The Making Part 3: What’s In A Name?

June 1st, 2015 | by Amber Leigh Turner | business, january creative
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My oh my. It was quite an adventure coming up with a name for my business. A year-plus-a-few-intense-months long. Looking back in my planning book, it looks like I came up with over 50 names that I actually wrote down. I probably came up with probably that many in my head that never made it to paper.

So why did it take me so long and so many names before I landed on the name “January Creative?” And why did I decide that “January Creative” was the best name?

It’s all about the name

I already had a business definition. I already knew what services I was going to offer. Heck, I even knew pretty much what colors I wanted to use in the logo (I am a designer, after all), but I couldn’t move forward with any of that without a business name.

I came up with so many different combinations of names. I did what everyone suggested: take things you love and the things you want to do and combine them. So while there are many things that I love and I obviously do a lot of things in my freelancing, I came up with combinations of names that included flowers, colors, shapes, design terms, etc. I went from very small things (i.e. pixels) to very large things (i.e. Milky Way).

I really liked the ending “Creative” so I pretty much stuck to anything that sounded good before “Creative.” But I did try a few combinations with the ending “Design.” I just felt like the ending of “Creative” sounded so much more sophisticated, and it allowed for me to expand my business into anything creative into the future.

So with my combination of words and the ending “Creative” I came up with over 50 documented names, including:

And so many more. After careful consideration of each name, I slowly started marking through the names of those that I didn’t think fit the bill. One thing that helped tremendously with this process was checking to see if the domain name, Twitter Name, etc. was available. If those names weren’t available, then it was going to be extremely difficult to start a business around that name.

If the domain name was not available, it was immediately crossed off the list. As you can imagine that eliminated 75% of the available names. The other 25% went off of how I felt about the name, if I could market myself with that name, and other factors.

Why did I chose January Creative, out of the 50+ names? Some of the good things about the name January Creative included:

Sounds like some really great reasons, huh? Well, there were also some negative factors too, such as:

All in all, after many discussions with my boyfriend, friends, family, and other freelancers, it seemed as though the winner was January Creative. Now the only challenge was to come up with a logo for it.

Putting a logo with the name

Now that I have my fancy new name picked out, it was time to dress it up with a logo and visual identity design. It is pretty obvious to see what the outcome of this process was, but what other concepts and ideas did I come up with before landing on the one you see all over this website

In the image to the left you can see some of the better logo concepts that I came up with for January Creative, but none of them fit just right. It is safe to say that while I came up with a minimum of 50 business names, as a designer I came up with a minimum of 100 logo concepts.

Ever heard of the concept of designers can’t design for themselves? That is very much true for me, especially in designing the January Creative logo.

As you can see in the image, I started hitting around the “swirl” idea, after doing some research on what symbols are mostly associated with “fresh restarts” and “new beginnings.”

This symbol kept popping up and I loved how simple it was. After playing with a few layouts and tweaking it ever so slightly, I came up with the combination you see in the logo today. Not only was the layout very pleasing to the eye, it also secretly formed the initials J and C. Very clever huh?

So for the typeface(s) I wanted to use for January Creative, I wanted them to be very strong, elegant, and professional. I first started out with Optima, which is the typeface I had been wanting to use for the new business for many months, way before the name January Creative was even conceived. Try after try, I just could not get it to work the way I wanted to.

After hours of searching and testing different font combinations (well, maybe days), I finally felt that the combination of Philosopher for the main typeface and News Cycle for the secondary typeface would be the best combination.

What happens next?

As you can probably guess, once the logo was finalized for January Creative and everything was finalized, it was time to start developing the visual identity, or the way January Creative would look, including colors, how colors would be used, etc. I even summed it all up into a visual identity style guide, all of which I will talk about in the next part of this series.

Author’s note: This post originally appeared on version one of January Creative’s site on May 16, 2012. For the launch of version two of January Creative’s site, some of the original posts were republished here, edited and republished here, or got booted permanently. Starting July 1, 2015, all articles published will be brand new articles.

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