What’s in a name?

25madison
9 min readSep 8, 2022

A Practical Guide to Naming your Startup

By: Margaret Strickland

Naming a company can be intimidating. It’s like naming a child, except you also need trademark clearance, a solid URL, and social handles — that ideally match across platforms…‍

When we started the creative studio at 25madison, one of the first things we had to figure out was how to name the new companies we were creating. From an initial google search of “how to name a company quickly,” to today, 50+ company and project names later, we’ve learned a LOT about naming. What follows is our practical guide for creating great company names.

‍But first, some background on types of names, traits of a great company name, naming trends, and test names vs. go to market names.

Types of names‍

There are a few different types of names to consider when developing a company name. The below chart lays out a spectrum of name types from invented (wholly made up names), to evocative (a compelling word that is loosely associated), to descriptive (straightforward association to company or industry). Based on your offering, industry, and brand personality, you can determine where along this spectrum feels comfortable for your company.

Traits of a great company name

Below are 9 traits that your company name should ideally have. Keep these in mind when generating name options. Once you have whittled your naming options down to the ~20 or so you’ll take seriously, come back to this list to gut-check the quality of your names (more on name vetting, below).

  1. Aligns to Brand Strategy
  2. Short & Easy to Pronounce
  3. Meets Needs Online
  4. Passes the Search Test
  5. Tells a Story
  6. Stands Out (but not too far)
  7. Expandable Into Brand Language
  8. Avoids Clichés or Overused Words
  9. Culturally Friendly

Naming Trends

‍Yes, like most things, company naming goes through trends. I’m sure we all get nostalgic when we hear names from the early…

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25madison

25madison is an NYC-based venture studio, incubating companies from the ground up and investing in early-stage companies. Learn more at 25madison.com.