Transmission 4 : What's in a name? (Shakespeare)

What makes a brand name a good name? Coast opens the discussion and share their thoughts on brand naming creation.

In a lot of ways, naming a brand is a lot like naming a kid: it needs a sense of uniqueness, be lovable and memorable, and preferably not something you’ll regret saying in public.

The mystery of name creation lies in balancing the art and science of language.

Crafting a powerful and meaningful name involves diving deep into the brand's soul, understanding its essence and sprinkling a dash of creativity. It's a bit like cooking – you need the right ingredients, a touch of spice, and a whole lot of love. So, whether it's a catchy twist or a bold statement, a great name is a brand's first hello to the world. Behind every great brand is a name that’s more than just catchy – it’s crystal clear. Think of it this way: if your product is a mystery, your name will be a puzzle wrapped in an enigma. If you don't know where you're going, you'll end up not the right place… therefore a good strategy is the starting point of a great name.

We've crafted verbal systems for telecom giants (a full naming system for Proximus and Belgacom when 3G apeared, back in the days), and more recently named beer brands, retail stores and cultural festivals. We've spent countless hours juggling synonyms, acronyms, and every language trick to create memorable narratives. Here are some behind the scene stories.


The secret methods behind naming creation are as diverse as the originality of each project. Creating a brand name is part science, part art, and 100% inspiration. It’s a journey of discovery, where every word counts and every name tells a story. First step is to understand the brand’s essence – its heartbeat, its personality, its promise. Next is knowing the audience.

Our work on Industrya – John Cockerill’s Industrial Incubator – is a good example of abridging art and science with inspiration: we crafted a full brand universe with a 4.0 industrial mindset that could only be valid with a strong sounding name, closely linked to the target sector (the industry). The John Cockerill Group being a solid international player, active in a wide range of sectors, the launch of their Incubator and Investment fund, was a true opportunity to embrace the future of industry.

Discernment and pointing target audience were our inspirational incubators for finding the right name.

During the early stages of the process, we figured out immediate understanding and activity-related sounding words were the solution. So we started with a full review on strategy to, from there on, synthesise and conduct futureproof brand results.

Within this particular naming strategy, we had to take a variety of unpredictible factors into account, such as the diversity of possible start-ups that would participate, the diversity of possible solutions these start-ups would come up with or the role of the incubator in the John Cockerill ecosystem.

The winning name had to sound future-forward and at the same time, incorporate the existing referential (merging opposites) to give a strong signal to competitive industrial players right away.

Three rounds of propositions (including legal check) were organised, centered on what the future of industry would sound like… With a long list of acronyms and word-mixes, we took the referential name approach and added a dash of innovation. Industrya was created. A crystal clear and strong name where the letter "Y" is used as the core visual indicator in the branding system – seamlessly adaptable to communication on- and offline, and synomimous of innovative spirit.


In naming, provoking action, stirring the mind and moving the soul is one of the golden principles. A name that encapsulates action not only tells a story but also sparks movement. Take “Nike”, derived from the Greek goddess of victory – it compels you to “Just Do It.” Or “Spotify,” a portmanteau of “spot” and “identify,” inviting you to discover and connect with music.

Creating a name that embodies action is akin to striking linguistic gold. It’s about capturing the dynamism of the brand in a single word. Think of “LinkedIn,” which doesn’t just name a platform but evokes the act of connecting and networking. Or “Snapchat,” which clearly signals quick, fleeting interactions. The genius of an action-based name lies in its inherent call to engagement. It turns passive recognition into active participation.

This is creativity at its most potent – turning words into catalysts for interaction. Just like Shakespeare’s “To be or not to be,” these names are a daring and challenge a promise of what’s possible. In the realm of naming, words are not just labels but launchpads. They set the stage for the brand’s narrative and invite users to step into the story.

That’s what our work for the naming of Come Closer, an international contemporary arts festival located in Antwerp, was based on: words generating an action or response.

The brand new summer festival organised by Middelheimmuseum and deSingel mixes open-air sculptures and performing arts, with artworks on display specifically created on-site.

During the early stages of the creative process, the curators shared their vision about the festival: addressing a large audience and not only the art connoisseurs elite. Naming had to encapsulate the open-for-all, welcoming vibe that initiated the event.

‘Come Closer’ emerged as the perfect translation : gentle, simple, intimate yet direct; generating action through emotion. That’s the name that would shape the intention: an open invitation, a conversation between the arts bringing people together, like a warm evening with a close friend.


The best names can sparkle from most unexpected places. It’s all in the eye of the beholder, or in this case, the listener…

Because names are closely linked to universal emotions shaping common imagery. Think of Titan. What thappens when you hear it? Do you see reliable and strong? Or think about the playfullness and quirkyness of Pixar.

Inspiration can blossom by catching the right signals at the right moment. And that’s how we came up with NABS…

Here’s the story. Recently, we were commisionned by a (really cool) bunch of architects in need of a brand presence (main focus on digital expression) and… a name. Being part of a larger group (BEFIMMO) – our cool bunch needed a way to stand out from the mother practice: something fresh and new, reflecting their work, far from the corporate imagery.

Pretty cool assignment… So we started the journey by creating the brand structure and isolating the brand values.

It was pretty obvious from scratch that the practice was not your typical architecture studio; their impressive portfolio being a display of innovative and playful prowess, with – cherry on the cake – a well balanced and witty sense of humour. Their name sounding like yet another creative practice obviously was a no-go.

Let’s take one step back now and talk about where it got sparkling: their offices. The thing is, they were located avenue Louise, occupying the store space of a former bike shop. This caused frequent disturbance, due to passers-by wanting to buy a bike often entering the building before getting noticed upon by collaborators that this place was now an architecture practice. This eventually led our bunch to print and put on diplay “This is not a bike shop” written in large all caps Helvetica on the office window. You got it? NABS aka Not A Bike Shop… We measured the true potential of this story, it was an opportunity for them to start a good conversation. We all know that a curious sounding name is an excellent icebreaker and a perfect way for them to introduce the architecture practice, their way.

Brand name creation is not always about creation. Sometimes it can be about making a creative choice (spotting and seizing the opportunities). All it takes then is good ears, empathy and an open mind.

Coast as a long list of naming creation. We are currently working on naming for a Biotech skincare brand and a new online hospitality service.

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