The Art of Naming Your StartUp, Brand or App

The Art of Naming Your StartUp, Brand or App

Coming up with a name for your brand new startup or app, can be a time consuming and highly irritating task. I have done it a few times in the past, and here are some strategies that could help you out. Let me clear something out right away, there is no easy and quick way of doing this, it will require some time and tinkering.

Made Up Name

In theory its an easy process you just need to come up with an articulate combination of letters, in order to make things a little bit easier, you have two options on how to proceed. You could either come up with a truly original name such as Zynga, or alternatively you can try rhymes and repetitions like Bebo or Lala.

  • Pros: The domain name will be available.
  • Cons: Having to spell your name, and explain what you do almost always.

Compound Words

Join two words in order to make one, you can try various combinations such as two nouns, or a noun and verb. If you go to this rout, make sure the words you combine have a rhythmic flow, and don’t feel disjointed. Compound words is a popular strategy for startups, here is an example of some well known startups that went with compound words: FitBit, FaceBook, FourSquare…

  • Pros: Can be done quickly.
  • Cons: Can be confusing.


Similar to compound words you will once again join two words, but here you will join them through shared letters or sounds. Coming up with portmanteau will take more compare to compound words. But in the end, it has a much better flow compare to compound words. Some industry examples of portmanteau are: Pinterest, Codecademy. If you need help with creating a portmanteau give Werdmerge a try.

  • Pros: Truly unique name.
  • Cons: Time consuming to create one.


Giving one word an alternate spelling, or miss spelling it on purpose is another strategy. Keep in mind that after the forced spelling mistake, the word needs to be pronounced just like before. Im not big fan of this strategy since it might give you trouble regarding discoverability, also its been done to death. Never the less here are some well known examples: Tumblr, Reddit, Etsy.

  • Pros: Quick and easy to do.
  • Cons: You might have some issues regarding discoverability.

Prefix & Suffix

Very common strategy in naming an app or startup is adding a prefix or suffix to a word. Few well known startups that went this rout are: Spotify,Shopify, Bitly. If you need help with this one, DailyBlogTips has published a list with over 200 prefixes and suffixes that you can add to your word.

  • Pros: Easy to remember.
  • Cons: If the same prefix or suffix been used by well known company, you might look like a copy cat.

Add Numbers

This is not for everyone, but if you can add meaningful numbers to your word, no one will make a mistake about your name. A good example that pops in my mind is 37signals.

  • Pros: Easy to remember.
  • Cons: Not for everyone.

Random Word

If you lack any kind of creativity, you can add a random word that is unrelated to you in any way or form and call it a day. Im wondering if Appledid just that when they named their company.

  • Pros: Easy to remember.
  • Cons: Most likely unavailable.

Test Your New Startup Name

Once you think you have the ideal name, the first thing you will need to do is check the availability. If it is available, ask yourself the following questions:


  • Is it memorable? You want a name that is easy to remember, say, and spell. 
  • Is it short? If you have options, chose the shortest variation. 
  • Is it verb-able? Having customers using your name as a verb, can be a great form of marketing.
  • Does it have negative connotations? Be careful about this one, its very easy for you not to see the negative connotation since you are in love with the name. But just in case google it one more time, and ask the urban dictionary what does it have to say about your new name.

I guess this is it, armed with this knowledge I hope you will have easier time coming up with a name for your new startup. Now hit the comments section and tell us how you came up with your startup name.

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