10 Tools For Generating Kick-Ass Brand Names

Coming up with a name for your company, product, or brand is possibly one of the most challenging aspects of starting a business. It may seem like an inane detail to some, but the “NAME” is the single most important characteristic any company, product or brand can have.

Here are 10 ways that we have used to brainstorm brand names. Some of them are more conventional than others, but they all provide valuable information and insight into the process of naming your company, brand, or product.


Do what JK Rowling seems to do every time she comes up with a new spell. That is, plug the core word, phrase, or concept into Google Translate and look for meaning in other languages. For Rowling the spells usually adopt a latin root.

You can use Google Translate to explore your brand, or words associated with it in languages like  Latin, Spanish, Italian, Greek, and Turkish.

The point of doing this is that sometimes a foreign word or phrase can be more alluring than one in your native tongue. Using Google Translate can help you come up with the perfect name for your brand using a technique called foreign branding.

For example, you would assume that Haagan Dazs  was started by some Scandanavian company making kick-ass ice cream. NOT AT ALL. In fact, it was started by a Jewish couple in the Bronx.

The Spell Avada Kadavra is derived from both Turkish and Estonian.


Visual Thesaurus is a fantastic tool for visualizing words, their meaning, and how they relate to their synonyms and antonyms. Use the web of words it creates to explore all of the possible mental synapses that could fire off upon the sight of your campany’s brand name.


There is a long list of companies who have used these word combining and altering  techniques to create their brand name. Some of these include:

  • eBay (Echo Bay)
  • Intel (Integrated Electronics)
  • IBM (International Business machines
  • FedEx (Federal Express)
  • Groupon (Group Coupon)

You can use a cool website called DOT-O-MATOR to do a number of these things.


If you can’t come up with anything by using the above word altering techniques, or you are just lazy, ask a toddler. They have an extreme penchant for onomatopoeia spoonerismsportmanteauneologisms and and other phonetic bastardizations. Additionally, they also have the remarkable ability to pinpoint the exact functionality of a product of service.  All of these things, believe it or not, make for phenomenal brand name generation.

Brand names that I imagine were thought up by toddler include Fcuk, Snuggie, Flip Flops, and Hipmunk.


Break out the scrabble set gathering dust in your game cabinet and dump the tiles out on a table. Shuffle those suckers around and see if you can’t come up with a completely new word.

Sometimes it is hard to defy the language that’s been hardwired into your brain, but you will eventually come up with some very interesting words. I promise.


Something I do occasionally when I am trying to come up with an answer to an especially hard questions is I pose it as a questions on Ask Reddit. Despite what some may say about the Reddit community, I find them to be highly creative and intellectual. Take this Reddit thread for example. While it is wildly inappropriate, it still shows you how creative the Reddit community can get.

Provided the Redditers don’t shun your submission, chances are that you will get a good number of answers.


There are plenty of brands (mostly food and drink products) that have done this. Take for example, Fiji water, Poland Springs, Sierra Mist, Arizona Iced Tea, and many others.

One of my favorite examples is Envato’s online marketplaces. Since the launch of their flagship marketplace Active Den (previously Flash Den), they have extended the line to include:

  • Audio Jungle
  • Graphic River
  • Theme Forest
  • Video Hive
  • 3d Ocean
  • Code Canyon
  • Photo Dune

Envato chose to use distinct geological structures, but this doesn’t mean you can use the name of a region, state, or other area.


History, literature, mythology, and focklore have been the source of more brand names than you can even fathom.

  • Nike – Greek Goddess
  • Yahoo – Term from Jonathan Swift’s novel Gulliver’s Travels
  • Google – Mispelled mathmatical term Googol

Pick up a book and start to read. I challenge you not to find something that could be used as a good name for your company, brand, or product.


Use Urban dictionary for all the latest neologisms and slang. You can log in and just surf for a while. You will likely come up with a number of great ideas.

It’s also a good idea to look up potential brand names when you think of them. You never know when your brand name might mean something terribly inappropriate.


If your toddler, the Reddit community, Google Translate, Visual thesaurus, and the entirety of human history can’t provide you with a great brand name you can always do what Martha Stewart, Donald Trump, and others have done to great success. That is, be a vain ass-bag and name it after yourself.


Now that you have come up with the best, most awesome-est brand name ever you get to go through the process of checking if it is already in use, if there is a domain available, and if you can even use it. If not, you’re back to square one. Sorry man.

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