The other day, I received an inquiry from another designer asking how I decided to go with a studio name, rather than my personal name. If you are either thinking of starting a business, or pondering rebranding, this post is for you!
Here is the inquiry I received:
"Hi!I've just transitioned to doing freelance fulltime. I love all the resources you have to offer. I was wondering, how did you decide to give yourself a studio name rather than just go by your name? I am going back and forth between the two. Since it's just me I could just use my name. The services I plan to offer are: branding, editorial illustration, custom illustration and maybe some other items but that's mostly it. Any suggestions? Thanks!"
As an entrepreneur, I have been there! Deciding on a name can be such a daunting task. You feel like this is the first impression your audience/clients have of your business, and you want it to be reflected accurately. Here are a few tips on deciding between the two.
When to use your name
- You have a name that is unique enough to be memorable, yet easy to spell + pronounce
- You are your business, no one else is involved or potentially will ever be involved
- You don’t plan to expand
- You’ve already built a reputation/audience under your name
- You are an artist, or in a profession where using your name is common
When you should use a different name
- Your name is hard to pronounce! - My last name is Starcevich, so I knew I needed to avoid including it in my business name
- You have plans to expand your business in the future, beyond yourself
- You collaborate with others
- You have products for sale
- You are open to either selling your business, partnering with someone else, or allowing another person to take over while you are on leave (vacation, maternity leave, etc.)
Tips for how to decide on a name
I am such a list maker, so I kept a note in Evernote with words that I felt fit my brand. Everything from adjectives, concepts, and various names for “design studio.” Eventually you can mix and match to develop what feels like the right fit.
Utilize a thesaurus
I am not a creative writer, by any means! I hit up the thesaurus for a few ideas. Find a concept you like, and search the thesaurus for variations of that concept. It might trigger other ideas as well!
Check for domains
It is so hard these days to find a business name that is truly unique. Search online to see if your domain is available. I originally was thinking about “Spruce Design Studio”, however when I checked online there were SO many studios with that name. Adding the “Road” in there, helped customize my name enough for SEO and domain. The domain search will also help you be more creative with your business name.
Why I went with a studio name
I really struggled finding a name that just fit with my brand. I resisted using my personal name, Jamie Starcevich, for my business because well… my last name is a bit of a mouthful! I have no doubt that people would misspell and pronounce it wrong often. More than that, I wanted a business name that could grow with me. I have BIG goals for Spruce Rd, that are beyond just me! It might be only me for a while, however I didn’t want to limit my business to just me once I am ready to expand.
I wanted a name that reflected my vision: fun, personable (not corporate), friendly and feminine. These are the types of clients I want to attract as well. I love branding that has a concept behind it, and a story to tell. Call it the analytical side of my brain, but I just find so much more depth with branding is connected to stories! Briefly, here is the reasoning behind Spruce Road:
Neat, smart, stylish, dapper. To freshen up appearances.
The journey from the old to the new.
The idea behind the name Spruce Rd. is that when collaborating with businesses, we journey together to develop a solution that freshens up, or establishes, your visual identity.
Deciding between your personal name, and a studio name, really just depends on your business goals, and if you see yourself expanding in the future. If not, that is totally okay, and it might be more fitting to use your name! What do you guys think? Did you go through a similar process for your business or blog?