Naming Tips: Number 26 in a Series

Pay attention to the “shapes of sounds”.

In linguistics, which has a language all its own, the sound of certain letters and character groupings assume different perceptions. They make some brand candidates “better” than others because of the intrinsic reactions people have to them. They make words sound vital or passive, large or small, strong or weak.

The sound imparts an intrinsic meaning. For instance, “plosives” characters like “j”, “k”, “p”, “t” are pronounced with more force than other consonants so they lend vigor to the words in which they appear. Letters like “a”, “h”, “m”, “n” roll off the tongue and are more passive. The “ee” sound is perceived as small whereas the “o” is broader and sounds larger. When combined in words, you’d like to have a varied “tempo” consisting of both plosive and soft sounds.

Some examples: Viagra, Prozac, Acura, and Brillo. There are some syllables that will better relate to the object you’re naming. While I can’t list them all, or even start, here are some that impart a subtle meaning if incorporated into a name: mom, vel, ram, tib, lil, kra, etc. 

Sound combinations impart subliminal and global reactions just because of their construction, and though you needn’t become a linguist, you should pay attention to the linguistic “sound” of brand name candidates.

Along the same theme, names can be more memorable if they have a specific and unified “look” as well as sound. That means the characters of the name work together for a unique but unified presence. The letters just look good together. Usually they will be short words. Several come to mind: Bolo, Oreo, Jada, Google, Jello. If the name can be presented in an interesting graphic treatment that emphasizes the unity of the letters, your memory retention will be enhanced.

Martin Jelsema

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