Name That Brand: An Etymology Exercise with Brand Names

We’ve conducted an illustrated experiment with a couple of famous brands exploring their name's Etymology, generating some interesting thoughts

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London, UK:  Hundreds of new business are born everyday. The startup boom of the 2000’s and the growth of online companies initiated a real race for internet domain registration, as everybody tries to grab their own slice of the internet cake. It doesn’t matter if you’re a street bakery or a new social network, the beginning of every project starts with the same question: what should we call our brand? But in reality the question before that one is: what is in a name?

Etymology is the “study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time” (Wikipedia). When we talk about names of brands, it is what they mean to their customers; therefore what makes it basically impossible to change. Though it can always accept little changes and merges, it’s something companies carry on forever. They are what they are known for: their name and what it represents. Some say that the right name is crucial for any endeavour, while others affirm that the most important part will always be the business itself and the people within it. Both ideas are valid, though I can barely think of a good company with a bad name. It is also the case that good names are taken by projects that don’t go anywhere for one reason or another, which makes me wonder: was it just a great name and idea wasted? But that’s a story for another day.

When I think about a specific brand, like Apple or Starbucks, the image that automatically springs to mind is either their logo or product (so, an iSomething and a warm cup of coffee). Along with this image, it also brings me sensations from all their branding actions that I’ve had experienced before, like TV ads or the packaging from when you buy on their shops, but this can also depend on your experiences with other visual aspects of the brand. Part of the associations we make with them are very personal, from our past experiences, but what all of us share is how they populate the Collective Unconscious. This is a term of analytical psychology coined by Carl Jung; I won’t go to far here on archetypes and how it relates to the inner self in a heavy Psychological way. Let’s just say that marketing is king on using those things for their purposes, otherwise they’re not doing it “right”.

Like most people on planet Earth, I like all Apple products. They have become objects that define our modern era and are wanted by everyone. It doesn’t matter why you want an iPad Pro or iPhone 7, the fact is most of us would’t mind buying one, if only we could afford it. Turning products into economic forbidden fruits (pun slightly intended) is a sure fire way to add value to your brand and there are examples of this in every industry.

“The reason why literal meanings sometimes have much more behind it is, as humans we are both creative and creative beings by nature”.

This association between the apple in the garden of Eden and the Apple brand logo came randomly to me, and I’m sure to lots of other people as well (Jung was right, perhaps?). So I started researching a bit about the origin of the name and found out several theories. They are many rumours about the origin, from it being an easy name to appear at the beginning of any alphabetical list to the fact that Jobs and Wozniak were very into The Beatles (who had signed with record label Apple Records) at the time. Other say that it was merely a reflection of their diet back then, who knows? And anyway, why not to call it Pear instead? Call me crazy but I’m pretty much sure the original, Biblical meaning of the fruit was considered back then. Jobs was a smart guy, we all know that. Besides, they could have used a whole apple silhouette as their iconic logo, but instead they chose a bitten one. Thing is you can find meanings and speculate a lot about anything if you want to, it just takes a little imagination.

The reason why literal meanings sometimes have much more behind it is, as humans we are both creative and creative beings by nature. I started doing the same exercise I did with Apple with a couple other companies and brands that had a, let’s say, less literal name basically because they seemed more intriguing to me. It’s amazing what you can think something means and then how disappointed you can be when you discover the “truth”.

I mentioned my ideas to a very talented illustrator I know from previous collaborations, Brazilian artist R. Sotero, and he accepted the challenge of creating a small series of these abstract company names I had found through my research and thought would produce really interesting results. We didn’t want to make it all easy for you guys, so we’ve added the ‘real’ reasons (or what could be found) why the brands are called what they are – the information was sourced from the web.

Start your guesses, comments are welcome but don’t read them right away, we don’t want to SPOIL it for you.

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Name that brand, Name that Brand: An Etymology Exercise, brand names origin, starbucks name, dunkin' donuts name, old spice name, brand names origin, land rover name, virgin atlantic name, brand illustrations, illustrations with brand names, R. Sotero, Rodrigo Sotero, Printsome.com, t shirt printing UK, t shirt printing london, screen printing uk, printed t shirts, embroidered polo shirts, bulk t shirt printing uk, online t shirt printing companies uk, brand naming exercise, Paula Rúpolo
Name that brand, Name that Brand: An Etymology Exercise, brand names origin, starbucks name, dunkin' donuts name, old spice name, brand names origin, land rover name, virgin atlantic name, brand illustrations, illustrations with brand names, R. Sotero, Rodrigo Sotero, Printsome.com, t shirt printing UK, t shirt printing london, screen printing uk, printed t shirts, embroidered polo shirts, bulk t shirt printing uk, online t shirt printing companies uk, brand naming exercise, Paula Rúpolo
Name that brand, Name that Brand: An Etymology Exercise, brand names origin, starbucks name, dunkin' donuts name, old spice name, brand names origin, land rover name, virgin atlantic name, brand illustrations, illustrations with brand names, R. Sotero, Rodrigo Sotero, Printsome.com, t shirt printing UK, t shirt printing london, screen printing uk, printed t shirts, embroidered polo shirts, bulk t shirt printing uk, online t shirt printing companies uk, brand naming exercise, Paula Rúpolo
Name that brand, Name that Brand: An Etymology Exercise, brand names origin, starbucks name, dunkin' donuts name, old spice name, brand names origin, land rover name, virgin atlantic name, brand illustrations, illustrations with brand names, R. Sotero, Rodrigo Sotero, Printsome.com, t shirt printing UK, t shirt printing london, screen printing uk, printed t shirts, embroidered polo shirts, bulk t shirt printing uk, online t shirt printing companies uk, brand naming exercise, Paula Rúpolo


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