Guided Brief: Build a Brand Identity
Develop Some Brand Name Options
Time limit: 1 hour
Remember to use your visual timer! We recommend the inventor’s iOS and Android apps — just search for “Time Timer” in the app store.
In this assignment, you’ll use mind-mapping and word association to generate brand name ideas.
Generate some brand name options
Set your timer: 50 minutes
You can approach this assignment in any way you like, but we recommend starting with mind-mapping based on the design brief, and then completing some word association based on those keywords.
For example, if we were working on a different brief and trying to come up with names for a new breakfast cereal for grown-ups, a quick mind-map might look like this:
We could then take some of those words and create some chains of word association. This technique is great for opening up new ideas, helping us move away from the obvious, and head towards something more abstract:
Many of the words we came up with in this example weren’t that interesting, but you only need to find one or two promising ones to repeat the word association exercise and discover more. For example, we could use the words “refuel”, “burst”, and “tip-top” to generate further ideas.
These methods might lead straight to some possible brand names, but if they don’t, you can review all the words and phrases you’ve come up with, and see what happens when you combine them or play around with them. For example, the word “optimal” could lead to the brand name “Optima”, or we could combine “vitamins” and “maximum” to get “Vitamax”.
Remember, you’re looking to come up with three possible brand names to choose from for the brief you’re working on. Ideally, come up with lots more than that, and then pick the best ones.
Review the example solution
Once you’ve completed your work on this assignment, take a few minutes to review the example solution below.
Pictured below is the word association we did in response to keywords from the brief. Our brand name ideas are Petal, BlossomBox, and BloomBox.
Notice that our notes aren’t neat, or even very legible. This stage, like all sketching stages, is just a time for you to develop your ideas on paper.
Particularly when time is limited, it’s important to take a critical eye to our own work.
Reviewing our notes above, it’s clear that the name ideas we’ve come up with aren’t very “deep” — they are still directly derived from the idea of sending (“box”) flowering plants (“petal”, “blossom”) to people’s homes.
Sometimes quite literal name ideas will work fine, but often they can feel generic, and they’re likely to be similar to the names of competitors.
So if we were to spend longer on this assignment, we’d try to get further away from the initial keywords, and towards something more abstract and thought-provoking. This might mean doing ten times as much word association, and trying some other idea generation techniques too.
Take a couple of minutes to look critically at your own notes and brand name choices. Which of your ideas is the most literal, and which is the most abstract? If the client asked you to move towards something more distinctive, how would you approach it?
Time to get back to sketching! In the next assignment, start designing a logo for the brand.
Assignment version 1.0
Last updated 7 June 2021