly marry two words together, are intuitive to spell and easy to pronounce. Easier said than done. Other coined names that work well are those that suggest a positive brand experience. Jamba Juice, Twizzlers, and Zappos all live up to their fun, high-energy names.

If you invent a new “word” for your name, be careful that it doesn’t sound forced. Mashing two words together or mixing up a bunch of letters to form a new word rarely sounds smooth and natural. One of the most cringe-worthy ones I’ve seen is a women’s networking organization named Femfessionals. Really? Would you want that on a professional resume? Simply adding or dropping a vowel or two at the end of a real word or word root is the laziest way to coin a name and almost always sounds forced. (e.g., Innova, Natura, Portfolia, and Evolva). And some natural and organic products that use this technique can sound like they are full of chemicals (e.g., Activia and Enviga). Exceptions would be Nautica and Expedia. Those are pretty names, which sound like real words and are no-brainers to spell.



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